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Dishwasher energy saving tips

By Emma Featherstone

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.

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As well as buying an energy-efficient dishwasher, there are several things you can do to use it in a more eco-friendly way.

See our tips and video guide below to find out how you can change the way you use your dishwasher to help reduce costs and use less water.

Best energy-saving dishwashers

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 that their running costs vary between £32 and £72 a year. If you keep your dishwasher for seven years, the difference in energy costs is £280.
£280The difference in energy costs over seven years between the most and least energy efficient dishwasher

If you're thinking of buying a new dishwasher, consider one of the Best Buy dishwashers that have been awarded the Which? Energy Saver logo. 

You can expect to pay less to use one of these over the course of a year than you would with other models.


Video guide: using your dishwasher in a more eco-friendly way

In our video guide, Which? researcher Matt Stevens explains how to make washing up with your dishwasher more eco-friendly, from simple filling tips to using the right programs.

Energy-saving dishwasher programs

Run your dishwasher on its energy-save or eco program. This will take longer than the main program to get your dishes clean, but will use about two fewer litres of 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 your dishwasher properly

Aim for a full load each time. But be careful not to overfill the dishwasher, though, 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, they can stop the water from reaching the detergent dispenser.

Watch our video guide to loading your dishwasher to see which dishes should 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.

Cheap electricity

Some electricity tariffs, such as Economy 7, charge less per unit at night than in the daytime to encourage power usage at off-peak times and smooth out demand on the grid. 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. 

Want to compare all our dishwashers to find out which is the most efficient? Head straight to our dishwasher reviews.

If you're not a Which? member, you can gain access to all our reviews, from dishwashers to vacuum cleaners, with a £1 trial subscription to Which?.


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