It took a professional organizer standing in my kitchen to make me appreciate my dishwasher.
I’m guessing we shied away from the third most expensive appliance in the kitchen because the dishwasher/hand wash debate can be a bit convoluted (water usage, energy usage, soap usage, etc.) and like most online debates, full bias and distortion. On the hand wash side you’ll hear, “Dishwashers use 8 gallons of water!” Or 5. Or even 15.
Oh, but wait!
Leave the sink running and dishwasher nuts will shout, “That’s 2 gallons you’ve just wasted!” Or 3. Or 27. Leaving you with about 28 seconds to get that scrambled egg off your cast iron pan.
I hand wash: anything I don’t want to break, my nonstick sauté pan, and anything featuring egg yolks. I collect or use the water as it turns warm (either by rinsing my coffee filter or filling the Brita). Then I plug the sink, run the water a few seconds more and toss in some soap. When I rinse a dish, the water goes into the sink and that’s how the sink gets filled. I’m usually finished before the sink gets half full.
The one problem with this method is that I’m using hot water the entire time. You could rinse in cold water, saving on energy usage. But I’m not a fan. I like to sear the food off my dishes.
Everything else: in the dishwasher. It’s six years old and probably uses 5 gallons a load on the hippy “eco” setting. We also air dry but that’s pretty easy in the clima seco of Albuquerque.
And unless you want to face this…
…I would scrape as much stuff as you can into the composter or trash. Despite the latest and greatest in dishwasher design, chunks of food will find their way past the filters and you’ll end up with a clog. Like I did yesterday when I started this post. I’ll probably post on it next week. Gross.
(UPDATE: And, if you wait to run your dishwasher right when you go to bed, you’ll miss the peak power usage hours. That’s good, right?)
Bottom line: be smart with the water and do what’s best for you. Save your water-usage guilt for showers.
I like this link: http://www.nrdc.org/living/stuff/great-dishwasher-debate.asp