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Handwashing Dishes or Using a Dishwasher?


earthyfamily
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Handwashing or Dishwasher?  

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  1. 1. In your opinion or experience, which is less expensive overall, handwashing dishes or using a dishwasher? (Including hot water, detergent and electricity)

    • Handwashing
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    • Dishwasher
      47
    • Dishes? I just use paper plates and plastic utensils!
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Based on your educated opinion or from your own experience, which is less expensive overall, handwashing dishes or using a dishwasher?  I'm including electricity, detergent and water/hot water expenses. We're trying desperately to lower our utilities bill (electric, gas, water and sewer) and thought handwashing our dishes might work out better for us.  Typically we run our dishwasher 2, sometimes 3 times a day.  Handwashing we've been washing 3-4 times a day. Thanks for your input!

 

ETA: I should also mention that we use natural dishwashing detergent for both methods. Our electric dishwasher detergent runs us $5.99 a box (about 30 loads) and our handwashing dish detergent runs us about $2.99 for a 17 oz (I think) bottle.

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Probably depends how you handwash, and what cycle you run.

 

For example, if you run a quick cycle and air dry, and your cycle doesn't heat the water, then you might be going cheap on the dishwasher.

If you handwash and don't soak first, but run the water and scrub the dishes (soaking takes time but makes actual washing faster), then you might be using more $ to handwash.

 

 

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Probably depends how you handwash, and what cycle you run.

 

For example, if you run a quick cycle and air dry, and your cycle doesn't heat the water, then you might be going cheap on the dishwasher.

If you handwash and don't soak first, but run the water and scrub the dishes (soaking takes time but makes actual washing faster), then you might be using more $ to handwash.

 

With our dishwasher we always use a normal cycle with no heat dry and handwashing we first rinse the food off the dishes (which we would do putting them in the dishwasher anyways), fill a 2 gallon bowl with warm water and some soap, wash in the bowl and then rinse with clean water.  At no time is water running constantly.

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A dishwasher is much more efficient than a human can be. 

 

I don't have a dishwasher right now.  I fill the sink with water and wash, then run water to rinse.  I can't rinse by the dip method - once the first dish goes in, the rinse water is soapy!  

 

Another factor, not in the poll, is time.  it is time-consuming to wash and dry dishes.  I tend to leave things to air dry, but it still takes longer than loading and unloading the dishwasher.  Even as a non-income-earning, stay-home mom, my time is valuable.  Kids and husband help, but their time is valuable too.  

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Depends on too many factors.

Hand washing by using a plug in the sink, turning off tap after rinsing, using water and detergent sparingly is less expensive than normal dishwasher use.

Using the hottest cycle and heat drying on the dishwasher is more expensive than using the energy saver cycle and selecting air dry.

Hand washing under running water wastes a lot of water and energy.

 

So, there is no clearcut answer.

 

I am curious how you manage to fill 3 dishwashers per day.

You might want to investigate into a dishwasher that can fit more; my mom's washer has a much better internal structure than ours and can hold at least twice as much.

 

 

ETA: washing dishes does not have a very big impact on the utility bill compared to other factors.

You probably can save a lot more water by taking shorter showers than you can by changing the dishwashing method. After A/C, the water heater is the biggest energy user, followed by the fridge.

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I included my own time based on what I could get paid doing something else, as well as the cost of the kids being able to do less--so, opportunity costs. I also included the fact that as renters, we don't maintain the dishwasher.

 

So for us, hand washing is way more expensive, but only because we put a lot of value on time.

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I am curious how you manage to fill 3 dishwashers per day.

You might want to investigate into a dishwasher that can fit more; my mom's washer has a much better internal structure than ours and can hold at least twice as much.

 

 

We cook nearly everything from scratch, a convenience food for us is dried pasta.  Cooking from scratch tends to use a lot of dishes.  And it seems like I'm always cooking something in order to keep my 2 teenaged vacuums full. *sigh*

Buying a new dishwasher isn't an option for us though.

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My dishwasher runs once a day, low-energy setting, air dry using a scoop of Borax powder and a squirt of Dawn. Sometimes I just use Dawn when I run out of Borax. Really just a squirt otherwise it's a big foamy mess.

