Leaving one household chore off your checklist could save time, water, energy AND money according to several organizations dedicated to promoting energy efficiency. Consumer Reports, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Program, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy all say that washing your dishes by hand is not only a drain on time, energy and water, but is completely unnecessary, according to the Washington Post:

  1. Dishwashers are more energy efficient than ever! Because of federal standards and advances in technology, dishwashers more energy efficient, saving you money.

    “While it may be possible to use less water/energy by washing dishes by hand, it is extremely unlikely,” Jonah Schein, technical coordinator for homes and buildings in the EPA’s WaterSense program, said in a statement. Schein was referring, in particular, to Energy Star-certified dishwashers, not all dishwashers.
    By using less energy to do the same job, an Energy Star-certified dishwasher can help reduce overall energy usage which translates to savings on your monthly utility bill.
  1. Newer dishwashers save more water than you can! “In order to wash the same amount of dishes that can fit in a single load of a full size dishwasher and use less water, you would need to be able to wash eight full place settings and still limit the total amount of time that the faucet was running to less than two minutes,” he said.This saves not only water, but even more energy when you take into consideration the energy used to heat the water used for handwashing.

But can your dishes really get clean without a quick-prewash? If your dishwasher is a newer model, then absolutely, according to one expert:

“An old dishwasher, to generalize, didn’t get dishes very clean unless you pre-washed,” says Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. “The new dishwashers, that is not an issue. Almost all of them have what’s called soil sensors. Depending on how dirty the dishes are, they will wash more or less. They will get the dishes clean.”

So the next time you’re facing a sink full of dirty dishes, do yourself and your water bill a favor: load the dishwasher and walk away.