When the whole family is spending more time at home, an endless supply of dirty dishes seems to show up in the sink and in the dishwasher every day.
If you adopt a few energy- and water-efficient habits for dishwashing, however, the extra glasses and plates don’t have to send your electric bill through the roof.
Adjust the water temperature. If your water heater is set at higher than 120 degrees, lower the temperature. Your dishes and laundry will get just as clean at the lower temperature and will use less energy. Some dishwashers automatically raise the water temperature to 140 degrees. If yours does, you can lower it manually.
Use the energy-saving feature. Most dishwashers come with an “eco” setting that conserves up to half of the water and water heating of regular cycles.
Let dishes air dry. You’ll save up to half of the energy of a full cycle if you use the air-dry cycle or turn the dishwasher off before it starts drying the dishes.
Wait until the dishwasher is full before you run it. You’ll waste water and heat if you run it half-full.
Don’t pre-rinse. It’s unnecessary to run hot water over dishes before you load them into the dishwasher. And it’s a waste of water and energy.