Big pots and bowls get a quick hand wash.

I track our daily electric usage. It doubles when I wash several hot loads of laundry and all six of us take showers.

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I've looked into this pretty thoroughly, and dishwashers win, hands down.  If you fill up your rinse water sink (to dunk your dishes, rather than hold them under running water) and only use the recommended amount of dish soap (most use more), you can almost come close to equaling the dishwasher.  When I was handwashing (for 15 years) it took two hours per day and we used a $4.89 bottle of Dawn every 2 weeks.  Now we use the dishwasher and use a $13 box of Finish tabs, every 3 months. 

 

I have recovered two hours per day, my kitchen is never overrun with dirty dishes (I run the dishwasher overnight, unload it in the morning, and fill through the day), I'm saving on dish soap for sure, and water, too.  It has been the best thing EVER.  I think this is how my great grandmother must have felt when she got the automatic washing machine.

 

Financially, it all falls down when you add in the cost of the dishwasher itself, though. 

 

But I don't care.  I'm never going back.

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My dishwasher runs once a day, low-energy setting, air dry using a scoop of Borax powder and a squirt of Dawn. Sometimes I just use Dawn when I run out of Borax. Really just a squirt otherwise it's a big foamy mess.

Big pots and bowls get a quick hand wash.

I track our daily electric usage. It doubles when I wash several hot loads of laundry and all six of us takes showers.

 

Making my own detergent has never worked for me.  Our dishwasher kinda sucks and doesn't always get everything clean.

How do you track your daily electric usage?  Checking the meter everyday?

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We cook nearly everything from scratch, a convenience food for us is dried pasta.  Cooking from scratch tends to use a lot of dishes.  And it seems like I'm always cooking something in order to keep my 2 teenaged vacuums full. *sigh*

Buying a new dishwasher isn't an option for us though.

 

Using paper plates  for some meals would probably be worth the cost.

 

Also, consider having some meals be simpler.  One pot meals and sandwiches are very dish friendly.

 

Also, look to your clothes dryer to reduce bills.  If it's old it may not be efficient.  Clogged vents can cause that, too.  Your clothesline can be your friend, even if you only use it for some laundry.

 

ETA: you might also unplug everything and then take a look at your meter, if it's almost not moving, you might have an electric leak somewhere.  It's not uncommon to have an underground wire with a  trickle going to ground.

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Using paper plates  for some meals would probably be worth the cost.

 

Also, consider having some meals be simpler.  One pot meals and sandwiches are very dish friendly.

 

Also, look to your clothes dryer to reduce bills.  If it's old it may not be efficient.  Clogged vents can cause that, too.  Your clothesline can be your friend, even if you only use it for some laundry.

 

ETA: you might also unplug everything and then take a look at your meter, if it's almost not moving, you might have an electric leak somewhere.  It's not uncommon to have an underground wire with a  trickle going to ground.

 

We're actually choose not to use paper products when at all possible. Tissues and toilet paper are the only disposable paper products we use really. No paper towels, napkins, or plates.

If I could find some recipes for one pot vegetarian meals that would be great. :)

We line dry all of our laundry already.

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I don't know. I never looked into it. 

 

But we haven't had a working dishwasher for about 5 years. I do always use gloves and I find I go through those every few months. But now that I'm use to them I don't want to go back to no gloves. I really like my gloves. I take the old pair, (that usually have a little hole or rip somewhere) and use them when I'm preparing meat for Dh. (I'm a vegetarian and like not having to touch it. )

 

I don't know that I've ever seen dishwashing gloves that weren't latex....big latex allergy here. :/

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We're actually choose not to use paper products when at all possible. Tissues and toilet paper are the only disposable paper products we use really. No paper towels, napkins, or plates.

If I could find some recipes for one pot vegetarian meals that would be great. :)

We line dry all of our laundry already.

 

You might want to rethink whether the disposability of paper products outweighs the energy usage for all of that washing (there's the production of the energy itself, which is one environmental impact, but also the environmental impact of the work necessary to pay for the energy).  Maybe it doesn't, but I think it's worth considering.

