Dishwashers: Energy-saving dishwasher tips
- Using your dishwasher's eco settings to reduce water and energy use
- Loading your diswasher for greater efficiency, and using greener dishwasher detergents
- Watch the Which? video guide to minimising your dishwasher’s impact on the environment
Washing plates and dishes with a dishwasher uses less water than washing by hand. The main wash program on a full-sized dishwasher uses about 18 litres of water - that's less than two washing-up bowls full - and will clean 120 items.
But a large domestic appliance like a dishwasher is still going to use energy, which will be reflected in its running costs. If you want to be greener with your dishwasher - and save money on bills in the process - here's how to reduce its environmental impact.
Using your dishwasher in a more eco-friendly way
Not ready to give up using your dishwasher, but want to find how to minimise its impact on the environment? In our video guide, Which? researcher Matt Stevens explains how to make washing up with your dishwasher more eco-friendly.
Buy a cheap-to-run dishwasher
The lower the amount of energy your dishwasher guzzles, the cheaper your energy bills will be. We've calculated the annual energy costs for more than 150 dishwashers and found running costs vary between £22 and £72 a year - if you keep your dishwasher for seven years, the difference in energy costs is £350.
If you're thinking of a new dishwasher then we have several Best Buy dishwashers that are rated as Energy Savers, meaning that you can expect to pay less to run your dishwasher over the course of the year than on other models.
Our dishwasher energy costs calculator reveals how much different dishwashers use, whether you're buying a new dishwasher or just want to check how much yours is costing you.
Energy saving dishwasher programs
Run your dishwasher on its energy-save or eco program. It'll take longer than the main program to get your dishes clean, but uses about two litres less water. And if you wash your dishes without soaking or pre-rinsing, you'll save even more water.
Energy-save or eco programs also use the least amount of energy. They wash dishes at lower temperatures, so don't need as much energy to heat the water. On average, energy save programs use about 20% less energy than the main program.
Load it your dishwasher properly
When you're using your dishwasher, aim for a full load each time. But be careful not to overfill it, as this could prevent some items from getting cleaned properly. Large items should go at the back and sides of the racks – if big plates are at the front this can stop the water reaching the detergent dispenser.
See our video guide to loading your dishwasher to see which dishes go where.
Green dishwasher detergents
Try using green dishwasher detergents that are free from petrochemicals, phosphates and chlorine. Their performance can be variable so they might not always be suitable, but their green credentials check out.
See our full dishwasher detergents review for the latest Best Buy dishwasher detergents.
Some electricity tariffs, such as Economy 7, charge less per unit at night than in the daytime – if you're on such a tariff, using the delayed-start function to run your machine at night will knock some money off your electricity bill.