Washing dishes by hand vs Dishwasher – (Which is Better?)

Washing dishes by hand vs Dishwasher: Discover Is Dishwasher Better Than Hand Washing? The Dishwasher vs Hand Washing answer needs to be cut and dry. Either option is right for your household, depending on several factors.

Washing dishes by hand vs Dishwasher


  • Dishwasher: Faster, uses less water, higher electricity.
  • Hand washing: Slower, more water, no electricity.

This article will discuss the pros and cons of both options so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to washing dishes in your home.

Washing dishes by hand vs Dishwasher – Differences at a Glance

Washing dishes by hand is slower, uses more water, and less energy, but it’s cost-effective upfront. A dishwasher is faster, more water and energy-efficient, but it’s an initial investment with maintenance costs.

Here are some differences between using a dishwasher and hand-washing dishes:

Dishwasher and Hand Washing Differences
CriteriaDishwasherHand Washing
TimeTypically takes longer to load and unload, but the actual washing time is shorterGenerally takes longer overall, as each dish must be washed individually
Water usageGenerally uses less water than hand washing, especially if the dishwasher is Energy Star certifiedTypically uses more water than a dishwasher, as each dish must be washed individually
Energy usageUses more electricity than hand washing, but can be more efficient if you run a full loadRequires no electricity, but can be more time consuming and can lead to higher water heating costs
Cleaning effectivenessCan effectively clean dishes if the dishwasher is loaded properly and the correct detergent is usedCleaning effectiveness depends on how thoroughly each dish is scrubbed
SanitationHigh temperatures in the dishwasher can help sanitize dishesSanitation depends on how thoroughly each dish is washed and how often water is changed
MaintenanceRequires regular cleaning and maintenance, including cleaning the filter, checking the spray arms, and cleaning the interiorMinimal maintenance required, but may require replacement of sponges, brushes, and dish soap
CostCan be more expensive upfront and may require repairs or replacements over timeCan be less expensive upfront, but may cost more in water and energy usage over time
Environmental impactCan be more environmentally friendly than hand washing if you have an Energy Star certified dishwasher and run full loadsCan lead to higher water and energy usage, which can be less environmentally friendly

Dishwashers – Advantages and Disadvantages

Washing dishes by hand vs Dishwasher

Advantages of Dishwashers

A dishwasher’s primary benefit is convenience; you can quickly fill it up, press a button and let it run for 15-20 minutes, freeing up your time for other essential tasks. To save energy, most modern dishwashers have sensors that detect how dirty the water is and only heat enough to clean the dishes efficiently for large family.

Many dishwashers also feature built-in sterilizing settings to ensure maximum hygiene. Additionally, since you don’t have to scrub hard while using a dishwasher, they will extend the lifespan of both pots and pans and glassware by reducing scratches to the surface.

So we find some pros here like:

  • Saves time: It takes about 10 minutes to put dishes in and remove them from the machine.
  • Reduces water consumption: It is estimated that a dishwasher consumes about 12-14 liters of water per day.
  • Washes dishes better: The machine operates at a temperature of 45, 70, and 90 degrees, depending on the program. The high temperature makes it easier to cope with difficult contaminants.
  • Does not harm the skin of the hands: There is no need to contact with water and detergents.
You may also read: Is a Vitamix Dishwasher Safe?

Disadvantages of Dishwashers

Dishwashers can be expensive and add a high cost to the monthly budget when frequently running, which doesn’t justify their convenience. However, there are some dishwashers under $400under $600.

They also require access to both the hot water supply and drain connection which is not easy or even impossible if the kitchen sink doesn’t have them installed already or updating plumbing is expensive from an installation standpoint.

Finally, some items are too delicate for dishwashing machines because of their shape or material; these fragile items must be washed by hand every time before loading them into a dishwasher.

So, in summary, we can say these are the main cons of a dishwasher: 

  • Consumes electricity: The electricity consumption of a dishwasher is 0.8 kW per hour. For comparison, an electric kettle consumes 1.5 to 2.5 kW per 1 hour washing.
  • Requires expensive consumables: It is best to use special tablets, which include salt to soften water for a dishwasher. Tablets are enough for a year of use.
  • “Forces” to save dishes: Sometimes, you must wait two days for the car to load the dishes fully. Good news: some models have a half-load function or special sensors that count the weight of the dishes.
  • Only suitable for some cookware. 

What Can Not Go to the Dishwasher? 

We shared an article on this earlier. You can see it here

You may also read: Can You Wash Baby Bottles in the Dishwasher?

Hand Washing – Advantages and Disadvantages

Washing dishes by hand vs Dishwasher

Advantages of Hand washing

Handwashing dishes allows you to inspect each piece to remove best any food bits that are stuck on, making it hygienically cleaner than just running in the dishwasher, hands down (no pun intended).

