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Compare DIY Hand Washing vs Installing a Dishwasher

Hand Washing Overview

Long before the dishwasher was invented, hand washing was the only way to do dishes. For people that don’t have a dishwasher or those who simply prefer the old fashioned way, it’s still the way dishes are done.

Hand Washing Cost

Hand washing is inexpensive. You pay for the water that is being used, of course. And then there are necessities like dishwashing detergent, sponges and a drying rack. All in all, you’ll probably spend less than $10 per month.

Hand Washing Pros

  • Faster - When you hand wash the dishes, there’s no waiting an hour or two for the cycle to finish.
  • You decide how clean - Hand washing gives you the freedom to scrub every dish until you’re convinced that it’s clean. There’s no stuck-on residue or leftover food particles (even though most modern dishwashers do a great job, too).

Hand Washing Cons

  • Less sanitary - Dishwashers use extremely hot water that kills bacteria and germs. It’s impossible to hand wash dishes with water that hot - it would scald your hands.
  • Labor intensive - Hand washing the dishes takes time, particularly after cooking a big meal. It involves a lot more time and effort than simply throwing loading dishes in the dishwasher.
  • Uses more water - Typically, hand washing uses more water than running a dishwasher. Most faucets flow at a rate of two gallons per minute, while most dishwashers use just six gallons of water per cycle. So if you’re washing the dishes for more than three minutes with the water constantly running, a dishwasher is more efficient.
Dirty Dishes

Dishwashers Overview

The dishwasher was invented in 1850, but it didn’t catch on with the general public for a century - until smaller, cheaper and more effective models hit the market in the 1950s. And it wasn’t until the 70s that dishwashers became commonplace in American homes.

Today, a dishwasher is considered a standard kitchen appliance - as important to some as the refrigerator and the kitchen sink.

Dishwasher Cost

Dishwashers range in price from about $250 for a basic models to $1,000 or more for a top-of-the-line, energy efficient machine. However, the vast majority of dishwashers are priced in the $400 to $500 range.

If you need to hire a plumber to install the dishwasher, budget about $75 to $200 extra. Also, don’t forget to budget for dishwashing detergent and the water costs associated with running the machine.

Dishwashers Pros

  • Convenience - It takes very little effort to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher and press the start button. Dishwashers save a lot of energy.
  • Sanitation - Dishwashers use extremely hot water, killing any germs or bacteria on your dishes.
  • Saves water - In most cases, it takes far less water to run the dishwasher than it would to hand wash an identical set of dirty dishes. Modern dishwashers use about six gallons per load, while running the faucet uses about two gallons per minute.

Dishwashers Cons

  • Not ideal for all dishes - Some dishes, pots and pans are not safe to put in the dishwasher. So you’ll have to hand wash them anyway to avoid damage to the finish.
  • Takes longer - Dishwashers usually take an hour or more to complete a cycle. Unless you just had a huge dinner party, it probably wouldn’t take that long to hand wash dishes.

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