I grew up in an older home in Duluth that had no dishwasher, so I spent a lot of my school age years washing dishes by hand. It was one of my chores especially as I entered the teenage years, when my appetite naturally increased as well (at least that’s what my parents said!).
After getting married, my then husband and I moved to Michigan where we rented an apartment. The apartment was simple, but it had something very foreign to me in the kitchen – a dishwasher! I fell in love with it! Then when we moved to the Twin Cities a year later, our apartment then had a dishwasher as well, and it was so nice to just load it up, get it going and relax! So much time was saved, and I could really see how especially families larger than mine could benefit from having one.
And so we were now a part of the dishwasher world, and I can say from having had one for several years, if you have one, or can have one, it can save you time AND money!
A dishwasher can save you money?
Absolutely! Many think that using a dishwasher costs more than washing by hand, but this isn’t necessarily true! The main cost of washing dishes is the hot water. There are other factors, but you will save the most money if you follow a few simple tips.
- Only use your dishwasher if full. Wait until you have a full load instead of just a few dishes to run your dishwasher. It will stretch your dollars the furthest. You can still load dishes into your dishwasher as you use them and keep them out of sight.
- Scrape food off of plates before putting into the dishwasher. You don’t need to rinse dishes first – it just uses more water! And most dishwashers are strong enough to remove all those particles. Just use a dry sponge or brush and push food waste into the garbage.
- Use less detergent. You do have to use dishwasher detergent in a dishwasher (you can’t use cheaper dishwashing liquid, for example), but using 2/3 of the recommended amount will typically do the job.
- Lower your hot water heater to 120 degrees. Most of the cost of running your dishwasher is heating the water, and most dishwashers heat water to 140 – 150 degrees, but 120 is the lowest effective amount, so lowering the temp will help save money. Check your dishwasher’s specifications.
- Don’t use the heated dry setting and allow dishes to air dry instead. Just open up the dishwasher after the cleaning cycle. It only takes a little longer this way.
- Avoid peak hours. Many energy companies charge more during peak times like at dinnertime when many people are home. Run your dishwasher only at night or early in the morning. Your dishwasher may have a delay or timer feature to start a full load at night or early in the morning.
- Clean the bottom of your dishwasher in between washes. If there is any debris in there it will reduce the cleaning of the next load.
- Keep the inside of your dishwasher clean. The dishwasher is probably one of the hardest working appliances in the home. Grease, detergent residue and other grimy stains can keep your dishwasher from working at its best, but it should be pretty easy to clean. Scrubbing with some warm soapy water regularly can help, including around the seals. Run a cycle with vinegar and baking soda, too. Check your owner’s manual for cleaning instructions.
- Consider upgrading your dishwasher. Dishwashers today use significantly less water and energy that dishwashers used 20 years ago – about half in many cases. If you have an older dishwasher, consider upgrading to a newer one which will be more efficient and save you money in the long run.
- Check if you qualify for a rebate. If you do purchase a newer dishwasher – specifically an ENERGY STAR certified model, you may qualify for a rebate from your energy provider! For example, Minnesota Energy Resources customers can get a rebate of $30 when purchasing an ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher! (Note that in order to save money and qualify for a rebate, your water heater needs to be fueled by natural gas.)
Overall there are a variety of simple things you can do to save money running your dishwasher. It may not be noticeable right away, but over time it will add up.
Looking for other ways to save money at home? Check out my post “10 Simple Ways to Save Money and Energy at Home.”
Upgrading another appliance in your home? Check with your energy provider for rebates you may qualify for! For more information about rebates available to Minnesota Energy Resources customers, visit their website.
(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% mine.)