Should the dishwasher always be full? Things to Know

The answer is yes, you should always run the dishwasher when it is full, but not overloaded. This is the most efficient and eco-friendly way to use your dishwasher, as it saves water, energy, detergent, and money. In this article, we will explain why running a full dishwasher is better than running a half-empty one, and how to optimize your dishwasher performance and avoid common problems.

Why running a full dishwasher is better

Running a full dishwasher is better for several reasons:

  • It saves water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an Energy Star certified dishwasher uses less than 4 gallons of water per cycle, while hand washing dishes can use up to 27 gallons. That means running a full dishwasher can save up to 23 gallons of water per cycle, or more than 8,000 gallons per year for an average household.
  • It saves energy. A full dishwasher also uses less energy than hand washing dishes, as it heats the water more efficiently and reduces the need for rinsing. The EPA estimates that running a full dishwasher can save up to 230 kWh of electricity per year, which is equivalent to powering a laptop for 10 hours a day for a year.
  • It saves detergent. By running a full dishwasher, you also use less detergent than hand washing dishes, as you only need one dose per cycle. This can save you money and reduce the environmental impact of detergent production and disposal.
  • It saves time. Running a full dishwasher also saves you time, as you only have to load and unload it once, instead of multiple times for smaller loads. This can free up your time for other activities and reduce the stress of having a pile of dirty dishes in the sink.
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How to optimize your dishwasher performance

Running a full dishwasher is not enough to ensure optimal performance and results. You also need to follow some best practices to make sure your dishes come out clean and dry, and your dishwasher lasts longer. Here are some tips to optimize your dishwasher performance:

  • Scrape off large food particles before loading the dishes, but do not pre-rinse them. Pre-rinsing wastes water and energy, and can also prevent the detergent from working properly, as it needs some grease and dirt to cling to.
  • Load the dishes properly, following the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations. Do not overload the dishwasher, as this can prevent the water and detergent from reaching all the surfaces and cause poor cleaning. Also, do not block the spray arms or the detergent dispenser with large or tall items.
  • Use the right amount and type of detergent, according to the hardness of your water and the soil level of your dishes. Too much or too little detergent can leave residues or stains on your dishes, and damage your dishwasher. Also, use a rinse aid to help the dishes dry faster and prevent spots and streaks.
  • Choose the appropriate cycle and settings for your load, depending on how dirty and delicate your dishes are. Some dishwashers have sensors that automatically adjust the water temperature, pressure, and duration to the load, while others have different options that you can select manually. For example, you can use a normal cycle for regular loads, a heavy cycle for pots and pans, and a light cycle for glassware and china.
  • Run the dishwasher at night or during off-peak hours, when the electricity demand and rates are lower. This can save you money and reduce the strain on the power grid. Also, avoid opening the dishwasher during the cycle, as this can cause heat and water loss and extend the cycle time.
  • Clean and maintain your dishwasher regularly, to keep it in good working condition and prevent problems. Check and clean the filters, spray arms, and door seals at least once a month, and remove any food debris or deposits. Also, run an empty cycle with vinegar or a dishwasher cleaner every few months, to remove any grease, limescale, or odors.
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Conclusion

Running a full dishwasher is the best way to use your dishwasher, as it saves water, energy, detergent, and money, while giving you clean and dry dishes. However, you also need to follow some best practices to optimize your dishwasher performance and avoid common problems, such as scraping off large food particles, loading the dishes properly, using the right amount and type of detergent, choosing the appropriate cycle and settings, running the dishwasher at night or during off-peak hours, and cleaning and maintaining your dishwasher regularly. By doing so, you can enjoy the benefits of your dishwasher and protect the environment at the same time.