Monique O'Grady: Did you know that you can have clean dishes in your home without cleaning out your wallet? The average American family runs their dishwasher about 110 times every year. And there are some easy ways to use less water and energy on keeping your kitchenware sparkling.
Buy an ENERGY STAR Qualified Dishwasher. If you are using a dishwasher made before 1994 you are paying an extra $40 per year on your energy bills. And when you are looking for a new dishwasher, be sure to pick out the right size for your home. Only buy a compact model if you do few dishes and will not need to run more loads in the smaller washer. To save energy run full loads of dishes, most of the energy using your dishwasher heats the water. So running a smaller load is wasteful, instead, pack in the dishes. And the best time to do your dishes during off peak hours like nights, mornings, and weekends. When there is less strain on the power grid.
Full loads during these times will get you the most for your energy dollars. Also air dry what you can and turn off the heat drying option so your machine uses less energy.
Many new dishwasher models are so efficient that they do all the work for you. So save water by avoiding that pre-wash.
Check to make sure your machine doesn't require a rinse and then use the general rule of thumb to scrape your dishes not rinse them.
Now you maybe asking yourself, would I save money by washing my dishes by hand? And the answer is, no, you waste more than just your own time by scrubbing. Hand washing dishes cost over $400 more and energy and water compared to using an ENERGY STAR Qualified Dishwasher.
So stop scrubbing, start using an ENERGY STAR model and get your dishes clean while saving energy, money, time, and water.