Using the Dishwasher Vs. Hand Washing

Using the Dishwasher Vs. Hand Washing

Today is the day. Yep, no one is going to stop me. I watched my parents do it most of my upbringing and now I am bringing it back! I mean, do those dirty things truly need my hands to do the work?

Plenty of older Chicago homes and apartments come without dishwashers; even among houses with top-of-the-line appliances, plenty of homeowners still insist on washing their pots, pans, and plates by hand. Many find it soothing, a lot of homeowners have a nostalgic attitude like the one above, and plenty more people have told us that they believe that hand washing actually helps conserve water in the home.

But is this true? Is hand washing the greener, cheaper choice, or is it actually worth it to invest and routinely run a modern dishwasher? Let's unpack some of the differences between using a dishwasher and hand wishing in your sink:

Hand Washing Does Not Conserve Water or Power

In our experience? Hand washing does not conserve more water than occasionally running a dish washer. One particularly famous German study tells us that hand washing dishes may use more than twenty gallons of water. Newer dishwashers, on the other hand, typically use around four to five gallons of H20 per cycle. That's a huge difference, right?

It doesn't stop there: Per that same study, it can take up to 2.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy to wash 12 place settings, compared with just 1.5 kWh used by a dishwasher to clean the same number of dishes. Per the EPA, switching to a machine can save homeowners up to $40 a year - as well as 5,000 gallons of water annually - compared to hand washing. You'd get to cut out plenty of hours of scrubbing and scouring, to boot.

So what does this tell us? A homeowner can save time, money, and physical energy - and make their home greener - just by loading the dishwasher!

The Pros of Hand Washing

With all of this being said, there are still practical advantages to hand washing your dishes, particularly if you don't generate enough waste to justify running a machine. What do we mean?

Well, virtually all dishwashers utilize essentially the same amount of water with every cycle, whether they're cleaning a handful of dishes or a whole dinner party's worth. With hand washing, you can control the amount of water you use, turning the faucet on and off as you see fit.

When hand washing, you can also narrow in your focus on deep-set stains or odd-shaped glasses that may not be adequately cleaned by a single spin through the dishwasher. What's more, putting in elbow grease, rather than chemicals, may save you money on detergents and disinfectants. It's also important to remember that not all dishwashers are created equally - for every hyper-efficient, there is an old clunker that wastes more than hand washing. 

The Choice Is Yours!

When you think of how many hours Mom or Dad spent “doing the dishes,” know that they were not trying to conserve water - they just didn’t have a choice! Today we do, and we encourage you to compare the two methods for yourself. 

Have any other pressing plumbing questions? Looking for help or service today? Drop J. Blanton Plumbing a line! Our team is always here and ready to help.