Old habits die hard, and many people just can't stop giving dishes a quick wash before putting them into the dishwasher. But the fact is that the newer machines are so energy and water efficient that there's really no need. And you're being wasteful – running a load of dirty dishes uses six times less water than if you were to wash them yourself, using a sink full of hot soapy water and elbow grease.
And the dishes won't be as clean. For one thing, your hands wouldn't be able to handle the water temperature used in a dishwasher, which ranges from 140 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit (60 to 63 degrees Celsius). In addition, today's machines use less soap, while high-powered water jets do the job more efficiently.
Wash less, save more:
- To wash the number of dishes that can fit in a full size dishwasher – and use less water – you would need to be able to wash eight full place settings and limit the time that the faucet was running to less than two minutes, according to Jonah Schein of the EPA’s WaterSense program.
- Energy Star-certified machines use less than 4.25 gallons (16 liters) of water for each cycle, according to the US Department of Energy.
- Why do we wash dishes before they go in the dishwasher? It's just a habit many older consumers grew up with, like idling your car for long periods to get the engine warm.