Dishwashers are a waste of water & energy

toomuchglassSeptember 28, 2007

-------- But I HATE doing dishes by hand !!!!!!!!!

This is the first dishwasher I've ever had .( IT came with the house ) I Weighed the pro's and con's of it .........

Pro's of a dishwasher ....

PRO ---I'm at "the age" that sticking my hands in hot water for any length of time makes me sweat like crazy. ( I don't even need hot water - but that's a post for another forum ) *wink* It's a luxury to have it done for me.

PRO --- Things get "squeaky" clean .

\-\-\- I only want to run a full load \- I run out of dishes before I have a full load.

Con \-\- I Have to rinse plates off anyway \- I might as well wash them. LOL 

Con \-\-\- It uses wayyyy too much water !

DH uses the "Wash as you go method" ... I have to learn that. How do you wash your dishes ?


( Sorry - I feel like I'm taking over the forum - but I'm happy to be in the company of other people that are proud of being frugal ! )

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Funny- I was recently told in another forum that washing dishes by hand wastes more, and that I should use a dishwasher! I wish a neutral party would publish data on things like this, so we knew which way to turn!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2007 at 7:44PM
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Definitely the dishwasher - the dishwasher gets my dishes cleaner with less water usage.
I use it as much as I can.

toomuchglass, maybe you would get a full load if you weren't hand washing and reusing Dixie plates. (taken from another post)

Oh... you mention rinsing. I NEVER rinse... why do you?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2007 at 8:05PM
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Ha ha Western . funny. ( not ) For your info ... this dishwasher is is older .It says to rinse the dishes first . In fact -- I dug out the chart that shows water usage. Here's the info - right from the factory warranty & instructions ... ( I admit - there are probably more efficient models out there since mine was made ...) but this is the direct from the factory info.

Pots & Pans Cycle --- 78 minutes - 15 gallons.
Normal wash --- 69 minutes - 12.5 gallons
Water MIser - 60 minutes - 10.0 gallons
Light wash -54 minutes - 7.5 gallons
Rinse & hold - 18 minutes - 5 gallons.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2007 at 8:16PM
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toomuchglass, newer dishwashers are much more efficient. I have a Fisher & Paykel DishDrawer, which is two separate dishwashing drawers in a single unit/cabinet that each hold about 60% the capacity of a standard dishwasher. Each fill of water takes 0.8 gals. A normal wash has five water changes, so that's 4 gals (for one drawer, running both drawers at the same time is double the water consumption. The heaviest cycle has seven water changes, 5.6 gals total. It has internal water heating, and can work with a cold water connection. I recently ran a heavy cycle (which heats to 150°F for the main wash and 163°F for the final rinse) with the unit connected to a Kill-A-Watt meter. The meter records how much electricity is used. 0.68 KWH, *including* the water heating. That's equivalent to 6.8 100-watt light bulbs turned on for one hour. Figured at the electric rate on my last bill, it cost LESS THAN SIX CENTS in electricity to run the heavy cycle.

Just for kicks, you should try running a load *without* prerinsing the dishes (you should still scrape off food scraps). If you use a modern enzyme-based dishwasher detergent, the cleaning results will likely be fine.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 3:26AM
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I wash my dishes in the dishwasher. No rinsing, just scrape and load. I think hand washing uses more water, isn't as effective at sanitizing . If you run out of dishes before you have a full load maybe you need to purchace more dishes?
I usually have a full load after one meal, with pots & pans included.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 9:10AM
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I use a dishwasher, don't really care about the water or the energy, it save MY energy. With 7 for 2 meals a day and 8 (occasionally more) for the last, I tend not to have to worry about having a partial load.

With kids taking turns washing dishes, the amount of water used by hand washing could possibly fill a small pool. So no, even if the dishwasher used twice the water as hand washing by an adult, I'd still use it, and probably save money doing it.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 9:40AM
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Dishwashers do save my personal time. That means a lot to me. I got my new dishwasher a few months ago. It runs for a long while, but the dishes do get clean without pre-rinsing.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 12:42PM
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I can't imagine a dishwasher using 12.5 gals for a normal load... I wonder where it all goes LOL Everything I have ever read concerning dishwashers and energy ratings say that using a dishwasher uses considerably water than washing by hand.

