You’ve spent the past three days walking past your sink and pretending that the dirty dishes aren’t piling up. Now it’s almost time to prepare dinner, and you don’t have a single clean pot in your cabinets. You’ve got no choice but to hand wash your dishes or place them in the dishwasher.
Hand washing dishes vs. dishwasher, which one can get your silverware squeaky clean? Dishwashers pack the heat needed to get rid of germs and can save you tons of time. There is a certain charm with handwashing, as well as long as you do it right. Keep reading to weigh the pros and cons of both methods.
Table of Contents
- Water Consumption
- Energy Consumption
- Heat is a Big Deal
- Sponges are Full of Germs
- Which Option is Best for the Dishes?
- Using a Dishwasher Saves Tons of Time
- Less Detergent
- Dishwasher Do’s and Dont’s
- Handwashing Do’s and Don’ts
- Hand Washing Dishes Vs. Dishwasher: Which is Better for You and Your Silverware?
Many people are under the misconception that dishwashers are water guzzlers. The truth is, they don’t actually use up as much water as you think. You can create plenty of waste by washing your dishes by hand.
Handwashing water usage can add up if you leave the water trickling the entire time you scrub your dishes. You can throw up to 5 gallons of water away within a single minute.
One of the benefits of handwashing is that you can control your water use to a point. Instead of keeping your water running, fill your sink halfway with soapy water and scrub all the dishes at once. You can use the same method to rinse all your dishes in a single swoop.
Many people pre-rinse their dishes before they run the dishwasher. If you do this, then yes, your dishwasher water usage will stack up fast. Save on the waste by scrapping any leftover food into your garbage disposal or trash can.
Do this, and your dishwasher will only use three gallons of water for the entire load if you have an efficient enough model. Couple that with the fact that you can clean more dishes at once, and you’ve got some serious savings going on.
Dishwasher vs. hand washing, which one is better as far as energy consumption goes? Surely the machine uses up much more power than a human? Don’t be so sure.
You can’t wash your dishes with cold water. Doing so wouldn’t get them too clean. Your water heater has to put in work to get the water hot enough. This uses up valuable energy that will spell bad news when you get your utility bill in the mail. This is especially true if you have to do multiple dishwashing sessions each day.
Most dishwashers have a heater built-in. It won’t pull from your water heater, which means that it uses up much less power. This being said, it still uses energy.
As long as you have an energy-efficient dishwasher model, however, it will be a little easier on the power than washing dishes by hand. Make sure that you have a full load of dishes ready to go before you run the machine, though.
Heat is a Big Deal
The truth of the matter is heat is needed to kill off bacteria and germs. Your sink water can’t reach the correct temperatures. If it could, it would scald your hands.
One of the biggest benefits of dishwashers is that they can reach up to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The perfect temperature to kick germs to the curb and melt away any stuck-on food.
Sponges are Full of Germs
The germiest place in your home isn’t your toilet, believe it or not. It’s that soggy kitchen sponge that you haven’t replaced in over two weeks. It’s choked full of disgusting bacteria.
Two common culprits found in sponges are E. Coli and salmonella. Both of them are associated with food poisoning. Before you get much more disgusted, take note that there are some bright sides found on the germy surface.
Can You Clean the Sponge?
The answer here is yes. There are ways to keep your sponge bacteria-free. For one, don’t use it to clean up meat juices or food debris. Rinsing your sponge after you’re done washing the dishes isn’t enough to keep germs at bay. You’ve got to sanitize it. Add bleach or detergent into the mix.
You can also sanitize it by throwing it in the microwave for thirty seconds. Allow for an entire minute if the sponge is wet. If none of these methods work and your sponge has gathered a smell, toss it in the garbage.
Rags can get as bacteria-filled as sponges. Throw them into the washing machine with your regular load or whenever they start to gather a smell.
There is a Bright Side
There’s a bright side to all the germs that are associated with handwashing. When you serve your child meals off of a plate you’ve washed by hand, the bacteria exposure will help increase their immune system.
They’ll build up an immunity to many diseases and will experience fewer allergies than other children. If your kids stay well, that means you’ll stay well too.
Which Option is Best for the Dishes?
Both dishwashing and handwashing are fine for your silverware and mugs. You will have to pay attention to instructions, though. Not everything is machine safe. Some dishes can only be placed on the top rack. If you put them on the bottom one, the results will be disastrous.
Using a Dishwasher Saves Tons of Time
If you don’t have a single clean dish in the house and need to start dinner soon, then handwashing is the more efficient option. You can run a little soap through your pots, rinse them out, and get started boiling your noodles.
If your need for dishes isn’t quite as pressing, you can throw them into the machine and forget about them until you’ve got to put them away.
Dishwashers don’t only shave dollars off your utility bills. It can also save you tons of money in detergent costs. Bottles of Joy dish soap don’t go for a lot, but it stacks up if you have to buy it multiple times during the month.
Before you say that you won’t use that much, it’s hard to control that. There’s no pre-determined measurement of soap to put in your sink to clean the dishes so, it’s easy to overdo it.
You can only put so much detergent in your dishwasher. This means that you won’t use quite as much of it, so you won’t burn through it fast.
Dishwasher Do’s and Dont’s
All the benefits of using a dishwasher go down the drain if you don’t do it right. Always check the bottom of the machine for old food. If you neglect to keep it clean, it will splash old food germs all over your dishes.
You want to make sure you have a full load of dishes before you run the machine, but don’t overdo it. This is a good way to ensure that your stuff doesn’t get clean.
You’ll have to send them through the machine a second time, which defeats the purpose of trying to save power and water. It’s easy to fall into this trap when it comes to utensils because they’re so small.
If you go too hard on the detergent, the dishwasher won’t be able to rinse your dishes properly. This leads to, you guess it, having to start the cycle over.
Handwashing Do’s and Don’ts
Handwashing isn’t all bad as long as you follow these do’s and don’ts. Don’t wait until your sponge is a disgusting mess to toss it out. Replace it every week or at least clean it.
Your dishes need hot water to get sparkling clean. While you can’t stand the temperatures that your dishwasher can reach, you can handle a little extra heat by slipping on a pair of gloves.
Staring at a large stack of dishes seems daunting. You’ll spend hours trying to pick away at them unless you use your dishwasher. We’re here to say that you can save as much time by soaking stubborn pots and pans for a little while.
This will loosen up the food, so you don’t have to spend as much time scrubbing away at them. Make sure you don’t use this method for cast iron or wood, however. It will damage them.
Hand Washing Dishes Vs. Dishwasher: Which is Better for You and Your Silverware?
Hand washing dishes vs. dishwasher, which one is the best option for your household? It all depends on how much time you have to hand wash and what lengths your willing to go to save on your energy and water consumption.
If you leave your faucet trickling the entire time you’re scrubbing pots and pans, dishwashers are going to be more efficient every single time. Keeping your home squeaky clean and bacteria-free doesn’t stop with your dishes. We’ve got even more home cleaning tips on our blog.