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How Much Water Does a Dishwasher Use?



Newer dishwashers use an average of 3-4 gallons of water.

More Info: A new Energy Star qualified dishwasher uses 4 to 6 gallons of water per cycle, while other models can use from six to 16 gallons depending on the age and model.

As of August 2009, Energy Star qualified dishwashers must use 5.8 gallons of water per cycle or less. A dishwasher bought before 1994 uses around eight more gallons of water compared to a new Energy Star qualified model. Newer models often have the option to use a shorter cycle for less soiled dishes or can be set to skip the pre-rinsing stage.

Here are a few water-saving tips for the environmentally conscious dishwasher:

  • Fill it up… but not too full. Unless you are in a rush to have clean dishes, wait until the dishwasher is filled up but still has enough space around the dishes for proper cleaning.
  • Instead of rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, just scrape off the bigger scraps and let the washer do the rest. Some models even have a pre-rinse that uses far less water than by-hand rinsing if you are worried about hard-to-clean dishes.
  • Saving energy is good too. Since the main energy cost when using a dishwasher is in heating the water, which is also needed when washing by hand, the more water-efficient your dishwasher is, the more energy it conserves. Consider letting dishes air-dry over night to save even more on that electric bill instead of using the dishwasher’s drying cycle.




“How much water do you use?.” City of Greensboro, NC – Official Website. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May 2010.

“Dishwashers : ENERGY STAR.” Home : ENERGY STAR. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May 2010.

“Water Use Calculator.” TAMPA FLORIDA USA municipal government – official web site for the City of Tampa, Florida. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May 2010.

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