Eco-friendly dish washing: saving water and energy

We use a lot of water and energy in the kitchen, especially when washing dishes. Fortunately, with the right appliances and practices, you can lead a greener lifestyle while also saving money. What's not to like about that?

Eco-friendly dish washing: saving water and energy

Choosing and using a dishwasher

A major consumer of water and energy in the kitchen is an automatic dishwasher. However, dishwashers can be quite efficient if you select the right model and use it wisely.

  • When purchasing a dishwasher, choose one with a high Energy Rating and Water Rating. In both cases, the higher the number of stars, the better.
  • Make sure the dishwasher has a wide range of settings, including an economy setting. This will give you more options for saving energy. Run the dishwasher on the economy setting whenever possible.
  • Look for models that have a half-load option. Some have two drawers that can be used separately or together. Using a half-load can save over 9 litres (2 gallons) of water per wash!
  • Consider buying machines that can be run on cold water. When hot water is required, the machine heats it, generally using less energy than a conventional water heater. Otherwise, always choose a cycle with a cold rinse, if available.
  • If your dishwasher uses hot water and you have an off-peak hot water option, run the dishwasher at night when it will cost less. Some dishwashers have time-delay programs for this.
  • Choose a dishwasher with an option for "no-heat" or air drying. If your dishwasher does have a heat-drying function, turn it off and let the dishes air dry. This can reduce energy use by more than 10 percent.
  • Use the dishwasher only when it is fully loaded.
  • Rather than rinsing plates before you put them in the machine, which can double your water use, simply scrape excess food into your green garbage bin. Most modern machines will be able to filter the rest.
  • To ensure efficient dishwasher operation, follow the manufacturer's instructions for loading dishes and selecting programs.
  • For optimal operation, clean the filter regularly.
  • To avoid the chemical pollutants in many dish-washing powders and tablets, look for environmentally friendly, preferably plant-based, alternatives. These are available from specialist suppliers and in some supermarkets.

Saving water in the kitchen

We use about eight percent of our annual domestic water supply in the kitchen. These tips will help you reduce your water consumption.

  • If you have an older model dishwasher, consider washing small numbers of dishes by hand.
  • When washing dishes by hand, rinse them in a second sink filled with cold water rather than under a running tap.
  • Wash fruit and vegetables in a bowl of water rather than under a running tap. Reuse the water afterwards by pouring it on your lawn or plants.
  • Defrost food in the fridge rather than under running water.
  • Keep a jug of iced water on the counter so that when you feel like a drink, you won't waste water waiting for the tap to run cold.

You have to wash your dishes no matter what. So why not adopt an eco-friendly approach that can save you money and help the environment!

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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