It also requires minimal setup: all you need is running water (hot if possible) and a sink with either soap or detergent powder+sponge/scrubber, brush/cloth like towel, etc. Handwashing uses much less water than dishwashers since machines require no reserve tank – all needed hot water goes straight away down the pipes when used manually.

The biggest advantage, of course, is affordability – since no devices are involved, zero additional costs apply and save those ones required by basic laundry products (soaps, etc.).  So over all we can say these are the main Benefits of washing dishes by hand :

  • Electricity is not wasted.
  • Dishwashing detergent is cheaper than dishwasher detergent.
  • You can wash any dishes, including dishes made of crystal, wood, etc.

Disadvantages of Hand Washing Dishes 

The most obvious disadvantage of handwashing dishes has got be time – manual cleaning takes infinitely more effort compared o machine based one, therefore, requires longer periods during later parts of the day.

Usually after dinner, for example, compared to the pressing button function mentioned above. Additionally, the human factor introduced here often leads to poorer cleaning results and higher risks of getting injured due to virus-infected germs transferred through direct contact with skin.

So, we find some Cons of washing dishes by hand:

  • It takes a lot of time and effort: You can spend 40 minutes or more a day washing dishes.
  • A lot of water is wasted: If you wash the dishes with your hands, it takes from 60 to 100 liters per day.
  • The skin of the hands may become irritated: Even if you use hypoallergenic dishwashing detergents, skin irritation may occur due to prolonged exposure to hands in water.

Things to Keep in Mind When Washing Dishes by Hand:

It is necessary to wash off the foam from the dishes carefully.

  • Wash dishes only with products intended for this purpose. Other cleaning products contain strong chemicals that can be harmful to human health.
  • For pans with non-stick coating, do not use products with abrasive particles and hard sponges, which can damage the surface.
  • If you have sensitive skin on your hands, wear gloves when washing dishes.
  • If the contamination in the non-stick pan is not strong, then it is enough to use dishwashing detergent or soap and a soft sponge. When using strong chemicals and iron sponges, you can lose the coating.

For other finishes, it is also important to read labels, use acceptable water temperatures, and avoid abrasive cleaners. If you decide to use a dishwasher, learn how to load it properly and what detergents to use.

You may also read: Can You Wash Baby Bottles in the Dishwasher?

Is Dishwasher Better Than Hand Washing?

Hand washing takes more time and effort but can effectively remove all food particles. Dishwashers are efficient and use less water but may leave soap residue. Consider trade-offs when deciding.

There are pros and cons to both washing by hand and using a dishwasher. Hand washing dishes require more time and effort, but if done carefully can be effective at removing all food particles from dishes.

Dishwashers are more efficient and tend to use less water than hand washing, but they require detergents and can sometimes leave behind traces of soap residue.

Dishwasher vs. Hand Washing Water Usage

To clean 144 items, a full dishwasher uses roughly 13 liters of water. According to a research by the University of Bonn in Germany, washing the same load by hand typically uses 100 liters of water.

Dishwasher vs. Hand-washing Bacteria

Hand-washing dishes may seem like the most effective way to sanitize them, but studies have shown that in most cases bacteria levels are actually higher on dishes washed by hand than on those washed in a dishwasher.

This is because dishwashers often reach temperatures high enough to kill most bacteria, while washing with your hands does not always do so. Furthermore, the detergents used in a dishwasher provide additional protection against harmful bacteria.

So, using a dishwasher can significantly reduce bacterial contamination and make your dishes safer to use.

Dishwasher vs. Hand-washing Cost: Which one is More Economical?

The dishwasher uses electricity to heat water. Since it requires less water than it needs to fill the sink, it will use less energy than washing dishes by hand. In 10 years, a dishwasher will use up about half the energy it takes to wash dishes by hand.

Let’s summarize, When used thoughtfully and rationally, a dishwasher is much more convenient and economical than washing dishes by hand in almost every aspect.

Is It Cheaper to Wash Dishes by Hand or in the Dishwasher?

Let’s compare the cost of washing dishes by hand and in a dishwasher. So, washing dishes in a dishwasher is about three times more expensive than by hand. Despite this, the dishwasher is one of the most convenient and helpful home gadgets. It saves time, which is our most valuable resource.


In conclusion, there are numerous advantages to having a dishwasher. They save time and energy, help conserve water, and make dishes cleaner than if they are washed by hand. However, it is important to consider drawbacks such as a higher up-front cost, potential damage to delicate items, and issues with water spots.

If you are on a budget or need delicate items that cannot be put in a dishwasher by hand, this may make more sense for you. But if you have the resources and prefer the convenience of never having to do dishes by hand again, then buying one is well worth it!