Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing Hygiene – You Must Know

by Rick Goldman

There’s a lot of debate about which method is better for washing dishes, hand washing or using dishwashers. The choice depends on time, cost of water and electricity, and most importantly, hygiene.

In the topic of Dishwasher vs Hand Washing Hygiene, many people wrongly believe that the dishwasher is the less hygienic option of the two. The water temperature required for removing all bacteria is too high for human skin which can be handled by the dishwasher.

Moreover, hand-washing dishes don’t guarantee clean dishes which dishwashers can ensure. But dishwashers also come with electricity and buying costs. Since they’re machines, they need the power to run. Many houses do come with built-in washers. If yours don’t and you’re considering buying one, try to find the most economical dishwasher to save costs.

While hand-washing can boost your family’s immune system, dishwashers can ensure perfect hygiene. Both of these methods have benefits and shortcomings. Read on to know our take on both sides.

Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing Hygiene – You Must Know
Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing Hygiene – You Must Know

Dishwasher Vs Hand Washing Hygiene – Weighing the Options

Before you make your choice, let’s consider the advantages and disadvantages of hand washing dishes and using dishwashers to clean them. Let’s weigh what they offer, what they don’t and give them both a fair chance.

Do Dishwashers Use a Lot of Electricity?

One of the questions people always have about dishwashers is that “do they use a lot of electricity?” Dishwashers do need electricity to run, but the cost is meager.

Every load requires approximately 1.2 kWh to 1.80 kWh of electricity. If you use it for an hour every day, monthly it will cost you 3-6 dollars only. This isn’t exactly a disadvantage because of the low price, but you don’t have to bear this expense with hand washing.

Benefits of Using Dishwashers

Dishwashers offer the most hygienic option. Modern dishwashers have high tech jets and special racks for proper cleaning. They also save water contrary to popular belief but do come with electricity costs.

1. More Hygienic

The necessary temperature to kill all bacteria is around 40o C or 140-150o F which dishwashers provide. Human skin can’t handle that temperature which is why many people use lukewarm or cold water for washing. Not to mention using the same sponge and drying towel over and over again while hand washing dishes makes it a breeding ground for bacteria. So, in the hygiene section, the dishwasher beats out handwashing by a large margin.

2. Water-Saving

Another misconception is that dishwashers require more water. But average handwashing requires about 27 gallons or 102L of water. In contrast, dishwashers require 6 gallons and the modern ones need only 3 gallons or 13L. This is a huge save for the environment. A lot of people rinse their dishes before putting them on the dishwasher, which, according to experts, is unnecessary and adds to water wastage.

3. Time-Saving

There’s no doubt that dishwashers will save you more time than manually doing the dishes. You can pop it on and do your other works while your dishes are being cleaned. Handwashing takes almost an hour off your day, but the people who use dishwashers spare only 9 minutes of their day to do the dishes.

4. Less Detergent Required

There’s a certain amount of detergent or soap for every load of dishwashing but manually washing has no guarantee. Anyone can use any amount.

Drawbacks of Using Dishwashers

  • Cost

Most good dishwashers range from 500-1600 dollars. In average they last about 10 years. A lot of houses have built-in washers, so there’s no need to buy them. But, if there’s no don’t have built-in ones, it may seem a little pricey and unnecessary to some.

  • Smelly

Dishwashers are at the end of the day, a machine. If it is not correctly used or maintained, there will be problems. Not scraping food thoroughly, washing plastic products, not cleaning the washer and gradual build-up of food scraps will result in a pretty gross and smelly situation. It requires maintenance which manual washing does not.

After going through the dishwasher’s advantages and shortcomings, it can be said that it is a better option for big families and water saving. Now, let’s consider hand washing dishes and their pros and cons.

Benefits of Hand Washing Dishes

Hand washing dishes offer better immunity and bonding moments. In a lot of cultures, dishwashers aren’t common. They use hand washing dishes as a life lesson moment for younger children.

This method is better for delicate china dishes. It is easy to do with no additional electricity or buying cost.

1. Boosts Immunity System

The term ‘hygiene hypothesis’ means when the environment is too clean, children will develop more allergies and health problems. This applies to general health as well. Being exposed to germs at a younger age can lead to a better immunity system. Since handwashing doesn’t ensure that every dish will be squeaky clean, this may help you.

2. Delicate Dishes

Protection of expensive silverwares, china plates and other delicate dishes aren’t guaranteed with a dishwasher. That’s why most people use their hands to wash these expensive products. Some even clean them meticulously to preserve them for a long time.

3. Bonding and Relaxation

Washing dishes together has always been regarded as an excellent bonding opportunity for families, especially ones with young children. It is also very therapeutic as it doesn’t require much thinking and many people hand washes dishes for destressing.

4. Reducing Allergy Chances

Allergies are becoming more common among young children. According to a new Swedish study, children who handwashes dishes have a 40% less chance of developing allergies than the ones who grew up using dishwashers.

Drawbacks of Hand Washing Dishes

Improper Cleaning

Handwashing doesn’t assure absolute cleanliness. There may be food particles left that were not adequately scrubbed. And the temperature of water needed for perfect hygiene can’t be withstood by human skin.

Energy and Time Consuming

Manually washing every dish, utensil and drying them takes a long time, and it can lower your energy. Generally, a person spends one hour each day doing the dishes. This takes a lot of energy and time which you can spend on another work or just even resting.

Effects on Skin

Doing the dishes every day will make your hand wrinkly and gradually your skin and nails will become coarse. After a while, your hands will become rough and bristly.

By considering both the good and bad points of manual washing dishes, it can be said that it is a good option for relaxation and immunity-boosting.


Both of these methods are useful in their own way. We would suggest hand washing dishes for delicate materials, relaxation and bonding, and using the dishwasher for better hygiene and for big loads of dishes to save time.

If you don’t have a built-in washer, then try handwashing or look for a good one within your budget. Even if you have a dishwasher, try hand washing once in a while because it does have its uses.

About Rick Goldman

Rick Goldman's grandpa was a captain of a California coast cruise. This afforded Rick the luxury of traveling to exciting places along the Pacific Coast as a young boy. He got to try different, exotic foods on these journeys - something he really enjoys blogging about from his grandpa's beautiful garden home today.

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