Do dishwashers clean better than by hand?
Many people are under the impression that washing your dishes by hand uses less water than washing them in a dishwasher, but is this really the case?
These days, we’re all very conscious about reducing our water consumption – we take shorter showers, shallower baths, and water our gardens less frequently. But, if you’re still not sure about whether giving up the dishwasher makes your household more water-efficient or not, then you’ve come to the right place.
We’ll be answering this question once and for all. Read on for more information to answer the question of do dishwashers clean better than by hand, so you can make a final decision.
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Quick Comparison – The Handwashing VS Dishwasher Debate
A dishwasher that is filled to the brim with dishes uses around 13 litres of water to clean 144 dishes and pieces of silverware. Washing this same load of dishes by hand uses an average of 100 litres of water, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Bonn in Germany.
It is important to note that this average water consumption actually ranges from 33 litres to 440 litres in the study, so there’s a major discrepancy depending on how you wash your dishes by hand.
Do Dishwashers Leave Your Dishes Cleaner?
There’s only so much that you can do to ensure that your dishes are clean when you’re washing by hand. You can scrub and scrub until they’re spotless, but there’s always a chance that you’ve missed some stubborn food particles. What’s worse, common dish soap is not very effective at cleaning germs.
With special technologies like Steam Gloss, as well as high washing temperatures, dishwashers help your dishes come out cleaner, shinier, and brighter. They also kill germs more effectively thanks to their high water temperatures (which we’ll discuss in the later section).
How Much Water is Used During Hand Washing?
Let’s take a quick look at the gallons of water that are required to wash dishes by hand, starting off with the sink. Most European sinks range anywhere from 15 litres to 45 litres, but for the sake of this example, we’ll use an average of 25 litres.
Now, let’s think about how much water you are filling your sink up with when you’re washing the dishes. If you have to wash a whopping 144 dishes (which is a full load in the dishwasher, remember), then you are probably going to fill your sink about halfway full, or ⅔ full at most.
This is about 15 litres, which is already more than your dishwasher would use for the same number of dishes. But that’s not too bad, right?
Now think about the last time you had to wash the dishes after you had your whole family over for Christmas – all those heavily dirtied pots, pans, plates, and bowls. How often did you change the water during the washing-up process? If it was twice, then that puts you at 45 litres.
Pre-rinsing can help you minimize the number of water changes that you make, but rinsing under a running tap causes your water consumption to skyrocket. If you’ve got a second sink, you’ll be able to fill it and dip the plates in the clear water instead, but that means you’d have to fill two sinks instead of one.
Is Washing Dishes By Hand Ever Better?
As you can clearly see, dishwashers are far more water-efficient than washing by hand, especially when you’re working with a full load. Of course, you won’t be working with full loads every night, and if you only have a couple of dirty dishes to wash, it won’t be practical to wait for the dishwasher to fill up.
In that case, you’d be better off washing your dishes in the sink. Taking into consideration chef’s knives, wooden chopping boards, non-stick pans, and the plethora of other items that you should never put in the dishwasher, hand washing dishes is always going to have a place in every home.
Why Use A Dishwasher?
In addition to improved water efficiency, there are a number of benefits that come with owning your own dishwasher. Whether you’re an avid cook who’s constantly needing to clean dishes, or just can’t stand having to wash dishes by hand, there are so many reasons to invest in a dishwasher. Here are just a few.
They free up time
We all know that life is extremely busy and fast-paced enough, and we don’t need to be spending 20 minutes hunched over a sink washing dishes. On average, people spend one hour a day washing dishes, but only 10 minutes loading up a dishwasher.
That’s a whopping 50 minutes of extra free time that you can spend doing your favourite leisure activities. Most dishwashers offer a range of timed program options from 30 minutes up to 120 minutes to work around your schedule.
All you need to do is load up the dishwasher and set the washing program, and you’re free to go until it’s time to pack the dishes away.
It’s a great use of space
If you don’t have enough room for a full-size dishwasher, but desperately want a dishwasher in your home, then consider getting your hands on a slimline dishwasher. These machines are excellent for maximizing the space in your kitchen while not having to worry about the dishes piling up after you’re done cooking.
Gets rid of germs
In order for dishes to be cleaned properly, the water has to be heated to over 60°C. When we wash dishes by hand, the water generally only gets to be about 27°C – 28°C, which is, of course, nowhere near hot enough.
Thankfully, the hot water inside of your dishwasher is heated up to an impressive 75°C, which means that any and all germs that may have been creeping around on your dishes will be melted away, and your plates and mugs will be impeccably hygienic.
It’s just easier
Dishwashers are those kinds of appliances that, once you own them, you just can’t imagine life without them. As you know, it takes far less time to load your dishwasher and set a washing program than it does to wash your dishes by hand, but in addition to that, it is much easier to load and unload the dishes than it is to stand hunched over a sink scrubbing away.
It’s gentler on your hands
Human hands are used for a lot of tasks every single day, which means that we’re putting them through massive amounts of strain and stress on a daily basis. Just think of how many tasks you do each day that require your hands – driving, typing, writing, eating, etc.
If saving water, energy, and having cleaner dishes isn’t enough to motivate you to invest in a dishwasher, then think about this – not having to deal with scrubbing stubborn plates with harsh chemicals is far gentler on your hands.
Cost Efficiency and Time Efficiency
After your initial investment in a dishwasher (which can be pretty pricey, we know), you might find that you actually end up saving money by owning one of these machines. Dishwashers are designed to use water as efficiently as possible – in fact, a dishwasher should only set you back about $35 a year to run.
Furthermore, modern dishwashers are wonderfully time-efficient, taking only 10 minutes to load and unload, as we mentioned before. The rest of the work is done by the machine while you get to sit back and relax.
At the end of the day, we have to say that we think dishwashers do clean better than by hand, in most scenarios. There are also many other benefits, that we outlined above. If you have space in your home for a dishwasher, we recommend using one for your health, time, and simplicity. Just load up your dishwasher and you can kick back and relax!
Founder of homeappliancegeek.com, avid cook, and lover of Asian food.
Signature dishes include Thai Red Curry, Chicken Saag, Bibimbap and Sushi.
Massive clean freak; a habit baked-in after spending 9 years in the catering industry.
The one appliance he couldn’t live without? Easily the dishwasher (total relationship saver!).