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Do dishwashers save money?

Do dishwashers save money? That’d be a yes.

With a modern dishwasher, you can expect to save a couple of thousand rands a year in water and energy bills compared to washing the dishes by hand.

Imagine a thing that saved you time and work and then went and saved you money too. That’d be quite a thing, wouldn’t it.

Hello, dishwasher.

Automatic dishwashers have been our faithful kitchen companions for over a century. While they may well have been extravagances in days gone by, thanks to advances in modern technology, like energy efficiency, eco-conscious models, and the use of quality dishwasher detergents like Finish Quantum All In One, today they’re far more necessity than luxury.

Yet, oddly enough, there’s still debate about whether they're more efficient (and therefore more cost-effective) than doing the dishes yourself. 100 years later and we’re still debating?

Let’s clear up the facts once and for all by comparing the energy, water, time, and financial stats of the argument, and finding out ‘Are dishwashers more affordable?’

Handwashing versus Dishwasher. The stats you need to know.

Rinsing a couple of dishes under the tap and putting them on the drying rack may feel like an obvious winner. After all, how much energy and water could you possibly use in such a short time? And would it even come close to offsetting the cost of installing a dishwasher?

Compare the numbers though, and there's really no debate on the matter. One thing to keep top of mind throughout this exercise is that we are presupposing proper modern dishwasher use, which means you do not need to rinse your dishes before putting them in the machine. Today’s machines, coupled with dishwasher detergents as advanced as Finish Quantum All In One, require you to only remove food scraps, which you would scrape into the bin (or dog’s bowl).

Let’s look at water usage first.

The biggest discrepancy between washing dishes by hand and running a load in the dishwasher boils down to water usage. The Alliance for Water Efficiency, a global non-profit organisation committed solely to promoting efficient and sustainable water usage, tells us that modern dishwashers use about 15 litres of water per cycle while older models use around 50 litres.

This is still a wide range obviously, yet it is the proverbial drop in the ocean compared to the amount of water used when washing dishes by hand. Kitchen faucets dispense around 9 litres of water per minute, which means you'll surpass the amount a dishwasher uses for a whole load with just a pile of teacups in the sink. And sink water usage when washing can vary wildly, unlike dishwashers, which uses exactly the same amount of water every time.

So how about energy usage?

Environmental protection agencies across the world note that washing dishes by hand uses up to double the energy as using the dishwasher. But the energy saving implications go even further with smart dishwasher use, in that there are more things you can do to ensure peak performance.

For instance, always be sure to run the dishwasher with a full load to get the most out of the electricity and the resultant hot water that you need. There are other tricks that save you more, like only running your machine at off-peak, and therefore less expensive, times.

Furthermore, some of the latest dishwasher models use dedicated sensors and focussed water jets to wash each dish only as much as it needs. You can save even more electricity, and therefore cut down on emissions, by skipping the heated dry cycle. This is because most dishwashers use only enough hot water that it evaporates on its own once you open the door.

So what’s the bottom line? Are dishwashers more affordable?

That’s the crux of the argument, isn’t it? Does this affect the thickness of your wallet?
The numbers are clear, and they are valid in countries around the world, from the US to China to us down here on the foot of Africa.

With a modern dishwasher, you can expect to save a couple of thousand rands a year in water and energy bills compared to washing the dishes by hand.

But remember again. It’s key to remember not to rinse dishes off before you wash them in a dishwasher, as this is money you are pouring down the drain.

Final verdict: When the average cost of a dishwasher and installation can be as low as R10,000, the machine pays for itself in two years, especially if you use an experienced local dishwasher installer that does it correctly first-time round.

Result then. Do dishwashers save money? Yes. QED!