Washing the dishes doesn’t have to be a major indoor water waster. Use our water saving tips below to reduce your water use.
Washing dishes is a daily chore that has the potential to waste a lot of water. Water- and energy-efficient dishwashers use much less water than washing dishes by hand does. If you do hand wash, there are steps you can take to use less and stop wasting water.
Get a dishwasher. They almost always use less water than washing by hand, especially with water- and energy-efficient models (just make sure to only run the dishwasher when it’s full). Hand washing one load of dishes can use 20 gallons of water, whereas water- and energy-efficient dishwaters use as little as 4 gallons. Over time, that’s a big difference!
Maintain your dishwasher. Check regularly for clogs, broken parts and other problems.This will help save you water by cleaning your dishes more effectively. If you need to replace it, get a water- and energy-efficient model to save even more water.
Learn more about ENERGY STAR water- and energy-efficient dishwashers.
When you do wash by hand, try using a little water to get your sponge soapy and wet, then turning off the faucet until you’re ready to rinse a bunch of dishes at once. Better yet, plug the sink or get a tub to wash dishes in so you don’t need to let the water run.
Use two sinks, if you have a double basin. Fill one part way with hot water for washing and the other with cold, for rinsing.
Don’t pre-rinse dishes under running water. Scraping the dishes is enough, especially if you wash them before the food dries.
Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage more and scrape food residue off plates before you wash them. Even better, compost those scraps. Learn more about kitchen composting.