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Should You Run a Dishwasher That’s Not Full?

Person is about to start a dishwasher.

If you’re standing in front of your half-filled dishwasher, pondering whether to press that “start” button or wait for a full load, you’re not alone. This is a common dilemma that often sparks a lively debate among homeowners. None of us want to waste water and none of us want a dirty kitchen.

But it’s time to stop stressing. Your dishwasher is designed to be a water-saving wizard, so there’s no harm in running half a load.

According to modern research, washing dishes by hand wastes far more water than your efficient dishwasher. Even a half-loaded dishwasher is more efficient than hand-washing. It’s estimated that running a dishwasher with only eight dishes in it is saving water compared to hand washing.

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Of course, the most efficient way to use your dishwasher is with a full load, since this helps you get the most out of your wash cycle…but a half-load still doesn’t hurt. How and when you run your dishwasher is up to your preferences.

Running a half load will prevent food from drying onto your dishes while you wait for a full load, and it uses less water than hand washing and rinsing. If you’re in a rush and don’t want to wait, half a load is a great way to go.

For the environmentally conscious, you can maximize your dishwasher efficiency by waiting for a full load. Combine this with using eco-friendly dishwasher detergent, and you’ll be well on your way to green dishwashing routine.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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