I remember reading years ago in the The Complete Tightwad Gazette that there wasn’t a large price difference between running your dishwasher and washing dishes by hand. I was thrilled to read this little tidbit, because doing dishes is not my favorite chore. A dishwasher costs between $60-$100 a year to operate and these tips can help you save money and still end up with clean dishes.
- Scrape the food off the plates with a scrubber (you don’t need to use water). Cleaner plates in the dishwasher usually mean you can run the dishwasher on a lower energy cycle like quick wash.
- Use less dishwasher detergent for each load. For the record, you must use dishwasher detergent (and not dish soap – thank you very much Cora). I found that using 2/3 the recommended amount of detergent still gets the dishes clean.
- Only run the dishwasher when it is full. Don’t load it so full that your dishes don’t get clean, but make sure you aren’t running a cycle for a few dishes.
- Don’t use the heated dry setting. Open your dishwasher when the cleaning cycle is finished and allow your dishes to air dry. It takes only a few extra minutes.
- Lower the setting on your hot water heater to 120 degrees. Most of the cost of running a dishwasher comes from heating the water. A lower setting on your hot water heater saves money.
Speaking of dishwashers, my aunt and uncle chose not to put a dishwasher in their house when they built it years ago. They love doing dishes as a family. When I visit, I must admit it is fun to wash dishes together, but I don’t think I could part with my dishwasher at home! What about you?
Photo credit: Kevin McShane