Is it good idea to use a Dishwasher Instead of Washing by Hand? Dishwasher or hand wash?

What to choose: dishwasher or hand wash

More and more households are using dishwashers. They’re easy to use and can save you a lot of time. But is it a good idea, from an ecological point of view, to use a dishwasher ? Or should we continue to wash our dishes by hand? Let’s find out.

The ecological impact of both methods is hard to quantify. It may depend on several factors, such as the amount of dishes, efficiency of the water boiler, efficiency of the dishwasher, etc. Hand-washing techniques can also vary from individual to individual. So how can we compare both methods?

Which use more water: dishwasher or hand wash?

A study from 2003 tries to find the answer by comparing the amount of water and energy it takes to wash a fully loaded dishwasher by hand and with the help of the machine.dishwasher or hand wash?

By washing these dishes by hand you use between 20 and 300 liters of water and between 0.1 and 8 kWh of energy. Dishwashers on the other hand, used 15 to 22 liters of water and 1 to 2 kWh of energy.

Based on these numbers we can conclude that a fully loaded dishwasher is the most efficient method of cleaning your dishes.

Other things to consider

Of course there are more aspects of both methods we need to take into account. A lot of people use the dishwasher, even if it’s not completely full. This makes it a less efficient way to do the dishes.

Older dishwashers might not be as efficient. New efficient dishwashers use significantly less energy, as well as water, compared with machines from 10 years ago.

And then there’s the ecological impact of the manufacturing process of the machine. This can also have an environmental impact that is often neglected.

Alternative use

Did you know that you could use your dishwasher as a cooking device? You can use it to cook fish and vegetables. The dishwasher’s heat is high enough to poach fish and cook vegetables. Just make sure you put them in an airtight foil and run the dishwasher on hottest cycle. Bon appetit!

PS: Bob Blumer has a great dishwasher salmon recipe.

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