For those of us who spend a lot of time in the kitchen (which is generally most of us – especially if we have a big family!), we might find ourselves asking the question, “is it better to use a dishwasher or handwash our dishes?”. From figuring out when is the best time to run the dishwasher and how long a dishwasher cycle takes, to understanding how much electricity a dishwasher uses, there are many misconceptions about just what is the best way to get this every-day kitchen task done – but thankfully, we’ve got the answer.
Are dishwashers better than handwashing for sanitisation?
There is a difference between cleaning the dishes and sanitizing them. The former is removing food grime off the surface of the dish, usually with the help of dish soap and manual washing. Sanitization is the act of reducing the bacteria on surfaces and this can only happen when dishes are exposed to high heat, usually over 65°C. Some dishwashers offer settings or cycles that can provide this level of heat to properly tackle your dishes.
Because of the need for high temperatures, trying to sanitize dishes when hand washing can be difficult, as your hands will not be able to withstand that type of heat. If you’re wondering if washing dishes in cold water alone sanitizes them, the answer is no. That said, a good scrub means they will still be clean. You can find out more on why the hygiene benefits are second to none with a dishwasher, as it does not rely on germ infested sponges and can reach significantly higher temperatures.
What’s more efficient – dishwasher or handwashing?
One of the major advantages of a dishwasher is there is less clean up time needed after breakfast, lunch and dinner. Depending on the length of the cycle, your dishwasher may be able to wash a full load of dishes in just 30 minutes. Obviously, this depends on the number of people in your household and the size of the pile of your dirty dishes – but generally, that’s more time doing what you love, rather than spending it in the kitchen.
Not only does a dishwasher help to save valuable time and effort when it comes to cleaning up (especially after a dinner party or family get together), but it also helps the environment. Using a dishwasher is more efficient than hand washing as it saves more water and electricity – not to mention elbow grease – than if you were to stand at the sink laboring over your dishes.
In terms of water consumption, it’s hard to have a definitive answer, especially because people have different washing habits depending on their home. However, on average, running a dishwasher uses 12 litres per cycle, while handwashing the same number of dishes will likely waste 49 litres of water! It could be useful to get a detailed overview of your water consumption. Our handy water consumption tool can help here!
You can also use our Finish® Jet-Dry Rinse Aid Original or Finish® Jet-Dry® Quantum Rinse Aid and put your dishwasher on an eco-wash. Eco-washes reuse the water in the machine, delivering clean dishes without water wastage. To save water further, remember that there’s no need to rinse your plates before putting them in the dishwasher – simply scrape off the food and off you go!
Just remember – never use hand soap in the dishwasher or you’ll risk an overflow of water from the appliance to the floor. Only use specially formulated detergents like Finish® for the best results.