I NEVER rinse my dishes. We scrape the plates and pots and pans and that is it. I run my dishwasher once to twice a day (large family, lots of kids and friends). I can't imagine washing that many dishes by hand. I would be in front of the sink all day long--- plus when I wash by hand, I have a terrible habit of soaking the front of my shirt :) I have even let the dirty dishes sit in the dishwasher over the weekend when we were gone and ran them on Monday morning without no problems whatsover... only clean dishes!

If I were you, I would just get some more dishes so you don't run out before you run the dishwasher :)

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 1:39PM
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We only run a full dishwasher twice a week (two adults) on the shortest wash cycle it has, high-temp rinse is off, as is the heat dry (we use air dry). We never put the stainless steel cutlery in the dishwasher, the detergents and the clanking about quickly destroys it. All our dishwasher is used for is plates, glasses, and cups. Everything else gets washed by hand.

We're very frugal water users as well, when it comes to running the wash water (we live in a drought area with water use restrictions). It doesn't matter if you use a dishwasher, you still need a sink of wash water to wash things that don't go into the dishwasher and to clean-up, so you can't be saving any water OR energy by running BOTH the dishwasher AND running a sink of water for washing up.

I use a small plastic tub in the sink, instead of running a huge sink full of water. It takes us about 10 CUPS of water to wash any remaining dishes/pans/plasticware and to do clean up. Most people use between 5 and 7 GALLONS of water to do dishes by hand.

Since we use a very frugal amount of water, we heat 5 cups of water (or less for only a few items and clean-up) in our electric kettle, which is a very energy efficient way to heat the water. Electric kettles will boil water quicker than a microwave. An on-the-stove kettle is a huge energy waster since you are heating not only the kettle, but the space around it. An electric kettle has a heating element inside the kettle that directly heats the water.

Then we add about 5 cups of cold water, which has usually been captured in a 3-gallon container from cold water that runs before the water heats up for a shower - which would normally just go down the drain. Rinse water for dishes is a trickle or spray of cold water that amounts to about 5 more cups of water. So to do dishes by hand, we use about 1 gallon of water. We also eat 3 meals a day at home.

Compared to my frugal hand-washing method, a dishwasher doesn't save money, energy, water, and not much time, either, for that matter; it's just a convenience and a pretty good sanitizer. The only reason we use the dishwasher is because if you don't use it regularly, it jells-up and the next time you DO want to use, it won't work.

We used this same method when we had 2 kids at home....


    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 7:04AM
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WOW ......... Maybe it's time to get a new energy efficient one . This one is 15+ years old. At the time - it was "state of the art " .

now I"m thinking ..................
Thanks for the advice !

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 4:40PM
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I live alone, so my dishwasher is never full when I wash dishes. I use it about 2 times a week. It's not good for washers of any kind to sit unused for a long time. One time my husband and I had Mono and couldn't seem to get over it. The doc said if you don't have a dishwasher, boil water and scald your flat ware to kill germs. I think of it as a swap out. I use more water "maybe" with by using the dishwasher, but I save water by showering.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 7:45PM
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Think of how much energy (and water, too, by the way) it takes to build that new, efficient dishwasher.

In addition to the other resources that it uses.

And then ... what to do with the old one?

How much of them really gets reused/recycled?

Around here, the garbage people won't take them, and the scrap metal dealers that pay one for scrap steel, copper, aluminum, etc. ... charge you to those old appliances away.

By the way ... I live within 2 miles of a landfill that recently had a major increase in capacity, and was bought by a major city, for a reported $220 million.

So I am even more than earlier an enemy of wasteful ways that result in more garbage.

Let's keep our streets, roadways and parks clean - they are the community's living room.

Have a lovely week, everyone.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 10:30PM
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I guess I am just plain old selfish, because I am not going to buy used things, pay to have them repaired again and again, while the rest of the population have the luxury items. I will not visit this forum again, much to serious for me. I have to get on with my materialistic life. No offense intended to apologies for not understanding this is about the environment, thought it was about saving money.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 10:55PM
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"No offense intended to apologies for not understanding this is about the environment, thought it was about saving money."

