There has long been an argument over whether it is better to wash your dishes by hand or to put them in a dishwasher. Advocates for handwashing will say that it is an easier option, especially if there is a small load. Those that love their dishwasher will highlight misconceptions about energy and water use. We love seeing people go for the more natural and mindful approach of using our fabric ribbon scrubbies with the best raw dish soap. But let’s look at the evidence in this battle of dishwasher vs. handwashing dishes.
Why are dishwashers such a popular choice for washing dishes?
There was a time when people loved being able to use a dishwasher because it was a luxury or convenience. Many people live without a machine until they can afford one or rent a place with one installed. Today, a wave of modern devices makes dishwashers more common and more effective than older models.
There used to be concerned about the impact of dishwashers on the environment. The fear was that we were wasting water and energy with these intensive cycles compared to filling up a sink a couple of times a day. These fears aren’t so justified now that there are energy-saving cycles. Also, there is a good chance that large households washing dishes by hand use more water from the faucet to handle their needs. The more significant environmental issue is with the chemicals used in the machine, but there are natural alternatives that aren’t a threat to our waterways.
Another possible benefit of choosing to use a dishwasher is hygiene. The high temperatures of a dishwasher do a better job of sterilizing dishes than the water from the faucet. The cycles should also remove and rinse away stubborn dirt and grime. Just remember that the hygiene rating of a dishwasher decreases if it gets stale and smelly inside. You can learn more about cleaning a dishwasher with vinegar here.
However, dishwashers can be a problem in single-person households. It can take time to fill it up enough to be effective. Hand washing in small loads in an evening could be more practical but are there other advantages?
What is the possible benefit of handwashing dishes rather than using a dishwasher?
There are potential benefits in handwashing your dishes, as long as there aren’t too many and you aren’t wasting water. If you like going to bed with a feeling of accomplishment and knowing that the house is clean, washing up the evening’s dishes can be advantageous. You can put your mind on this task, focus on the rewarding action, and make more of it. Maybe multitask by listening to some music or an audiobook at the same time. It isn’t quite the same to load up a dishwasher with the expectation that the load will be finished when it is time for breakfast.
You can also ensure that your hand-washing experience is more effective and enjoyable with the right soaps and scrubbers. A nicely scented dish soap and an attractive fabric ribbon scrubbie can add to the sensory experience of getting a good clean.
What about rinsing dishes by hand before loading them into the machine?
Some people believe it is better to rinse or soak dishes a little before putting them in a dishwasher. You will loosen tough dirt and baked-on grease, so there is a better chance of a sparkling result in the machine. However, most modern devices should be more than capable of dealing with heavier loads. Rinsing dishes can be an unnecessary waste of water. It is best to pick one approach. Either go all-in with that mindful hand-washing process or stick with loading and unloading the dishwasher.
Dishwasher vs. handwashing: which should you choose?
In the end, it is up to you which method you use. Many busy households with many occupants will save time, water, and energy with an efficient modern dishwasher. But, many single occupants will find dishwashers a waste when they can make small, consistent efforts by hand. Find what works for you.