Washing the Dishes

We all have that chore that we hate around the house, don’t we? The one that we leave until the last possible moment? The one that we would gladly never do again in this lifetime? I have such a chore, anyways. The household task that I loathe above all others is washing dishes.

When I was young and single and still in university I did not have a dishwasher. I often resorted to tactics such as washing a single bowl because I wanted some cereal and all of the other bowls were dirty. It was not pretty. So when I got married and moved in with my husband, one of the requirements that we had for our first apartment was that it must have a dishwasher. I didn’t want my new marriage to fall apart over my slovenly kitchen habits.

That was 9 years ago now, but not much has changed. I still hate the dishes. I live and die by my dishwasher. Loading and unloading seems a minor price to pay for not having to stick my hands in dishwater. But I wonder, what is the environmental impact of my dishwasher use? How does it compare to washing by hand, all things considered?

I am very relieved to find out that several studies suggest that dishwashers are the greener choice. They use less water on average, and by extension they also use less energy to heat the water. This is especially true for energy efficient dishwashers.

The dishwasher vs. hand washing debate is not a clear-cut victory for the dishwasher, though. Most of the studies don’t take into account the environmental impact of manufacturing and shipping the dishwasher in the first place. The studies also assume that you hand wash your dishes after every meal. And finally, many of the studies are sponsored by dishwasher manufacturers.

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You can catch up with Amber’s adventures, at home and on the road, at Strocel.com.

2 Responses to Washing the Dishes
  1. Saturday Stumbles | iDreamOfClean
    July 10, 2010 | 9:21 am

    […] Good News! :: Using a Dishwasher is the Greener Choice :: 5 Minutes for Going […]

  2. Jen
    July 10, 2010 | 10:04 pm

    I use the dishwasher for mostly all of our dishes. The only things I don’t wash in there our the pots and the knives.