Hand dish-washing

Recent research has demonstrated that using a full dishwasher saves energy, time and money — and generally produces cleaner results — than hand-washing.

The study was carried out by Rainer Stamminger and his team at the University of Bonn in 2003. The team concluded that1:

  • It took about 15 minutes to load and unload a very full dishwasher with ‘140 pieces’ – but about 80 minutes to wash them by hand
  • The dishwashers typically heated up 15-22 litres of water; the manual washer-uppers between 30 and 440 litres to do the same job
  • The dishwasher on its normal setting used 1kWh of energy to do the task (kWh on the intensive setting). The manual washers used between 1 and 16.6kWh
  • In overall cleaning performance the dishwashers on ‘normal’ setting scored 3.3 and 4.0, and with ‘Intensive’ programmes 4.3 and 4.4 (with 5 being the cleanest on a 1-5 scale). The manual cleaning performance varied between 2.5 to 4.5

Work has continued to make dishwashers even more efficient since 2003, and even more energy can be saved by using our energy-saving tips.

1 Rainer STAMMINGER, Ricarda BADURA, Gereon BROIL, Susanne DÖRR, An- ja ELSCHENBROICH: University of Bonn, Germany (2003): A European Comparison of Cleaning Dishes by Hand