Does a dishwasher save water?

In an ongoing attempt to cut back and use less, have you wondered how much water a dishwasher uses? In this article, we answer the question once and for all!


does a dishwasher save water?

Key Facts

  1. Use an eco setting on your dishwasher if possible
  2. Make sure your dishwasher is full before you run it
  3. Run your dishwasher at night when energy is often cheaper
  4. Choose an effective detergent that works well at lower temperatures and during quick washes

Water is necessary for almost every cleaning activity at home, so it makes sense that using as little as possible would be a key contributor to improving sustainability at home. One of the biggest uses of water and energy at home is dish washing. But, do dishwashers save water? In this article we will explain how to practice eco-friendly washing up no matter how you choose to do it.

Paying attention to dishwasher water usage can help you save money and save the earth some water, but there are ways to be eco-friendly no matter how you wash up.

Dishwasher Efficiency

Dishwasher water consumption is a hot topic among eco-conscious homemakers. The good news is that there is evidence supporting the use of dishwashers over hand washing, once and for all: Research from a leading brand has established that dishwashers save a whopping 85% of water compared to hand washing! This study was based on a comparison of litres of water used while hand washing vs. an Electrolux brand dishwasher, but any modern dishwasher will have similar results.

Dishwasher water usage is more efficient than washing dishes by hand because the machine uses a set amount of water and, when loaded fully and properly, proves extremely effective in terms of sanitation and time spent. Hand washing can use an excessive amount of water with the tap running nonstop for the duration of washing up in many cases!

How to Improve Dishwasher Water Consumption

It’s simple to make sure your dishwasher is being used as sustainably as possible. Besides lightly rinsing off dishes before loading them, these four tips will make the investment in an efficient dishwasher well worth it:

  1. If your machine offers it, use the eco-friendly setting. If not, go for a quick wash or lower temperature whenever possible.
  2. Try to run full loads or you run the risk of wasting just as much water as you would hand washing.
  3. Run the machine at night by setting a time delay if your dishwasher has this option. The electricity needed to operate the machine is cheaper at night!
  4. Choose an effective detergent, that work just as well in quick wash settings.
Washing dishes in the dishwasher can save a whopping 85% of water compared to washing them by hand!

If You Choose to Handwash…

You can still be water efficient! Invest in a plastic tub or bowl that fits in the bottom of your sink, with edges high enough to cover your dirty dishes with water. Put on some gloves to protect your hands and fingernails and add a bit of powerful washing up liquid (we like Persil) after the dishes have soaked for a few minutes. Scrub or wipe away the residue on all of the dishes, keeping track of which ones have been cleaned. Next, tilt the tub so that most of the dirty water flows out, and begin to refill the tub with clean, warm water. As it fills, rinse off the dishes individually and set aside to dry. Usually, the tub will not even fill up completely before you have finished rinsing. Turn off the tap as soon as you are done, and leave the remaining water in the tub for the next round of washing up!

With these simple suggestions, you can be confident in your ability to wash up sustainably. 

Originally published