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Demystifying Dishwasher Water Usage: How Much Water Does Your Dishwasher Really Use?

by Spencers TV & Appliance

Cactus City View

At a Glance:

How Much Water Does a Dishwasher Use?

How to Save Even More Water When Washing Your Dishes

Top Water-Saving Dishwashers for Your Home

Additional Water-Saving Tips for Living in Arizona

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Trust Spencers Appliance?

Residents of Phoenix and surrounding areas are being asked to think about their water usage. While the desert is a beautiful and striking place to live, it isn’t an easy place for humans to collect water. City officials are currently evaluating what a reduction of water will mean for real estate development and the long-term growth of the area.

While no single resident can resolve the water crisis alone, we can all work together to reduce our daily consumption levels. One way to do this is by using a dishwasher. How much water does a dishwasher use – and is it really more efficient than rinsing dishes by hand? It’s time to bust the myth that dishwashers are wasteful so more Phoenix residents can start using them.

Discover Your Next Dishwasher at Spencers

If you want to conserve water and shorten your dishwashing time, take a look at the dishwasher options available at Spencers Appliance.

Dishwasher Options

How Much Water Does a Dishwasher Use?

Water consumption in dishwashers has been a hot debate in households across the country. People feel that dishwashers waste water and electricity while they run their cycles. However, this is simply not true. Even if you only use a single sink full of water to clean your dishes (rather than continuously running water throughout the cleaning process) you will use more water than a modern dishwasher. Here is what you need to know.

  • The average person will use 15 gallons of water to wash their dishes every five minutes if they keep their sink running throughout. It’s not uncommon for families to use 45 gallons of water to hand wash their dishes each day.
  • If you fill your sink and then turn off the water, you will use five gallons on average.
  • A dishwasher created in 1994 used between 9-14 gallons of water to complete a cycle.
  • Modern-day dishwashers that are Energy-Star certified will use less than 4 gallons of water for a complete cycle.

This means that a dishwasher bought in 2023 with an Energy Star logo can save more than 40 gallons of water per cycle compared to hand-washing with a running faucet. These dishwashers also use less water than if you filled your sink.

How to Save Even More Water When Washing Your Dishes

If you are concerned about energy consumption, then the question, “how much water does a dishwasher use,” is only the first place to start. Your dishwasher also requires electricity to run the motor and heat the water (unless it pulls from your water heater). There are additional ways to reduce your water and energy consumption after you install a new dishwasher.

  • Stop pre-rinsing. Now that you know how much water your faucet uses, take steps to reduce your running water consumption. Scrape off food particles and let your appliance remove grease and oil.
  • Look for models that air-dry dishes. Modern dishwashers have air dry cycles where the door pops open so the water can evaporate. This means you will use less electricity to dry your dishes.
  • Only run your dishwasher when it is full. Also, look for large-capacity models that can hold several place settings. This means you will run fewer cycles as a whole.
  • Set your cycles carefully. You don’t necessarily have to use the hottest settings. Opting for cooler cycles can reduce the work your heaters have to do.

You can also reduce your water and electricity usage by limiting how many plates and utensils you use each day. Consider wiping off your breakfast plate if it’s still fairly clean and using it for lunch as well.

Top Water-Saving Dishwashers for Your Home

If you have an older dishwasher that isn’t as efficient as it could be, there are plenty of Energy Star-certified models to choose from. Here are a few top picks that you can find at Spencer’s TV & Appliance.

Whirlpool® 24" Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel Built-In Dishwasher

Whirlpool 24in Stainless Steel Built In Dishwasher

Whirlpool 24in Stainless Steel Built In Dishwasher

This model by Whirlpool highlights how storage plays a big role in water consumption. The extra 3rd rack allows you to store more items and better organize your dishwasher. You can run fewer cycles while still getting the results you want.

More than 93% of customers would recommend this dishwasher to others. One person writes, “Replaced an older Whirlpool with this updated version and I love it! Works great for our large family gatherings and the extra space is wonderful. Is extremely quiet and efficient.”

