Dishwasher VS. Hand Washing: Which Uses More Water?


Dishwashers are a phenomenal invention.  Load ‘em up and then sit back and relax while a machine takes care of all that yucky leftover food and grime and returns you racks of sparkling clean plates, glasses, and cutlery.  Yes, please!


But you’re not alone if you sometimes feel a twinge of guilt when you use the dishwasher.  Perhaps you think that you’re wasting water and energy by not being a little more proactive and doing the washing up by hand.  


But is this true?


The answer is: Usually not.  In general, dishwashers are actually more efficient and save more money than hand washing.  How can this be?  Let’s take a look at some hard data:  


The Hard Data


Without getting too technical, suffice it to say that multiple scientific studies have shown dishwashers to be more efficient than hand washing.  


Consider this.  A newer dishwasher can use as little as 11 litres of water per cycle, though often closer to 23 litres.  Still sounds like quite a bit?  Not really, when you consider that washing by hand can use up to 123 litres.  That’s 100 litres extra per a full load of dishes!


The energy it takes to heat water up in your household hot water tank far exceeds the energy used by your dishwasher’s built-in water heater.  And also worth noting is the fact that the water in your dishwasher is much hotter (and thus much better at sanitizing your dishes) than the hottest water your hands could handle from the tap.


So Is Your Dishwasher Always the Best Choice?


Well, not necessarily.  We used the word “usually” earlier because dishwashing efficiency is a slippery business (pun intended) that depends on a variety of factors.  


Here are some considerations that can impact the above data.  And, yes, in rare cases, you might find that hand washing does come out on top.  


  • How old is your dishwasher? 

    Very old dishwashers are not that efficient.  And not all new ones are created equally, either.  For the most efficient outcomes, look for an Energy Star dishwasher that was manufactured after 2013.  

  • How many dishes do you produce? 

    If you’re running half-empty dishwasher loads, this obviously impacts efficiency.  For just a few dishes, a quick wash in the sink is a great choice.  Alternatively, you can use the “Rinse & Hold” feature if your dishwasher has one.  

  • What exactly are you washing? 

    Efficiency is a worthy goal, but not at the expense of your kitchenware.  If you’re washing wooden cutting boards, chef knives, or other items that are not recommended for the dishwasher, returning to the basics is always best.


Winnipeg Dishwasher Experts


Now that we’ve extolled the virtues of your dishwasher, we also want to remind you that keeping it in good condition is imperative to maximizing its efficiency.  From regular maintenance to specific problems, Mike’s Quality Appliance Repair has got you covered.  If you’re seeking Winnipeg dishwasher repair, give us a call today!