Handwashing vs. Automatic Dishwasher: Which Cleans Dishes Better?

When it comes to cleaning dishes, the debate between handwashing and using an automatic dishwasher has been ongoing for years. Many people swear by their dishwashers, while others insist that handwashing is the only way to ensure a thorough clean. But which method is truly superior? Let’s delve into the science behind both methods to determine which one is more effective at cleaning dishes.

Handwashing Dishes

Handwashing dishes involves scrubbing each dish with a sponge or dishcloth, using dish soap and hot water. This method allows for a detailed clean, as you can focus on each dish individually. However, it can be time-consuming and uses more water than a dishwasher.

Pros of Handwashing

  • Allows for a detailed clean.

  • Can clean dishes that are not dishwasher safe.

  • Does not require electricity.

Cons of Handwashing

  • Can be time-consuming.

  • Uses more water than a dishwasher.

  • May not kill all bacteria, as the water may not be hot enough.

Using an Automatic Dishwasher

An automatic dishwasher cleans dishes by spraying them with hot water and detergent, then drying them with heat. This method is less labor-intensive and uses less water than handwashing. However, not all dishes are dishwasher safe, and some may not come out as clean as they would with handwashing.

Pros of Using a Dishwasher

  • Less labor-intensive than handwashing.

  • Uses less water than handwashing.

  • Can kill more bacteria, as the water is hotter than what is safe for handwashing.

Cons of Using a Dishwasher

  • Not all dishes are dishwasher safe.

  • May not clean as thoroughly as handwashing, especially for dishes with stuck-on food.

  • Requires electricity.

Which Method Cleans Better?

According to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, dishwashers are more effective at removing bacteria from dishes than handwashing. This is because dishwashers use hotter water than is safe for hands, which kills more bacteria. However, if dishes are not loaded correctly or have stuck-on food, they may not come out as clean as they would with handwashing.

In conclusion, while handwashing can provide a detailed clean, using an automatic dishwasher is generally more effective at removing bacteria, making it the better option for cleaning dishes. However, it’s important to use the right method for the right dishes and to load your dishwasher correctly to ensure a thorough clean.