Are dishwashers a greener option than washing the dishes by hand?
Unfortunately, there's no absolute proof as to whether hand-washing your dishes or using a dishwasher is more energy-efficient, in terms of either the amount of water or electricity used. However, there's plenty you can do to make sure you're using less energy whichever way you choose to do the dishes.
Read on for tips to help you save energy whether you wash your dishes by hand or use a machine and to find out more about picking an energy-efficient dishwasher.
Three tips for using your dishwasher efficiently
- Use the economy or eco programme.
- Wait until your dishwasher is full before putting it on.
- If your dishwasher has a time delay, and you have Economy 7, set it up to come on during the night and take advantage of cheaper rate electricity.
Dishwashers have other advantages over hand washing; they save time and are very hygienic .
If you don't have a dishwasher, and rely on hand washing, here are some tips to make sure you are as energy-efficient as possible:
Four tips for energy-efficient washing-up
- Pre-soak all heavily soiled dishes in a bowl, rather than rinsing them under the tap before you start your washing-up.
- Always wash your dishes in a bowl, rather than washing under a running tap.
- Have a second bowl for rinsing - again, don't rinse dishes under a running tap.
Should I replace my existing dishwasher?
Modern dishwashers, like modern washing machines, are cold-fill only, which makes them far more energy-efficient than older models.
If you have an older style machine that takes in hot water, it may well be time to update it.
Choosing an energy-efficient dishwasher
The more energy-efficient a dishwasher, the more expensive it tends to be due to the extra features, but the upfront cost can be offset over time by the savings you make in running the machine. So, check the energy efficiency label before you buy - an A-rated machine will be the most energy-efficient and the cheapest to run.
Dishwashers come in many sizes, so it makes sense to choose the size that best suits your needs. Full-sized dishwashers are the most energy and water-efficient, and this will be reflected in their energy rating, but this efficiency is based on filling the machine to capacity.
For a single person this may not be practical and a compact or slimline dishwasher may be more appropriate. Your choice will also depend, of course, on the size of your kitchen and the space you have available.