Stop Washing Your Dishes By Hand!
Despite what your mother may have told you, taking the easy way out when it comes to the after-dinner dishes is the right choice. Evidence now shows that using a dishwasher is the healthy and ecologically-friendly thing to do. Even rinsing the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher is a bad idea.
Because today's dishwashers are so energy efficient, you are not able to save water by hand washing your pots, pans, and plates. You would have to scrub eight full place settings while keeping the water on under two minutes to use less water than an Energy Star-certified dishwasher. Unless you have trained heavily for a dishwashing race, chances are you cannot meet those numbers.
Rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher is not a good practice. The average household wastes 6,000 gallons of water a year on this habit, which does not get your dishes cleaner. Why? Because of your water heater. The temperature of your rinse water will not be close to the 140 - 145 degrees Fahrenheit that dishwashers use to get things super clean. Water heaters should only be set at a maximum 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding, so your tap water will not be able to kill all the bacteria that a dishwasher can.
Speaking of bacteria, chances are you are using a sponge to wash your dishes. The kitchen sponge has been proven to be the most disgusting, germy item in the home. It is worse than the toilet seat and the garbage can. Every time you use it on your dishes, you are spreading a layer of potent bacteria across your eating surfaces. Since using warm water and soap does not kill germs anyway, you are mixing up a delightful unsanitary soup in your sink.
Those of you who do not have a dishwasher are giving your kids one advantage. According to a Swedish study, your children will be less likely to develop allergies, probably because you are exposing them to more bacteria.
If you have been sticking to hand washing because you thought it was a better method, shake off your shackles and buy a dishwasher. If you have a dishwasher and have been pre-rinsing, stop it. You are just wasting water as well as time. You cannot get your water hot enough to beat a dishwasher's cleaning ability without setting your water heater too high and burning your skin. Keep your tap water at a moderate temperature and let the dishwasher scald those germs.