Why you shouldn’t wash your dishes by hand
There’s a common misconception that washing by hand is better for the environment, and even more hygienic than dishwashing — but neither is true. Here are five reasons why you should load up the dishwasher rather than wasting time and water washing dishes by hand.
Dishwashers are less wasteful.
Multiple studies have found that people overuse running water when hand-washing dishes. A 2002 German study found that humans use six times more water than a machine. True, everyone uses different amounts of water when they turn a faucet, so not every person turns the kitchen into a water park. But collectively, humans use significantly more.
Dishwashers don’t spread germs.
The sponges and rags people use to wipe dishware are bacteria havens. A 2013 study by researchers in England found dishcloths and sponges were the filthiest surfaces in the kitchen, with 86% moderately or heavily contaminated with bacteria, including E. coli and staph.
Dishwashers kill more bacteria.
Dishwashers kill more bacteria because they can pump hotter water than our sinks. Dishwashers rinse at around 130-140°F. To prevent scalding, faucets are often capped at a less germicidal 120°F (hand-washing at 140°F would burn your skin in six seconds). The cooler sink water still cleans the dishes but it works less effectively.
Dishwashers use less detergent.
Compared with hand washing, where there’s no control over how much detergent you add, dishwashing again comes out on top— portion-controlled detergent means you use less of it.
Dishwashers nix germs.
When you wash dishes in a dishwasher, you’re also drying them in the dishwasher. This, again, is much more hygienic than hand washing and then drying with a tea towel, which are renowned harbors of germs.