Dishwasher vs Hand Washing: Which One is Better for the Environment?

Growing up in modern times, you’ve probably used a dishwasher before. I know that there are some countries that traditionally don’t have dishwashers in their houses. In the United States, a lot of households have a dishwasher. They’re easy to use and it’s less work for you. However, I recently moved into a place that doesn’t have a dishwasher. We wash all of our dishes by hand. I don’t mind it because it’s relaxing and I like to see the pile get smaller. However, it led me to think about which dish-washing strategy is better for the environment. Today, we’re going to settle an age old debate. Dishwasher vs hand washing, which one is better for the environment?

Which One Uses More Water?

If you’ve used both dish washing strategies, think about the water you used. Did you leave the tap on while you washed the dishes by hand? Or did you run the dishes through a dishwasher twice to make sure they were clean? Keep those experiences in mind. A majority of people leave the water running when they wash their dishes by hand. The only other way to hand wash dishes would be to fill the sink up. Both of these options use a lot of water. A dishwasher uses 3 or 4 times less water than hand washing your dishes does. This is because a running tap wastes a lot of water. Also, it takes about 4 times as long to hand wash dishes than to use a dishwasher. That means that your water is running four times longer than it could. Overall, dishwashers use less water than hand washing.  

Which One Uses More Energy?

You would think that dishwashers would use more energy because it’s an appliance. That would be incorrect. A dishwasher uses half the energy that hand washing does. This is because of the energy used to heat up the tap water. Also, there are new energy efficient dishwashers that are designed to save energy. I’m not saying that dishwashers don’t use energy to clean your dishes, because they do. Hand washing your dishes just uses more energy than a dishwasher.

dishwasher vs hand washing, sink, soap, child cleaning spoon

Which One Emits More Carbon Dioxide?

Carbon dioxide is a main cause of global warming. It’s a greenhouse gas that is put into the air and creates smog. Everything we do now days puts carbon dioxide into the air. Washing our dishes is not different. Dishwashers wash your dishes in hot water. On average, the water is 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Washing your dishes at that temperature emits 990 grams of carbon dioxide into the air. However, hand washing your dishes emits 8000 grams of carbon dioxide into the air. Granted, that is if you use a lot of water. But, we just discussed that we use a lot more water when hand washing dishes than when using a dishwasher. Overall, hand washing your dishes emits more carbon dioxide than using a dishwasher.

Which One Wastes More?

It’s hard not to waste things. Therefore, we waste valuable resources when we clean our dishes. The question is, which one wastes more material? A dishwasher uses less soap than hand washing dishes. This is because soap can’t be added to the dishwasher once it’s on. I don’t know if you’d say that you waste soap when you hand wash dishes. However, you save soap when you use a dishwasher. Also, hand washing your dishes wastes more time than loading a dishwasher. Overall, hand washing “wastes” more materials than dishwashers do.

Which One Has A Cleaner Final Product?

Hands down, dishwashers clean your dishes better. There’s 400 times more bacteria left on dishes after you’ve hand washed them. That’s because we’re only human. We could forget to clean in between the fork prongs. Or, we can’t reach the bottom of the cup. No matter the reason, dishwashers clean your dishes better. Sure, cleaning your dishes in hot water helps. However, it takes a lot longer to clean your dishes well by hand than with a machine.

The Conclusion to the Dishwasher vs Hand Washing Debate

In conclusion, dishwashers beat out hand washing in every category. Whether its water, waste, or cleanliness, dishwashers win. If you don’t have a dishwasher at home, then that’s OK. There are still plenty of ways that you can save water, energy, and waste. At the end of the day, we can only work with what we’ve got. Just make sure you hand wash your dishes well because a clean dish is a happy dish!     

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Bailey Longhurst
 

I am amazed every day by the beauty that this world provides for us and think it is important to preserve it! Taking care of ourselves and our earth is crucial and I want to help people discover new ways to do both. Publishing for Green and Growing is a unique way that I can get my message across, and I hope you all enjoy what we write about!

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