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Gone are the days of loud, inefficient dishwashers that leave your dishes only partially clean. The new generation of dishwashers has been designed to be quiet, environmentally friendly, and so strategic in their cleaning ability you don’t even need a prerinse. As if those reasons aren’t enough, we’ve got five more that should seal the deal. Add these to your argument for why you want—no, need—a dishwasher right this very minute.
1. Hand washing won’t make dishes cleaner.
Sure, you can try to turn your faucet’s knob all the way so the water that pours out is almost scalding hot. (Be sure to wear your rubber gloves!) But these high temperatures still won’t be enough to get your dishes really clean. Water needs to reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit to effectively kill germs, and most hot water heaters aren’t set that high—and for good reason. Such a high setting would cost you more money on your energy bill and would be dangerous in households with kids who might not yet be pros at regulating water temperatures.
2. Sponges are gross.
They can also be downright dangerous, carrying food-borne illnesses, bacteria, and cold and flu germs. Studies at the University of Arizona found that every square inch of your dish sponge contains approximately 10 million bacteria—that’s way more disgusting than even your toilet seat, and you wouldn’t bring that into contact with the dishes that hold your food. While there are temporary fixes to clean or disinfect sponges, no one can do them every single day. And why risk it?
3. You’ll save money every month using an energy-efficient dishwasher.
So, maybe you’re not using your dishwasher because it’s old, loud, and costly when it comes to utilities. But when you swap out a pre-1994 diswhasher for an Energy Star-certified replacement, you’ll start saving up to $35 dollars per year on your electric bill! And compared with simply washing by hand, the energy-efficient washer will save you more than $40 a year on utilities. Which leads us to our next point….
4. You’re wasting a ton of water.
Except when you’re actively rinsing something, the ongoing stream of water from your sink faucet goes mostly unused. As Jonah Schein, the technical coordinator for homes and buildings in the EPA’s WaterSense program, explained in an interview with The Washington Post: “In order to wash the same amount of dishes that can fit in a single load of a full size [energy-efficient] dishwasher and use less water, you would need to be able to wash eight full place settings and still limit the total amount of time that the faucet was running to less than two minutes.” Yikes! While we’ve been known to speed clean from time to time, we’re not that good.
5. You could be doing something else.
Finally, more than simply wasting just water, hand washing dishes is a chore that eats up valuable time. Think about how long you spend each day washing your dishes by hand. An hour? And you’re not even getting them completely clean. We can think of plenty of other around-the-house DIY projects we’d rather be doing instead—and which we’d be free to pursue after loading up the dishwasher and starting a cycle. Just some food for thought.