 

Ratatouille is one pot.  Hoppin' john.  Beans and rice isn't quite one pot, but if you made up a huge batch of beans and a huge batch of rice (divide and freeze for later), you'd reduce overall. 

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Making my own detergent has never worked for me.  Our dishwasher kinda sucks and doesn't always get everything clean.

How do you track your daily electric usage?  Checking the meter everyday?

 

As long as I rub sticky food off with a wet rag, the dishes come out clean enough for me. :)

 

We have a smart, digital meter that the electric company reads every day; then they email me the daily cost. Before the emails, I did check the meter myself.

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You might want to rethink whether the disposability of paper products outweighs the energy usage for all of that washing (there's the production of the energy itself, which is one environmental impact, but also the environmental impact of the work necessary to pay for the energy).  Maybe it doesn't, but I think it's worth considering.

 

Ratatouille is one pot.  Hoppin' john.  Beans and rice isn't quite one pot, but if you made up a huge batch of beans and a huge batch of rice (divide and freeze for later), you'd reduce overall. 

 

Not using paper products for us is more than just an environmental choice, it's an aesthetic one as well.  I spend a lot of time cooking...there's no way those meals are going on paper plates, heh. We thoroughly set the table for each meal in order to make a meal an eye pleasing event as well....if that makes sense.

 

They do make non-latex gloves. I haven't bought them in a long time, but I think I got them at the grocery store.

 

I'll have to look for those...I've never seen them before. That would be awesome. :D

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I would think hand washing would be slightly cheaper because of the soap.  I use Cascade Complete costs about $6.00 per box.  If I were to hand wash I'd use dawn concentrate for around $2.00.  The dawn would last weeks and maybe a month?  I go through a box of Cascade every week-week and a half. I always put the DW on heavy with extra hot water no heat dry.  Plus if I didn't have a dishwasher dishes wouldn't get done nearly as often which would save money.... Of course we wouldn't be eating nearly as often either.  I LOVE my dishwasher soooo worth the extra $$$.

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Vegetarian chili. Potato chowder. Vegetable pilaf. Scalloped potatoes. Stir fry in wok is only two pots. Lasagne.

 

I mean, if you're making cheese and noodles, you're really running a gourmet food factory so I don't see a reduction in your future. When I cooked from scratch for just two adults and two under four I did two full loads per day.

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I know that theoretically a dishwasher is more efficient.  But I can't stand to put a nasty dirty dish into the dishwasher without rinsing / wiping off the crud.  Because too often, when I do, there will be some dishes that come out cruddy.  So since I'm already rinsing and clearing the dishes (usually immediately after using them), I might as well finish the job right then and put it in the dish drainer.

 

Many dishes aren't dirty enough for a major cleaning.  A quick rinse / wipe with my fingers is often enough.  As for the dirtiest dishes (like a baked casserole), anyway they need to soak in hot water to soften up the baked on stuff.

 

I don't ever fill up the sink basin or run the rinse water for long periods of time.  So if that is the assumption used to compare the two methods, it doesn't work for me.

 

Also, I would need to have more dishes if I couldn't re-use them between dishwasher cycles.

 

But if I had a big enough family to put stuff right in the dishwasher and run it full immediately after a meal, then that would probably be more efficient.

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Don't forget that energy isn't free . . . not even human energy. You have to add the cost of the calories burned during hand washing vs dishwasher loading. Then when you have ALL of your numbers as accurate as possible, you have to ask yourself is hand washing dishes for an hour each day WORTH any tiny savings at all, or do you need to save at least a dollar a day to make it worth the extra human energy.

 

Sometimes the juice ain't worth the squeeze. It sounds like you cook like I do. I trash the kitchen and never use paper plates. This can add up to running the dishwasher more than once a day. Hand washing dishes just doesn't give you the clear savings you get from line-drying vs machine drying clothes.

