The real reason you should stop washing your dishes by hand

If you eat at home and don't use disposable everything, you'll have a pile of dishes to wash by the end of the day. How you wash your dishes, though, may make a difference in your health, your water bill, and the environment. Here's the real reason you should stop washing your dishes by hand.

There are a few differences between washing dishes by hand or by machine. First off, we have to consider the human effort factor. Loading the dishwasher and pushing a few buttons is way easier than actually soaping up your dishes, scrubbing them, rinsing them off, and then drying and putting them away, both in time and exertion. In fact, an automatic dishwasher can save you more time than you'd expect — around 10 whole days a year. But the differences don't end there. 

Consider the amount of water you use when filling up a sink and washing dishes — and then think about how long a dishwasher runs. It might seem, at first thought, that hand washing uses far less water than your machine does. However, that's not always the case, especially when using a modern Energy Star certified dishwasher — today's dishwashers can save around 5,000 gallons of water a year over hand washing. That's a lot! Dishwashers can also save you money for the same reason. They just don't use as much water as filling a sink and rinsing off dishes does, which is great news for your pocketbook. 

If wasting money, time, and water isn't enough to sway you, this might: It depends on how you wash your dishes, but if you reuse a sponge (or even the same dish rag) over and over again, day after day, it could harbor nasty bacteria that can make you and your family sick when that bacteria remains on the dishes.  

Last, but definitely not least, modern-day dishwashers simply clean your dishes better than you can. Depending on where you have your water heater set, your dishwasher can bump up water temps to 140 degrees, which your human hands really cannot deal with because it's too hot (even with gloves). This helps disinfect your dishes far better than you can with your sink full of hot water, which of course, just gets dirtier the more dishes you wash. 

So, put down that sponge and load your dishwasher if you have one — you'll save water, time, and money, and you'll get cleaner dishes, too.