How Much Water Does A Dishwasher Use?

Many of us dread having to wash the dishes after cooking a nice meal. But is a dishwasher the solution?

Sure, it saves us time and effort, but does it use too much water?

Which is better for the environment, washing dishes by hand, or letting the dishwasher take care of it all?

How Much Water Does A Dishwasher Use?

These are the very questions that this article is going to answer.

And we’ll cover everything else you need to know along the way, answering all of your most frequently asked questions on the subject.

By the end of the article, when we get to the wrap up, you will be in a position to decide whether or not it’s worth investing in a dishwasher in the long run.

Please feel free to scroll ahead to any section that jumps out at you. Here goes…

How Much Water Does A Dishwasher Use?

We all know just how much more efficient a dishwasher is at cleaning crockery and cutlery compared to washing by hand.

But the question is, whether it’s just as efficient in terms of its water consumption.

Given the large size of a dishwasher relative to the size of a standard kitchen sink, you can be forgiven for assuming that dishwashers use significantly more water than washing dishes in the sink.

However, it turns out that washing your dishes in a dishwasher actually uses less water than washing dishes by hand.

(We discuss this topic in more depth in our article titled “Do Dishwashers Save Water?” which you can access on this link.)

That said, the age of your dishwasher will affect the amount of water that it uses…

Dishwashers produced prior to 1994 would use as much as 9 to 14 gallons of water per load.

However, the good news is that these days, most household and commercial dishwashers are Energy Star rated, which means they have to meet certain standards of energy and water consumption.

And, we’re pleased to report, the new standard sized Energy Star rated dishwashers typically only use between 2 and 4 gallons of water per load.

Which Is Better For The Environment, Washing The Dishes By Hand, Or Letting The Dishwasher Take Care Of It All?

So, we’ve now established that new standard sized Energy Star rated dishwashers typically only use between 2 and 4 gallons of water per load.

But exactly how does that compare to washing dishes by hand?

It transpires that washing dishes by hand sends more than 2 gallons of water down the drain per minute.

Why Using A Dishwasher Saves Water Compared To Washing By Hand

The reasons for this are twofold.

First off, when washing dishes by hand in the sink, you often have to let the faucet run for quite some time for the water to become sufficiently hot.

And this is important because, as we discuss in our other article titled “Can You Wash Dishes In Cold Water” which you can access on this link, using hot water makes cleaning dishes significantly easier and more effective.

And secondly, once you have washed several dishes in the kitchen sink, the water may become tepid, which means you may have to refill the sink in order to get a hotter supply of water.

How Much Water Can A Dishwasher Save Over The Course Of A Year?

If you were washing all of your dishes by hand after every meal you cook, rather than only using a dishwasher once the dishwasher has a full load, you could stand to save up to a whopping 5,000 gallons of water per year if you were to switch over to an Energy Star rated dishwasher.

Should You Invest In A Dishwasher?

Should You Invest In A Dishwasher?

Therefore, in terms of water conservation, there is a significant argument for switching from washing your dishes in the sink to using a dishwasher.

But that’s just one of the benefits. You also save time and energy, and you get much cleaner dishes to boot.

But of course there are also drawbacks. A standard sized dishwasher could take up significant space in your kitchen.

What’s more, using a dishwasher also means using electricity, whereas washing your dishes in your sink seemingly does not.

However, it’s important to note at this point, the hot water from your faucet requires electricity to run your home’s water heater.

So the amount of electricity used by a dishwasher is comparable to the amount used by your water heater to get hot water from your faucet.

So, taking all these factors into consideration, we would go so far as to argue that the decision whether you should invest in a dishwasher is something of a no-brainer.

The benefits generally by far outweigh the drawbacks.

If you have the space in your kitchen for a dishwasher, you should get one. Even if it means you have to invest in a smaller, slimline one.

What Should I Look For In A Dishwasher?

Now that we’ve established that you ought to invest in a dishwasher, we still have one more important point to make on this topic…

You should invest in an Energy Star rated dishwasher if you want to make significant savings in both the water consumption and the energy consumption.

Where Can I Get An Energy Star Certified Dishwasher?

There are several online retailers that have Energy Star certified dishwashers in their product offering. Here are some useful links:

What Brands To Look For

Here follows a list of dishwasher brands that make Energy Star certified dishwashers:

  • GE
  • Whirlpool
  • Bosch
  • Samsung
  • LG
  • Frigidaire
  • KitchenAid

Wrap Up

So, as we have now established, a dishwasher does not use as much water as washing dishes by hand, and uses between 2 and 4 gallons per load.

So, if you have the space and the budget to get yourself a dishwasher, it will be well worth it.

And if you do decide to get one, be sure that it’s Energy Star rated to save on water, energy, and bills.

Mike Noren