Dishwasher Tips

  • According to researchers, a load of dishes cleaned in a dishwasher requires 37 percent less water than washing dishes by hand. However, if you fill the wash and rinse basins instead of letting the water run, you'll use half as much water as a dishwasher would.
  • 80 percent of the energy your dishwasher uses is for heating water. Remember-by saving water, you're also helping your city's wastewater facility save on the energy used to pump it, treat it, and clean it. Up to 50 percent of a typical city's energy bill goes to supplying water and cleaning it after use!
  • When you buy a dishwasher (also known as a dish storage device!), select one with a booster heater that raises incoming water to 140° F or higher. The higher temperature melts dishwasher soap and cleans those greasy dishes. Booster heating allows you to save energy by setting your home water heater to 120° F. Look for an energy efficient dishwasher that features air or overnight dry settings. Using these features can save up to 10 percent of your dishwashing energy costs.
  • Avoid using the "rinse hold" setting on your dishwasher. This feature uses 3 to 7 more gallons of hot water for each use. Never use "rinse hold" for just a few dirty dishes. Instead consider the old-fashioned hand wash/rinse basin option.
  • Use short wash cycles for everything but the dirtiest dishes. They use less energy and work just as well.
  • If your dishwasher has an air-dry setting, choose it instead of heat-drying. You'll cut your dishwasher's energy use 15 to 50 percent. If there's no air-dry setting, turn the dishwasher off after its final rinse and open the door. The dishes will dry slowly, but without using any extra electricity!
  • Many newer dishwashers do not require you to rinse dishes off before loading. If you prefer to pre-rinse use cold water on your dishes before loading them-but don't waste water by letting it run continuously.
  • If you have a choice, install your dishwasher away from your refrigerator. The dishwasher's heat and moisture increase your refrigerator's energy consumption. If you have to put them next to each other, place a sheet of foam insulation between them.
  • Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer's recommendations on water temperature; many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater to a lower temperature.
  • Scrape, don't rinse, off large food pieces and bones. Soaking or prewashing is generally only recommended in cases of burned-on or dried-on food.
  • Be sure your dishwasher is full, but not overloaded.
  • Don't use the "rinse hold" on your machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3 to 7 gallons of hot water each time you use it.
  • Let your dishes air dry; if you don't have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open a little so the dishes will dry faster.