This age-old question might not have the answer you expect! In fact, the answer has changed a lot over recent years, especially because of programs like the EPA’s WaterSense. As increasingly water and energy-efficient appliances have become commercially available, the dishwasher has become a contender! But is it enough?!

…We won’t leave you hanging. You’ll know which is better for your water bill – by the end of this post. First, some context: let’s break down the pros and cons of each.

Using a Dishwasher


It saves you a ton of time. Eat, rinse dishes, put them in the dishwasher, run the dishwasher, put dishes away. Boom, done. The EPA estimates that using a dishwasher saves up to 5,000 gallons of water and over $40 dollars each year. Keep in mind, that’s only true if you use an energy-efficient model. Most efficient washers on the market these days only use between four and six gallons of water per load. Compared to the water used by hand washing dishes, that’s a pretty big difference.


Dishwashers aren’t efficient if you don’t use them efficiently. It won’t be efficient if you run it every single time you eat and put a few dishes in. It won’t be efficient at all if you have an outdated machine. If your dishwasher is old or misused, it can’t stay ahead of handwashing quite as easily.

Hand Washing


You’re in control of how much water you use. You’re the one turning the faucet on and off, after all. Admittedly, this means that there will be no reliable consistency in the amount of water you use, but if you can make a dish squeaky clean with three drops of water, then this book is yours. Hand washing your dishes also gives you more control over how clean they get. You can pay special attention to, especially icky specimens.


For one, absolutely nobody likes doing it. It can lead to dry, cracked skin, and it takes a lot of work. The big thing, though, is that it can be incredibly wasteful. An average sink puts out 2.5 gallons of water per second. An average dishwasher uses more than a few seconds per dish.

Multiply how long it takes to wash a single dish by how many dishes you have. Then multiply that number by 2.5. That’s how many gallons of water you could be using to wash your dishes. Yikes.

And the winner is…

…using a dishwasher, by a long shot!

If you’re interested in taking the next steps toward installing an energy-efficient dishwasher in your home, give the talented technicians at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Dallas a call today. We’re happy to get you started.