Bryan McEleney

Dishwashers versus hand washing. Are dishwashers a waste of money?

I suspect that dishwashing machines are a waste of money. To wash a few plates along with the pots and pans takes only a few minutes work, but the running cost of the dishwasher is surely greater than this. Lets add up the numbers.

For this thought-experiment, we will work out the daily cost of using a dishwasher, assuming it is run once per day. We will consider normal items to be washed - plates, cups and saucers, bowls, knives and forks, some pans and cooking implements. We will assume that it's necessary to wash the pans and implements separately by hand.

We will ignore electrity and detergent costs as they are small and feature as costs for both manual and machine washing.

Cost of washing by hand

The cost of washing by hand is small and simple to determine since we have already paid the startup costs of doing the pans by hand. An extra ten minutes of work, where work is valued at 20 euros per hour is less than 4 euros. Many find dishwashing to be a pleasant activity after a meal, some do not, so the value of work may vary. For each day we will have two meals, so the total cost is 8 euros per day

Cost of using a dishwasher

The total cost for the dishwasher is then 10.2 euros per day


So there we have it: Handwashing 8 euros per day versus dishwasher 10.2 euros per day. Yearly saving by handwashing - at least 500 euro