What Do You Think…Hand Wash v. Dishwasher?

hand washing and dishwashing

Most people dread being on dish duty. When it comes to doing the dishes, which do you do more frequently, hand wash or dishwasher? There are pros and cons to each. Read on to see which way is the best for hand washing and dishwashing.

Hand Washing & Dishwashing Pros:

Hand washing 

  • Faster – Once you’re done washing the dishes, they can be dried and put away. The whole process of washing dishes can be done in an hour or less. 
  • Can reduce stress – sometimes at the end of the day, washing dishes by hand can reduce your stress levels. Just you, the sink and the dishes can be a mindless task that gives you a mental break from the regular day to day. 


  • Dishes are more likely to be cleared of bacteria – Obviously hand washing doesn’t have a setting to sanitize the dishes. Dishwashers can have sanitizing cycles, but also high heat settings to ensure the bacteria is washed away. 
  • Keep your kitchen looking clean – Having the dishes in the dishwasher means less clutter in your kitchen.  
  • Less manual labor – Yes, you have to put the dishes in and take them out, but if you hand wash you have to do everything from the beginning to the end and everything in  between, which on some days can be too much. 
  • Saves on water compared to handwashing – Many people believe that hand washing saves on water, but it doesn’t. Most dishwashers, especially newer ones, have settings that won’t allow the dishwasher to use more than 5 gallons of water. “In fact, the Department of Energy mandates that full-sized dishwashers can use a maximum of 5 gallons of water per cycle.”
  • You don’t have to rinse dishes, which can save you a lot of time. Just make sure there are no large chunks of food on the dishes.

Hand Washing & Dishwashing Cons: 

Hand washing 

  • Wasteful water – Most people use more than 6 gallons of water to wash dishes. That may not even include a full load of dishes for some people, which means you are using even more water. 
  • Not as clean as you’d think – When you wash dishes by hand, they may not be as clean as you think they are. Even if you use gloves, the water you use typically isn’t as hot as it would be in the dishwasher. Also, if your sponge hasn’t been cleaned or replaced in awhile, you have no idea how much bacteria and germs are on it. It’s hard to ensure that your dishes are 100% clean when you wash by hand. 


  • Waiting period – Once the dishwasher is running, you obviously have to wait until it’s done to use the dishes. If you’re having a gathering or need your dishes quickly, you can’t use them if they’re in the dishwasher. Additionally, what if you forget to run it? Now you have to wait even longer for them to be done until you can unload it. 

Which One Is The Best?

You can decide for yourself which you believe is the best option to clean your dishes. Each option has pros and cons, and some dishes need to be hand washed based on the material or care instructions such as cast iron. Overall, do whichever will be best suited for your situation when it comes to the way you wash your dishes.

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