General Question

occ's avatar

Which is better for the environment: washing my dishes by hand, or using the dishwasher? Which uses less water?

Asked by occ (4176points) November 9th, 2006
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15 Answers

gsiener's avatar
I've heard that modern dishwashers actually use less water.
andrew's avatar
Dishwasher i think
andrew's avatar
At the very least, it saves you the time and energy, which you can use to save the environment another way
maggiesmom1's avatar
I do think today's dishwashers are very energy/water efficient and probably use less water than a sink full of water plus rinsing. I think it's the same concept that a shower uses less water than a bath. Of course I could be totally wrong.
soccrgal's avatar
I think they use a equal emount.
mvgolden's avatar
A dishwasher uses much less water. Much like a washing machine the dishwasher fills with water and then uses that water during the full wash cycle
mvgolden's avatar
then some new water is used for the rinse cycle
bpeoples's avatar
Check out:
pippi123's avatar
i think dishwashers use less water for the same amount of dishes. unless you take care to re-use the water to wash each dish/glass. but they obviously use a whole lot more electricity. so, really, one should only use the dishwasher if it's completely full. plus, washing dishes by hand is relaxing!
lindisfarne's avatar

The dishwasher uses less WATER, yes, than hand washing.
But this doesn’t factor in the energy and water used in mining the metals, getting the metals to the factory, pollution caused by the factory (differs across countries), energy used in manufacturing the parts of the dishwasher, pollution and energy involved in manufacturing plastic and vinyl aspects of the dishwasher, and energy involved in shipping the dishwasher to the show room, your house, running the dishwasher, and sending the dishwasher to the dump (and the environmental cost of the parts which won’t degrade for 10s of thousands of years).

apple_so_crappy's avatar

according to the Ed Begley Jr, who is a fanatic about conservation and going green, he recently discovered that NEW energy saver / water conserving dishwashers are more efficient than hand washing—but that was a one-time observation/remark on his show “Living with Ed” a couple months ago.

That is of course, as mentioned above, based on multiple factors including number of dishes to be washed, making sure a dishwasher is filled, properly used,etc and whether you fill a sink to hand wash dishes and reuse if multiple times, turn the faucet off, type of soap being used, other additives, etc.

Depends on what exactly you are measuring…

kumarm_arun's avatar

The dish washer in my rented house shared with two other housemates is daily used by my housemates (at least once a day). It is far from a full load each time. It runs for more than an hour making a loud sound. I can bet that it consumes many times the amount of water I use to wash a bunch of dishes with hand daily. You have to also add the electricity (which if I go by its loudness is considerable) to run for more than an hour and then to heat and dry. I don’t take a sink full of water. I first sprinkle a small amount of water to soak the dishes, scrub each one with a small amount of detergent (no water is used at this step, less soap to wash off due to minimal detergent usage) and finally rinse each of them in a low flow. A bunch of dishes to prepare my dinner. Total water spent is less than that required to fill the sink. Time spent is <15 minutes. I do it slow. At the end I feel good and relaxed. Moreover no making of loud sound at night for hours.

StupidGirl's avatar
“As of August 11, 2009, ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers are required to use 5.8 gallons (=22 liters) of water per cycle or less.”

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