Hand Washing Versus the Dishwasher

Hand Washing Versus the Dishwasher

Taryn Williford
Jun 22, 2012

There are plenty of reasons why you might be living a diswasher-free life. Your current home may not have one or perhaps you are simply trying to cut back on energy usage. In any case, you might be wondering how cleaning plates without a dishwasher, by good old-fashioned hand-washing, stacks up in terms of cleanliness. Well, here's your answer.

In the July issue of Real Simple's print edition, a reader asks if hand-washing dishes gets them as clean as a dishwasher does.

To kill most of the bacteria on a dirty dish, water must reach a scalding 140° Fahrenheit. That temperature is easily reached in a dishwasher, but in a sink, it's nearly impossible. Hot-water heaters are typically set at 120 degrees to prevent burns, and most people can't stand to keep their hands in a stream of water that hot for more than a few minutes.

So while you might have a soft spot for film cameras or the smell of a paperback book, when it comes to washing dishes, high-tech beats low. To completely sanitize your dishes, a dishwashing appliance is key. If you don't have room or cash for a full-sizer, consider a countertop dishwasher — some models are less than $250.

Of course, you might own a few pieces that aren't safe for the dishwasher. In that case, it's fine to just hand wash them with the hottest water you can stand. Real Simple also suggests a quick bath in a bleach-water bath (1 gallon of water plus 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach) to get everything properly sanitized.

(Image: Shutterstock)

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