Does Hand Washing Dishes Save Water?
Does hand washing dishes save water? We looked at the research, and today you’re going to learn the definitive answer.
Here are the facts.
1. The two-sink method
If you’re wondering whether your dish washing method is wasteful, a study conducted at the University of Michigan has the answer.
The researchers found that, when using the right method, hand-washing dishes is the most water-efficient way of getting the job done, beating out even the most state-of-the-art dishwashers.
In particular, their research revealed that using a two-sink method – one sink for soaking the dishes in soapy water and another for rinsing them – is the best method for saving water.
In particular, the two-sink method uses just 12% of the water that dishwashers use.
So there you have it.
Does hand washing dishes save water? Absolutely, it does – if you use the two-sink method. (If you want to keep things all natural on top of saving water, we recommend you use the most natural dish soap there is).
That’s not the only reason why hand washing dishes is more efficient than other methods.
Did you know that 93% of all dishwasher owners in the US pre-rinse their dirty dishes before placing them in the dishwasher?
That’s what a Virginia Tech study discovered after surveying over 700 Americans.
The researchers found that pre-rinsing uses up to 25 gallons of water per dish-washing session.
By contrast, the two-sink method requires no pre-rinsing.
And that’s not all.
According to a survey, 54% of dishwasher owners in the US found that some of their dishes come out dirty and only 26% are entirely happy with the performance of their dishwashers.
That means a lot of folks have to hand wash at least some of their dishes right after they’ve washed them in the dishwasher. Talk about wasting water.
By contrast, the two-sink method allows you to get dishes clean the first time.
And there’s more.
3. Non-dishwasher-safe utensils
There’s a whole list of items that cannot be washed in the dishwasher without getting ruined.
Cast iron pots and pans, nonstick pans, wooden utensils, delicate wine glasses, and many other kinds of items will not survive for long if washed in a dishwasher. (Read the ultimate list of items that are not dishwasher-safe in this post).
In other words, oftentimes you have to wash at least some dishes by hand anyway. While you’re at it, why not just wash them all by hand? Developing a habit of hand-washing all the dishes frees you from the risk of putting something in the dishwasher that shouldn’t be washed that way.
And before we let you go...
5. There’s a lot more to consider
Hand washing dishes using the two-sink method comes with other advantages besides water savings.
There are energy savings, too. Think about it:
- Your dishwasher uses energy to dry the dishes with heat. By contrast, air drying the dishes after hand-washing them uses zero energy.
- The dishwasher heats water to an unnecessarily high temperature, which wastes energy in comparison to hand-washing.
- People often run their dishwashers on less than a full load of dishes. The dishwasher uses the same quantity of energy and water regardless of how full it is, and consequently, this common practice increases your “per-dish” energy consumption.
Dishwashers also contribute to indoor air pollution, create lots of non-recyclable waste when they inevitably break, and may damage kitchen cabinets due to escaping moisture, creating further landfill waste.
All of these problems can easily be prevented by simply hand washing dishes.
To learn more about the tradeoffs between using a dishwasher and hand-washing, check out this post.
So, does hand washing dishes save water?
Yes, it does.
And now that you know how to save water when doing the dishes, all you need is a great dish soap.
If you want to wash your dishes with a dish soap that doesn’t leave behind any harsh chemicals that mix in with your food, you came to the right place.
Learn more in this video:
Check out the most natural dish soap there is, made from 6 ingredients you can understand.
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