Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing: Save electricity, water and time?

We have an energy efficient dishwasher that we use efficiently and it only consume 0,15 euro in electricity and 0,024 euro in water per load.

Note that the most important keyword it is EFFICIENTLY. 

Our dishwasher it is an ENERGY EFFICIENT APPLIANCE that we use USE EFFICIENTLY by learning what cycle consumes the less energy and water.

For us it is a much better option to use the dishwasher rather than washing the dishes by hand because: 

– We are saving a considerable amount of time every month.

– We are also saving water.

– Using the dishwasher is not significantly increasing our electricity costs.

Still, every case is different so we are going to show how you can find out if you are saving money, time and effort by using the dishwasher or if it makes more sense for you to clean your dishes by hand.

Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing: Electricity consumption

– Dishwasher –

Our dishwasher, like any other dishwasher, has several cycle options. 

We have measured the electricity usage of each cycle using a plug in power meter. This way we have found out what cycle is the most economic.The results are displayed on the table below.

Appliance electricity usage

If you would also like to measure the power consumption of your dishwasher, have a look to the article where we show how to use a plug in power meter.

Since we learnt that the most economic it is the ‘Eco’ cycle, we are using this cycle every single time. It takes 3,5 hours to complete the cycle, but we leave it working overnight so this is not an issue for us.

– Hand washing –

But, how much electricity would we be consuming by heating the water needed to wash our dishes by hand? 

Well, first we need to know how much water we are using for cleaning the dishes by hand and then calculate how much energy in kWh our boiler uses to heat that amount of water.

By washing the dishes by hand and measuring the water consumption, we know that we use 14 litres of hot water to clean the same amount of dishes that we can fit on our dishwasher. 

It is difficult to find out how much does it cost to heat up 1 litre of water but out of doing some research we estimate that it takes 0,05 kWh.

As we are paying 0,217 euro per kWh, that means that it does cost us 0.1519 euro to heat up 14 litres of water.

Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing


Energy wise, it does cost us the same to clean the dishes by hand or by using our dishwasher. 

Even assuming that we are using the dishwasher 20 times a month (this estimation takes in consideration vacations) we are saving only 0,5 cents a year by using the dishwasher.

Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing: Water consumption

– Dishwasher –

We have measured the amount of water needed by our dishwasher to complete a cycle. 

To find out this information, we just started a cycle and on our water meter we have checked the amount of water consumed by the dishwasher from start to finish. 

As we know that we are paying 2 euro per cubic meter of water use, we can easily calculate the water cost. The results are shown on the table below.

Standard Vs Eco cycle

We have an efficient dishwasher that uses very little water. 

If you would also like to measure how much water your dishwasher is using, have a look to this article where we show how to read a water meter.

Also, if you want to calculate the water cost but you are not sure how, start by having a look to this article where we explain what a cubic meter of water is.

– Hand washing –

Now we need to know how much water, hot an cold, we are using to clean by hand the same amount of dishes. 

For that, we will also check on our water meter the amount of water consumed from start to finish.

The results are that we are consuming 12 litres of cold water and 14 litres of hot water to hand wash the dishes. Let’s not that we have tried to use as little water as possible.

Hand Washing

Water wise, it does cost us just an extra 3 cents to clean the dished by hand.

Assuming that we are using the dishwasher 20 times a month (this estimation takes in consideration vacations) we are saving 7,2 euro a year on water by using the dishwasher.

Most importnatly, from the environmental point of view, we are saving 220 litres of water per month, or 2640 litres of water per year.


Water wise, we are saving water and money by using the dishwasher rather than washing the dishes by hand.

Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing: Time consumption

– Dishwasher –

It takes us around 5 min to load the dirty dishes to the dishwasher and another 5 minutes to unload them. This is, a total of 10 minutes per load.

– Hand washing –

To clean that same load of dishes by hand, and then put back them back to their place, it takes us around  30 minutes.


