The Green Minute: Dishwasher vs. Handwashing Dishes
March 17, 2013

The Green Minute: Dishwasher Vs. Handwashing Dishes

Courtesy of Pat Byington, The Green Register Editor

For today’s Green Minute, the age old debate… Which is greener – using a dishwasher or washing dishes by hand?

According to a recent study done by the University of Bonn in Germany, washing a load of dishes (12 place settings), by hand uses on average 27 gallons of water and 2.5 kilowatt-hours of energy to heat the water — equivalent to running a hair dryer for two and a half hours.

By comparison, an energy-efficient dishwasher uses about 4 gallons of water and 1 kWh of energy per load. Researchers also found that dishwashers cleaned better, as half of the hand-washers failed to reach an “acceptable level” of cleanliness.

So, it looks like the dishwashers have the “green” upper-hand, especially if you have an efficient “new” dishwasher.

Regardless which side you fall on this debate, make sure to do the following eco-friendly tips with your dishes.

  • Only run full loads
  • Scrape food off plates (into a compost bin if you’ve got one) – but don’t pre-rinse
  • If you don’t have a dishwasher, make sure you hand wash your dishes right away so they don’t get sticky and require more water and energy to clean later

Just a few common sense actions can make a huge difference.

Image Credit: Africa Studio / Shutterstock

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