Dishwashing Gone Green

Save water and cut cleaning costs with green dishwashing.

Hand-washing Wastes Water
Hand-washing Wastes Water

By Donna Cosola


Next time you strap on your gloves to tackle the dirty dishes by hand to save energy, think again.  Turns out, running a full load through the dishwasher can save 35% of the water used to do a load of dishes by hand.  Just in case you need more incentive to use your dishwasher, here are some other tips to make it even more eco-friendly.


·      Use energy-saving cycles.  Choose a dishwasher that is both energy and water efficient.  In the US, start with Energy Star rated appliances.  They use 25% less energy than the mandated minimum.


·      Turn down the heat.  Most modern dishwashers have booster heaters to heat the water that comes from your home’s water tank.  Turning the water tank’s thermostat down to 120 degrees will allow you to save energy without compromising the cleanliness.


·      Utilize the no-heat drying feature.  Doing this prevents your dishwasher from using the electric heat or a fan to dry the dishes.  If you have an older dishwasher, simply turn the dishwasher off after the final rinse cycle is completed and open the door to air dry.


·      Don’t pre-rinse dishes.  Modern dishwashers are capable of cleaning even the dirtiest of dishes.  Scrape off food, then let the dishwasher do the rest.


·      Wash only full loads.  The dishwasher uses the same amount of water whether it’s half-full or completely full.


·      Set your washer to off-peak washing.  Delay the start of your dishwasher for off-peak utility hours (some units have timers that will start the cycle at a programmed time). Some utilities offer reduced rates for energy used during this time period.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Read more green tips from Donna.

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