dishwasher vs hand washing
KITCHEN CLEANING

How to hand wash dishes to save water with these 5 hand washing tips

Save water. Help prevent future droughts. Learn how to hand wash dishes the eco-friendly way.    

Dishwashers are great for easily cleaning dishes but there are plenty of benefits to washing dishes by hand. Not only does dishwashing by hand mean you’re able to clean small or tight areas, it also means you don’t have to worry about items being dishwasher-safe or an expensive water bill coming through your door.

And best of all? It’s great for the environment to use less water. Here’s how to make dishwashing by hand easy and enjoyable.

Dishwasher vs hand washing

The great debate of dishwasher vs hand washing: Is it better for the planet to hand wash dishes? Is dishwashing by hand more financially savvy?

It really depends on your dishwasher, how modern it is and whether it has a short cycle or eco setting. Hand washing dishes is certainly a more energy-efficient way to clean up after a meal. And with a few simple steps, hand washing dishes can save water too.

How to clean dishes by hand

Have you ever wondered what the proper way to hand wash dishes is? Some warm water, a cloth and a bit of elbow grease – it all seems easy enough, but how to clean dishes by hand while saving water requires a bit more thought. Here’s the proper way to hand wash dishes, the environmentally responsible way.

  1. Pre-soak heavily soiled dishes in your washing up bowl rather than rinsing them under the tap.
  2. Hand wash dishes in a bowl rather than under a running tap.
  3. Use a fast-acting dishwashing liquid like Sunlight. Simply add a teaspoon-sized squirt to your washing up bowl while the water is running and wash dishes in the resulting lather.
  4. Have a second bowl handy to rinse soapy dishes. Resist the temptation to rinse them under a running tap.
  5. Finished? Use the dish water to water your garden. Small amounts of diluted dish soap shouldn’t harm your plants, and is better than no water at all during a drought.

If you do need to use your dishwasher – sometimes no amount of scrubbing can solve the problem of burnt-on food residue – use the eco setting and wait until it’s full before turning it on. Use Sunlight dishwashing tablets to get the job done fast and lift heavy stains from dishes, pans and pots.

Knowing how to hand wash dishes is just one way to modify our behaviour in the face of climate change and droughts. 

Top Tip


Using less water doesn’t mean your dishwashing has to be less effective. Use Sunlight dishwashing liquid to make hand washing dishes quick and easy. 

Key Steps


With Sunlight dishwashing liquid:

  • Fill the sink with water and add a teaspoon of Sunlight Dishwashing Liquid under running water. Add dishes to the foamy water and get washing!
  • If the product comes into contact with eyes, immediately rinse eyes with water.
  • If accidentally ingested, drink plenty of milk and seek medical advice immediately.
  • Keep out of reach of children. 

With Sunlight dishwashing tablets:

  • Place the tablet in the dispenser without removing its HYDROFILMTM wrapper and close the dispenser.
  • When using a short program (a great water saving solution), place the tablet directly into the dishwasher or the cutlery basket.
  • Don’t worry if warning lights of salt and rinse-aid come on – these functions are already included in SUNLIGHTTM all in 1 tablets.
  • For very hard water (>35 FH), it is recommended to add salt.
  • Always keep out of reach of children.