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I don't know for sure, but I'd suspect that our dishwasher loads would work out a cheaper than when we do the same amount of items by hand. Our dishwasher is pretty energy efficient, while our washing up by hand isn't. Because of the way our plumbing is laid out, the hot water cylinder is near the laundry, quite some distance from the kitchen; this means that whenever you use hot water in the kitchen, you have to empty all the cold water out of the pipe first, so when you wash and then rinse with hot water, a lot of water gets wasted. Also with electricity, the dishwasher heats water less expensively. But as has already been pointed out, a lot depends on your personal washing up patterns. For example, we do not pre-rinse things before stacking the dishwasher. Also I use running hot water to rinse things I've hand washed. There's no point filling a sink with rinse water, because once you have rinsed one item, the rinse water has detergent in it and doesn't rinse completely clean. I know some people are so water conservation conscious that they don't rinse at all, but I loathe the taste of the residual detergent so if I were seriously short of water I'd rather just wash without the detergent.

 

It's a bit academic for me in any case, though. I just like the dishwasher because it makes keeping the kitchen clean enough to use into a manageable series of tasks. Somehow loading the dishwasher and then washing the stuff that we don't put in the dishwasher seems way less daunting than doing heaps of loads of washing up in the sink every day. It's a psychological thing - unload the dishwasher because look there are all those nice clean things to put away, then hey it's empty so why not refill it, then look the bench is sort of almost clean, might as well hand wash the rest of the stuff and wipe the bench and voila the kitchen is done.

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Whenever I have more dishes to wash than usual, it's usually because my kids are using multiple glasses, plates, bowls, etc. on any given day. I can walk into the living room and there will be seven glasses. One is mine. The other six are from three kids. I've done this before and I'm going to have to do it again (and it may be worth it for you) to give each person a placemat and they have one full set of dishes to use for the entire day. This has worked well for us in the past (even going so far as to use window markers and writing their names on the drinking glass).

 

But hands down, dishwasher is more efficient. People have done studies. The water used in it is recycled and when we're better about using it both our water bill (and sewer) and electric has been lower.

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Our power bill jumped significantly once we started using a dishwasher (maybe $150-200) but for the number of hours I spend washing dishes in that time it is financially worth it. I also cook more and save that way because clean up is sooo much easier. The detergent is also more expensive though.

 

Honestly if you are going to trial it make sure everyone is firmly agreeing to help out because I can tell you from experience that washing dishes for 1 to 2 hours a day on your own every day is not fun at all.

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Our power bill jumped significantly once we started using a dishwasher (maybe $150-200) but for the number of hours I spend washing dishes in that time it is financially worth it. I also cook more and save that way because clean up is sooo much easier. The detergent is also more expensive though.

 

Honestly if you are going to trial it make sure everyone is firmly agreeing to help out because I can tell you from experience that washing dishes for 1 to 2 hours a day on your own every day is not fun at all.

 

Your power bill jumped by $200 per month because you ran the dishwasher?  If I'm reading that right, there is something wrong with your dishwasher.  My power bill last month was just under $300, and that included heating the house.  I know there are differences, but no way should it cost that much to run a dishwasher.

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Not using paper products for us is more than just an environmental choice, it's an aesthetic one as well.  I spend a lot of time cooking...there's no way those meals are going on paper plates, heh. We thoroughly set the table for each meal in order to make a meal an eye pleasing event as well....if that makes sense.

 

 

 

 

Well, then, I guess it depends on your priorities.  Having a fully set table 3x per day sounds lovely....and costly. 

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Never had a dishwasher, but I can't imagine it being cheaper for us than hand washing. There are only the 4 of us, and we don't even dirty enough dishes a day to fill a dishwasher. Plus, I don't own enough dishes to wait two days or anything like that. I run my sink with water and dish detergent (a big bottle of Ajax lasts me like 4-6 months), and wash and rinse and stick in dish drain. Usually takes about a half hour. Less if there are fewer than usual dishes. Plus, I use that time for exercise (I do Leslie Sansone style side steps and kickbacks). 

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I selected dishwasher based upon how we use it. 

 

When we moved to this house 7.5 years ago, it didn't have a dishwasher.  Since our eldest DD went off to college a year after we moved here and only the 3 of us were left, I hadn't planned to purchase a dishwasher.  However, my hands became so dry, red, sore and scaly after each washing, I broke down, and we got one. Now I only run it once a day and my hands have been saved.

