AT on... The Dishwasher Debate

AT on... The Dishwasher Debate

Jonathan B.
Oct 3, 2007

Dishes are hard to figure out. Last night, I had friends over for dinner. (We ate roasted chicken with sautéed leeks and spinach. Yum!)

But when I cleared the table, one of my guests asked why I was using the dishwasher instead of filling the sink.

"Oh, that's easy," I said. "Studies prove that dishwashers use less water." It turns out that I should have looked more closely at that study.

The answer, like so many green questions, actually depends on a number of factors:

• Whether you use a super-efficient European dishwasher, like the ones in the study linked above, or an energy- and water-sucking behemoth, like my 1970's-era KitchenAid,
• Whether your idea of clean means "no grease" or "no bacteria,"
• Whether you use a dishpan to rinse and how tolerant you are of cloudy wash- and rinsewater, and
• Whether you use conventional or environmentally friendly dishwasher detergent.

So, what's your take on this question: wash by hand or by machine?

image by MLON via

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