While it’s certainly been established that using a dishwasher is more energy efficient than handwashing, there are still a few things you can do to make use of your appliance as environmentally friendly as possible. Follow these tips, and you’ll be saving money as well as helping out the environment.
Go for the best energy-efficiency rating you can
When looking for a dishwasher, go for the highest energy star rating you can. Most products range between a 1 to 6 star energy rating, yet as technology continues to improve so too does energy efficiency. A higher star rated appliance may be more expensive, but it will save you money in the long run and will have a lower impact on the environment.
Run your dishwasher when it’s full
Wait until your dishwasher is full before you run a cycle. A half empty appliance uses the same amount of energy and water to clean fewer dishes, so it’s obviously not the most efficient way to do things.
If it takes you a day or two to fill up your dishwasher and you’re concerned about odours inside the appliance, you can run a short rinse cycle to freshen things up.
Remember though, proper loading of your dishwasher is important in terms of cleaning efficiency, so be careful not to overload the appliance.
Don’t pre-rinse but simply scrape your dishes
A lot of us are in the habit of rinsing out dishes practically clean before we put them in the dishwasher. This is a bit of a waste of water as modern appliances are powerful enough to blast away food debris and residue. Simply scrape off any leftovers and let the dishwasher do the rest.
Choose the right programme
Many modern dishwashers feature “auto” programmes which use sensors to detect exactly how dirty your dishes are. They can then set the optimal temperature and amount of water for that particular load.
If your appliance doesn’t have sensors, then it’ll probably have standard and intensive programmes. Intensive programmes are great for heavily soiled dishes, but they do use more energy and water, so don’t use these for loads which are only lightly soiled.
A lot of appliances also have an “eco” programme, which will reduce energy and water consumption by 25-30%. These take longer and are only really worthwhile on full loads.
Take advantage of off-peak energy tariffs
Many energy tariffs offer cheaper electricity at certain times of the day, typically during off-peak hours, so be mindful of when you run your dishwasher. This is much easier if your appliance has a delayed-start or timer function.
Armed with these tips, you’ll be saving energy as well as time with your dishwasher.