Updated 26 June 2013

Clean green dishwashing

Do dishwashers beat manual washing? Yes, if they’re used optimally.

Modern dishwashers are generally greener, using less energy and water, than all except the strictest hand-washing-up practices, which is fortunate because few dishwasher owners would ever be persuaded to go back to manual drudgery.

However, for your dishwasher to genuinely live up to its (relative) environmentally friendly reputation, it needs to be used to maximize their energy- and water-saving features, as follows:
  • Load the dishwasher fully before you run it, but still allow for efficient water circulation between items. The machine uses the same amount of water if it’s full or partly-filled.
  • Choose energy-saving, low-heat settings whenever possible, especially if the dishes aren’t very dirty
  • Air-dry or hand-dry the clean dishes. You can simply open the dishwasher door to do this. If your machine has a no-heat setting for drying, use it.
  • Scrape those very dirty dishes instead of rinsing them before loading: pre-rinsing wastes a lot of water. With many of the newer machines though, even scraping might not be necessary.

Image of dishwasher: Shutterstock


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