As we are using the dishwasher almost once a day, that means that by using the dishwasher we are saving a total of 20 minutes per day that we can use for other activities. 

By estimating that we use the dishwasher 20 times per month (this estimation takes in consideration vacations), we can calculate a total saving of 400 minutes (or 6,6 hours) per month by using the dishwasher instead of cleaning the dishes by hand.

This is:

– We are saving 6,6 hours per month or,..

– We are saving 80 hours per year, well over three full days, by using the dishwasher.

Time used washing dishes

Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing: Supplies consumption

– Dishwasher –

We use one dishwasher tablet per load that costs around 0,13 euro per unit. 

Also, every month we need to use some dishwasher care liquid to clean the dishwasher and each bottle does cost us around 2,5 euro.

– Hand washing –

The dish washing liquid does cost us around 2,5 euro per litre. Also we need a dish washing sponge that it cost us around 0,3 euro per unit. 

Assuming that we are using 2 sponges per month and 1 litre of dish washing liquid, washing the dishes by hand does cost us around 3 euro a month.

Assuming that we use the dishwasher 20 times per month (this estimation takes in consideration vacations), using the dishwasher does cost us around 5 euro in supplies.


From the supplies perspective, the difference between hand washing or using the dishwasher it is nearly negligible.

Supplies cost


From the direct costs perspective (water and electricity), it does nearly cost us he same to wash the dishes by hand or using the dishwasher.

Conclusion table

Still, two other major factors need to be taken in consideration:

– The cost of having to purchase an energy efficient dishwasher, which is approximately 700 euro

– The time saved by not washing the dishes by hand, which is approximately 6,5 hours a month.

Even though 700 euro seems like a big cost, if we assume that the dishwasher will last us for 5 years, using the dishwasher is taking out of our budget only around 12 euro per month.


Using the dishwasher does cost us more money than if we would be washing the dishes by hand. Approximately an extra 13,5 euros per month.

Still, we consider that in our case, those 6,5 hours that we save every month by using the dishwasher are worth more to us than those 13,5 euro per month that we would be saving by washing the dishes by hand

That time is better spent playing with our children, relaxing or writing this article.


If you are looking for tips and advice on how to save some electricity, have a look to this video that we have prepared about this very same topic.

All our videos can be found in YouTube, in both English and Spanish languages.

Additionally, if you are looking for water saving opportunities but you don’t know where to start, use our water usage calculators to become aware of your water consumption, the water costs and the potential savings.

Washing machine electricity usage calculator
Washing machine
Water tap water usage calculator
Water tap
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Shower head
Toilet water usage calculator

Water conservation - Save and conserve water

Water conservation can be defined as the decision and the act of using less water

Water conservation both benefit you and the environment 

The act of saving and conserving water does benefit you because you will be paying less on your water bills. 

And it also does benefit the environment because conserving water prevents any unnecessary waste of natural resources.

Now, at individual level it may not look worth to try to save a few litres or gallons here or there. 

Still, every little counts and if hundreds or thousands of us do save a little every time, it will make an important contribution towards conserving our natural resources.


For example, if 9000 households would manage to save as little as 10 Watts per hour (0,01 kWh) worth of electricity per day, that would add to 32850 Kilowatt hour (kWh) per year. 

That is a considerable amount of electricity, but let’s add additional perspectives for clarity:

  • Assuming an average cost of 0,18 euro (or dollars, or pounds, or any other currency) we would collectively be saving nearly 6000 euro per year.
  •  To produce 32850 kWh of electricity it is necessary to use around 17 metric tons of coal or 56 barrels of residual fuel oil.
Have a look to this page for more information about the amount of resources needed to produce electricity.

In any case it is clear that small energy savings do really count when looking into the bigger picture.

We hope that you have found the information on this page informative and of value. 

If so, please consider to share or subscribe to our newsletter.

We dedicate a considerable amount of time and effort to create content and your support and engagement will encourage us to keep moving forward.

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