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Dishwasher vs Hand-Washing: Water usage and cost

We list the pros and cons of having a dishwasher vs hand washing. Which is right for you?


dishwasher vs hand washing

When it comes to washing dishes, there are a few considerations you need to make, from dishwasher vs hand-washing water usage to electricity cost and also how best to protect your dishes and glassware. This simple guide will help you understand the pros and cons of dishwasher vs hand-washing.

Should you wash dishes by hand or dishwasher?

When considering the benefits of a dishwasher vs hand-washing, cost will inevitably come into play. Does the initial cost of a dishwasher offset the eventual money saved on effective dishwashing? There are a number of considerations to make when deciding how to wash your dishes:

  1. Some items cannot be washed in the dishwasher due to the nature of the material. These include:
    • Certain types of plastic.
    • Certain types of pot and pan such as cast iron and aluminium.
  2. Dishwashers actually use equal or less amounts of water than washing by hand.
  3. Dishwashers are quite expensive to run, both through water usage and electricity costs. Other costs, such as repair or replacements, could mount up, too.
  4. Dishwashers save time, as all you have to do it load and unload it.
  5. If you have hard water, the calcium and minerals could cause glassware and glass dishes to fog up over time.
  6. Dishwashers generally clean better than if you do it manually.

Your guide to washing dishes by hand

You will have at least a few precious items that will need washing by hand. Here is an easy guide to make sure you have them clean and sparkling quickly and easily:

  • Burnt-on grease on your pots and pans can be easily cleaned by soaking them in a few drops of washing-up liquid and hot water.
  • When washing dishes used for dairy products or anything starchy, put them to one side. These foods may turn gummy when placed in hot water, so you’ll need to wash them later with cold water.
  • Start with the cleanest items such as glasses, followed by cutlery, then move onto dirtier or oily plates and bowls.
  • Wash any delicate items such as thin glassware separately to prevent chips or breaks in them during the cleaning process.
  • Once the entire food residue has been cleaned off, set the dishes and glassware to one side. You should rinse them all together after to ensure no soap is left on them, and also reduce the amount of water you use.
  • The most hygienic way to dry your dishes and glassware is to air-dry them, so use a drying rack, however if you’re in a rush and need to towel-dry, always use a clean towel.

Now you have a simple, easy-to-follow guide to washing up your dishes and glassware, from comparing the dishwasher vs hand-washing cost to how best to protect delicate items like wine glasses.

  • Always check if your dishes, pots and pans are dishwasher-safe, as some will need to be washed by hand.
  • Glassware such as wine glasses or champagne flutes and glass dishes could fog over time in the dishwasher so consider washing these by hand.
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    Originally published