5 Earth-friendly ways to wash your dishes

When mealtime dish duty calls, follow these tips to save water and energy.

Among eco-friendly tips for doing the dishes: Using the dishwasher saves water compared to most hand-washing methods.
Photograph by MARK THIESSEN, NGM STAFF

If you have a dishwasher, use it. Running a full load typically uses a fraction of the water and generates less than half the greenhouse gases compared to most hand-washing methods.

In the United States, the most efficient ones carry the Energy Star label. Some machines use just 2.3 gallons of water for a full wash cycle—about the same amount you’d use in one minute of running the kitchen tap.

It can be a hard habit to break, but you don’t need to run your dishes under the faucet before putting them on the dishwashing rack. If there’s dried-on debris, use the dishwasher’s rinse feature instead of doing it yourself.

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