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That's to bad. :( I assume mine are latex. I never checked. I just searched online and found this for you. 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Clean-243033-Premium-Latex-Free-Gloves/dp/B007RUORG4(Latex-Free dishing washing gloves)

 

Those look awesome!  I'm going to have to see if I can find them locally. :)

 

Our power bill jumped significantly once we started using a dishwasher (maybe $150-200) but for the number of hours I spend washing dishes in that time it is financially worth it. I also cook more and save that way because clean up is sooo much easier. The detergent is also more expensive though.

 

Honestly if you are going to trial it make sure everyone is firmly agreeing to help out because I can tell you from experience that washing dishes for 1 to 2 hours a day on your own every day is not fun at all.

 

 

Wow, how on earth could a dishwasher cost $150-$200??  Your electric bill must have been outrageous.

 

Vegetarian chili. Potato chowder. Vegetable pilaf. Scalloped potatoes. Stir fry in wok is only two pots. Lasagne.

 

I mean, if you're making cheese and noodles, you're really running a gourmet food factory so I don't see a reduction in your future. When I cooked from scratch for just two adults and two under four I did two full loads per day.

 

How do you make lasagna with only one pot?  But yeah, even making mac and cheese requires 2 pots (well one pot and one skillet).

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Our power bill jumped significantly once we started using a dishwasher (maybe $150-200) but for the number of hours I spend washing dishes in that time it is financially worth it. I also cook more and save that way because clean up is sooo much easier. The detergent is also more expensive though.

 

Honestly if you are going to trial it make sure everyone is firmly agreeing to help out because I can tell you from experience that washing dishes for 1 to 2 hours a day on your own every day is not fun at all.

 

Excuse me?  There is something wrong with that. Are you using the sanitizer cycle all the time, extra rinses in super hot water and then a heated dry?  That is just not right

 

We installed our dishwasher after living in this house for almost 5 years. Our water bill went down and our electricity bill didn't go up a noticeable amount. We pay about 200$ in electricty per month, so our bill jumping by 150-200$ would definitely be the end of using the dishwasher.

 

and I think it is more efficient to use a dishwasher. I have a machine where I don't have to wash the dishes before I put them in, so I save on the rinse water. I stick cereal bowls in the machine with the cereal dregs left in them, coffee cups with dried coffee in the bottom, knives that were used to spread peanut butter, plates with red sauce and even stuck on bits of pasta..it all comes out clean.

 

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Supermarket gloves are nearly always neoprene here I don't think I have seen latex ones.

 

Do dishes the NZ way. Stick water and dishwashing liquid in a sink (or hang a tin with holes in the bottom containing a bar of sunlight soap under your hot tap), scrub them and dry with a towel. Rinsing seems a huge waste of time and water. Apparently food tastes slightly different but I wouldn't know. What doesn't wash off will wipe off with the towel.

 

I use a dishwasher now - I don't think my power bill went up much but my workload went down.

 

PS you can use less water by using a wash bowl but most of the old sinks in NZ were quite small.

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Your power bill jumped by $200 per month because you ran the dishwasher? If I'm reading that right, there is something wrong with your dishwasher. My power bill last month was just under $300, and that included heating the house. I know there are differences, but no way should it cost that much to run a dishwasher.

Firstly our power bills are quarterly, secondly we live in Aus and electricity here is more expensive and rapidly going up anyway.

 

Sorry I should have made that clearer.

 

I do use the drying cycle which uses more power.

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Supermarket gloves are nearly always neoprene here I don't think I have seen latex ones.

 

Do dishes the NZ way. Stick water and dishwashing liquid in a sink (or hang a tin with holes in the bottom containing a bar of sunlight soap under your hot tap), scrub them and dry with a towel. Rinsing seems a huge waste of time and water. Apparently food tastes slightly different but I wouldn't know. What doesn't wash off will wipe off with the towel.

 

I use a dishwasher now - I don't think my power bill went up much but my workload went down.

 

PS you can use less water by using a wash bowl but most of the old sinks in NZ were quite small.

