Which one do you think is most eco-friendly?
When we look at water consumption, a dishwasher uses a lot LESS water than washing those same dishes by hand. 87% less even.
When washing the dishes by hand, there are several stages to the cleaning process. First, you're waiting for your water to get hot. You can be pre-rinsing your dishes, sending the water straight down the drain. You also might want to change the water a couple of times, making sure it's not too filthy when you're cleaning your dishes. After that, you might want to rinse off all the soap that's left on your dishes. And last, you've got your sponge and sink to clean. This process averages out to using 100 liters of water. 100 liters!!
However, when we consider energy use, washing the dishes by hand could be more eco-friendly - depending on your habits and water use. A dishwasher uses about 1.5kwh of energy to run a wash, costing about 22 pennies. This is comparable to running the hot tap for 6-9 minutes, or changing up the water 2 to 3 times.
Lastly we have the fact that it costs a whole lot of energy and resources to produce, build, ship and install a dishwasher. And it costs quite a bit of money as well. Unfortunately I can't find any information anywhere online that tells me how much energy and resources it takes to make a dishwasher.
If you're anything like me, you might prefer to spend money instead of time cleaning and you'd do some research on what dishwasher to get. We're currently renting, so we have never needed to make a decision of building a kitchen with or without a dishwasher, and which dishwasher that would be.
We are a small household and have a small dishwasher in our apartment. We always use the eco-friendly setting and fill it up as much as possible. Sometimes it takes 3 days to fill it up. And that's okay, because lazy as I am, I don’t like doing the dishes anyway.