Even though—for the first time in my adult life—I finally have a dishwasher in my apartment, it doesn’t get used very often. In my efforts to be more sustainable, most of our dishes are washed by hand and set in the drying rack to save water—but it turns out all that extra work isn’t more environmentally-friendly…at all.
According to the New York Times, despite it seeming like hand-washing dishes would save way more water, that’s not the case. Because the typical kitchen faucet produces 1.5 gallons every minute, even a quickie, three-minute wash job could take 4.5 gallons of water. And let’s be real—most times, hand-washing takes way longer than a few measly minutes. The dishwasher, on the other hand, can make an entire load of dirty dishes squeaky-clean with just 3.5 gallons, said Einav Henenson, a deputy area director for the Arizona Department of Water Resources—which, by the way, is something that has drastically improved over the years due to most machines being certified by the government’s Energy Star program.
While the typical kitchen faucet produces 1.5 gallons every minute, the dishwasher can make an entire load of dirty dishes squeaky-clean with just 3.5 gallons.
Basically, the end result of this longtime debate is the best news ever, but there are some general rules to follow to make sure your newfound love of the dishwasher isn’t going to turn wasteful. Peter Brostrom, a water efficiency manager for the California Water Resources Control Board, said you should only use it when it’s completely full. Also, there’s no need to rinse everything off before putting it in the machine. That defeats the purpose of its water-saving method, and it’s more than strong enough to get all that caked-on food off by itself.
Now, the only thing left to think about? Which new hobby you’re going to take up now that your evenings won’t be spent scrubbing away at the sink.
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