Energy efficient appliances have been on the rise in the last decade or so, and for good reason. Dishwasher use can dramatically increase your utility bill and negatively impact the environment. With many brands claiming to use less water and some sources claiming that washing dishes by hand is more eco-friendly and less wasteful, where is the truth? Just how much water does a dishwasher use per cycle?

How many gallons of water does a dishwasher use?

Energy Star-rated dishwashers use an average of four gallons per cycle. Any other average dishwasher uses a bit more: six gallons per cycle. In some cases, an Energy Star certified washer could use three gallons per cycle. That is half the amount of water a dishwasher uses in an average brand appliance. If you are looking to be efficient, you might want to find yourself an Energy Star certified dishwasher to cut back on how much water you are using per cycle.

Is Hand Washing Dishes Efficient?

It depends. You would need to take into account the amount of water you are using, the faucet you have in your sink, and the number of dishes you are washing by hand. Then, you would need to compare that amount to how many dishes you would have in your dishwasher. If you’re washing your dishes by hand and then placing them in the dishwasher for another wash, it’s not the best idea. This method is likely the worst option if you are looking for energy efficiency.

The Water Heater and Hand Washing Dishes

If you are washing dishes by hand, you’re likely heating the water to warm it up a bit. You need to take this into account, as well, when considering how eco-friendly and energy efficient the hand washing technique is compared to using the dishwasher. It can be more efficient if the water is not boiling hot when you are washing and rinsing, but you do need to be mindful of how many dishes you are washing and avoid letting the faucet run freely without any dishes being actively cleaned. Running the water too long could result in your water heater having to do too much work. This can up your utility bill.

How can the dishwasher increase its energy efficiency?

There are a few things you can be careful about to ensure your dishwasher is more energy efficient, whether it’s Energy Star or an uncertified brand. First off, only run the dishwasher if you have a full load in the dishwasher. You can also turn off the ‘heated dry’ option if it’s on your appliance. Even though the dishwasher is using heated water, by turning off the heat at the end of the cycle, you’re being more energy efficient.

How much water does a dishwasher use over time?

Dishwashers are great. They save on time, as hand washing can be quite a process, especially after a messy meal. The average dishwasher, though, uses several gallons of water to clean the dishes. You are likely using your dishwasher a few times per week. Depending on the amount of people in your household, the amount of monthly gallons of water used by your dishwasher will vary.

If you are using your dishwasher every day and it’s Energy Star certified, you’re using around 120 gallons of water per month. If your dishwasher is not Energy Star certified, then you’re using around 180 gallons of water per month. If you cut that in half, so you are only using your dishwasher every other day or so, you would use somewhere around 60-90 gallons per month. Washing dishes less might be easier if you live alone or with fewer people, but families or people with roommates might have trouble lowering their dishwasher usage.

The Environmental Footprint of Your Dishwasher

In comparison, the food you eat requires much more water than a dishwasher cycle. If you’re looking to cut back on your environmental footprint, perhaps start there. The production of a pound of beef requires 2,400 gallons of water. 32 gallons of water are needed to produce a single glass of wine. 19 gallons are required for just one apple. The dishwasher uses a good amount of water, though is it too much in the big picture? That depends on other lifestyle and household choices you’re making.

If you’re looking to cut back on your utility bill, perhaps decrease showering time and turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth. Not only will that save you some cash, but it is helpful to the environment, as well.

How much water does a dishwasher use?

To answer the question “how much water does a dishwasher use?” is complicated, as there are many factors. To cut back, ensure the appliance is full, heated dry is turned off, and perhaps cut back on hand washing before dish washing if that’s part of your dish washing routine. If you have not already done so, and can manage it, Energy Star certified appliances will also be of benefit in your dishwashing and household chores.