Actually it is about BOTH! (at least that is what the title implies to ME!)

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 12:31PM
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Here's the official word from the U.S. government:

"A new ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher uses less than half as much energy
as washing dishes by hand.
A new ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher saves nearly 5,000 gallons of water
per year, compared to washing dishes by hand."

Plus it saves your time, gets dishes cleaner, saves the environment, saves money etc.

Check out the link below.

You can buy an energy star DW new or used. I bought a 9-month-old a high-end Kenmore Energy Star DW off craigslist for less than 1/2 of retail. My old one, which was effective but a real water hog, got recycled -- my county recycles appliances. It's a win-win purchase for all involved.

Luann -- right on! Saving money and conserving the environment generally go hand in hand.

Here is a link that might be useful: 2007 Energy Star Dishwasher information

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 5:26PM
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I love my dishwasger. I run it probably twice a day. It has a pot scrubber function. And it's the easiest way to clean loads of glasses and mugs and cups. When I wash dishes in the sink,the water gets griny so fast.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 6:22PM
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Haven't had a dishwasher in over 30 years. Can't say I really miss it. But if I move, I think I'd invest in a small one, raised up for easier access or possibly a dish drawer, though they're a bit spendy. I've gotten good about washing as I go when I am doing a lot of cooking/baking and for the everyday dishes, I run soapy water and put the dishes in to soak. Then a hot water swish & rinse and they're done. As far as sanitizing, I get out the bleach when I'm preparing a turkey or chicken or something but otherwise, I use soap, water and that's fine.

Then again, I use some paper plates too and paper towels rather than taking a washable plate so I don't have as much to wash.

Hey Ed, do you stand over the sink while you eat?? ;) Course a good dog will help cut down on the dishwashing too!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 9:37PM
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The Fisher-Paykel drawer dishwasher uses only 2 gallons of water if you use the 'econo' setting. It get dishes that have been sitting for a couple of days clean. I will have the same in the next house. Also, if you have hard water, there is a built-in water softener- you just add a small amout of salt. I also like the 'dog dishwasher' comment! I always wanted to let the dog lick the dishes when the in-laws were over, then say nothing and put the dishes back in the cabinet, like this is what I did daily- my MIL hated dogs, and I would have loved to see her face!! She probably would have puked up the meal she just ate!! I was too 'good' in my younger years- now I do it in a hearbeat and laugh for 2 weeks!!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 12:47AM
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Ilmbg, I admit I'll dust the crumbs off a plate and then stick it back in the cabinet, but after my dog licks a dish,I don't consider it clean. I'll re-wash it. In the dishwasher.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 11:37AM
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I washed dishes by hand for thirty years, but now I have a dishwasher, and I love it. The water it uses goes down the drain into the septic tank and waters the trees, so I am not worried about waste of water. I will be frugal in other ways, but a dishwasher is worth the cost to me. By the way I love this forum.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 9:07PM
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ilmbg, which cycle are you using? Being that the DD takes 0.8 gals of water per fill, there's no way to get exactly 2 gals.

The DishDrawer's lowest water consumption would be the Fast cycle. Per the current User Guide, Fast is 3 fills (wash, rinse, rinse) both with and without Eco. At 0.8 gals per fill, that's 2.4 gals. Eco on Fast lowers the target temperatures but doesn't reduce water consumption. This is per the User Guide for the latest DD603 model revision.

The Normal cycle with Eco is 4 fills (prewash, wash, rinse, rinse) 3.2 gallons. Normal without Eco is 5 fills (prewash, prerinse, wash, rinse, rinse) 4.0 gals.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 1:26AM
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I love my dishwasher. I love it more than my DH or my kids. I'm serious! I also live in one of the few places in the world with plenty of water. I just wish the water from things like the dishwasher didn't have to go through the treatment plant on it's way to the sea. I would use it to keep my garden watered.

Mine is old and if I don't rinse I have really yucky stuff stuck to the dishes. I rinse and half the time just use baking soda unless things are really messy. When it dies I'll get a more energy efficient model. But maybe not. My new fridge is nice and energy efficient. I think it got that rating because it sure can't use energy when it isn't working (and that is pretty frequent.)

Did I say I love my dishwasher?


    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 4:34PM
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