This brings back so many memories. My nz grandpa used to insist everyone who washed dishes at his house used the mesh soap bar shaker. None of this modern liquid detergent stuff!!!

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I make one pot mac&cheese.

 

I can't figure that one out...one pot to boil the noodles, a skillet to make the sauce is how I always do it.  Share. :D

 

Supermarket gloves are nearly always neoprene here I don't think I have seen latex ones.

 

 

Allergic to neoprene as well. :/

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Firstly our power bills are quarterly, secondly we live in Aus and electricity here is more expensive and rapidly going up anyway.

 

Sorry I should have made that clearer.

 

I do use the drying cycle which uses more power.

 

Wow, electricity must be terribly expensive there.  I could never afford that. :/

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I prefer to wash dishes by hand.  Last September our dishwasher died.  It was going to be more expensive to fix it than to replace it (motherboard cost over $500 :eek: ).  So against my husband's better judgement I decided to start washing the dishes by hand.

 

And the most miraculous thing happened.  The whole family participates in the clean up after every meal.  Before they would just stack the dishes on the counter after the meal b/c if they put the dishes in the dishwasher I would end up with chipped plates.  Now, one brings them from the table and wipes down all the counters, the stove and the table and the other one dries and puts the dishes away. My husband puts all the left overs in containers.  If I wash breakfast dishes or lunch dishes a little late, one of the kids will notice that there are dishes stacked by the sink and will dry them and put them away.   At first, of course, there were grumbles, but it's actually a very pleasant part of the evening now for everyone.  There's lots of talking and joking and we extend our evening together a little longer.  In fact, we're more apt to sit together afterwards and play a game when the kitchen is clean than we were before.  I'm not going to say that it doesn't take any time and I agree, it is work.  But everyone is helping, no one thinks twice about it and my kids are learning a very good habit.  There's no guarantee that they'll have an apartment in college or after college with a dishwasher. 

 

So, even though we can afford to buy a new dishwasher, I'm sticking with the hand washing.  And, my electric bill did go up--we have an electric hot water tank and our old dishwasher was one of those ultra efficient german ones that heated it's own water.

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http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/average-electricity-prices-kwh

 

This is old but yeah power is expensive here, that is why dryers and dishwashers have been seen as luxuries for a long time.

 

Wow, that is quite expensive.  We live in a low COL area, .08/kwh for us.  We do have to run the furnace (gas but forced air, so electric also) and air conditioning almost year round (alternatively obviously), where I live.  So our utility bills are ridonculous.

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If you only run 2 inches of water into the sink to wash, and then rinse back into the sink, you have a full enough sink to wash the big pots last. I am an expert at washing dishes with very little water as it's low well time here. Until the ditches are turned back on for irrigating, we have to baby the well. There's no way that a dishwasher uses less water than I do. None of the "dishwashers use less water" figures I've seen take into account pre-rinsing dishes. I'd never be able to just stick dishes in a dishwasher--they wouldn't come clean, plus all that food waste is hard on septic systems. 

 

I scrape my dishes, but I never prerinse them.  If you scrape without rinsing there is little or no food into the septic. 

 

I wouldn't bother with a dishwasher if I had to basically wash the dishes before I loaded it.

 

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Well, I don't have a dishwasher but I don't see how one little sink of water can cost more than a dishwasher. I only have enough plates and silverware for one meal so I'd have to run the thing three tines/day.

 

But if you only have enough dishes for one meal, then you are using 3 sinks of water, because you are washing after each meal.  Plus, there is rinsing, so you are using at least 6 sinks of water, unless you are rinsing under running water, in which case you are using much more than 6 sinks of water. 

 

Look up dishwasher efficiency.  You'd be amazed how little water they use.

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I can't figure that one out...one pot to boil the noodles, a skillet to make the sauce is how I always do it.  Share. :D

 

 

Allergic to neoprene as well. :/

 

No one I know preboils lasagna noodles.  You just end up with soggy, over cooked noodles.  You put them in dry, while leaving your sauce a tad thinner/waterier than you normally would.  The noodles soak up the extra water and the sauce flavor.  Yummy.

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