GE® 24" Stainless Steel Built-In Dishwasher

GE 24in Stainless Steel Built In Dishwasher

GE 24in Stainless Steel Built In Dishwasher

Modern dishwashers are built to prevent customers from pre-rinsing dishes so they can use less water. For example, this dishwasher by GE comes with a proprietary Piranha™ hard food disposer that breaks up crumbs and other particles. It has a stainless steel blade that rotates at 3,600 RPM to prevent clogs. All food particles are pulverized and whisked away.

Check out customer reviews to see what people think about this dishwasher and why you should buy it.

KitchenAid® 24" Stainless Steel with Printshield Built-In Dishwasher

KitchenAid 24in Stainless Steel Built In Dishwasher

KitchenAid 24in Stainless Steel Built In Dishwasher

Not only do modern dishwashers use less water, but they also are smarter about how they use it. For example, this appliance comes with a ProWash™ cycle that uses sensors to identify how dirty your dishes are. The dishwasher will use less water and a shorter cycle if the dishes don’t need a heavy-duty cleaning. Why waste water on something that isn’t needed?

Around 93% of customers would recommend this dishwasher. One person says, “I had to put my ear to the dishwasher to tell if it was operating. This and getting the dishes clean were my two concerns and this Kitchen Aid fulfilled them.”

Bosch® 100 Series 24" Stainless Steel Built-In Dishwasher

Bosch 100 Series 24in Stainless Steel Built In Dishwasher

Bosch 100 Series 24in Stainless Steel Built In Dishwasher

Bosch is one of the most reliable dishwasher brands on the market. One of the best features is how quiet it is. Bosch uses an EcoSilence™ motor system that maximizes performance with low noise emission. Enjoy peace and quiet within your home.

More than 92% of customers would recommend this Bosch dishwasher. One customer writes, “This dishwasher is very well made and cleans all types of dishes, pots, and pans. And, it is very quiet. Very easy to load and unload as well.”

Additional Water-Saving Tips for Living in Arizona

Just because you live in a desert doesn’t mean you need to dramatically change your life to reduce water usage. Several small changes can add up to make a big impact. Here are a few healthy habits you can develop to drop your overall water consumption.

  • Don’t run the water when you brush your teeth. You can also turn off the water when you are soaping up your hands while washing them.
  • Invest in a low-flow showerhead. You likely won’t notice a change in the water pressure but will use less water with each shower.
  • Rethink your grass lawn. Natural desert landscaping will attract more pollinators and might be easier for you to maintain.
  • Sweep walkways or use a blower instead of hosing them clean.
  • Invest in a pool cover to avoid evaporation when it isn’t in use. 
  • Repair leaks as so as you discover them. Not only will this help with water conservation but you can also protect your floors and walls. Plus, a small leak can grow into a big one if it is left unchecked.

There are countless ways to save water depending on your lifestyle. You can still enjoy your favorite hobbies (like swimming in the pool and growing orchids) while still being mindful of your water use. 


Is Arizona in danger of running out of water?

As a desert climate, Arizona will always have less water than other parts of the country; however, experts are working to make sure everyone has access to safe water and the water supplies remain stable each year. Residents can do their part by reducing their daily water consumption.

Can you save water by using a dishwasher?

Once you have an answer to, “how much hot water does a dishwasher use,” you will never want to hand wash your dishes ever again. Most dishwashers use less than 5 gallons of water per cycle. Hand washing with a continuously running faucet will use 15 gallons of water every five minutes. Even filling your sink will use 5-10 gallons of water.

Is it cheaper to run a dishwasher or wash by hand?

In the debate between dishwasher vs. hand washing, there are many reasons to run your dishwasher. It is cheaper in the long run because you use less water – most dishwashers only use four gallons of water per cycle. You can also save time by not scrubbing plates and utensils by yourself.

Why Trust Spencers TV & Appliance?

Since 1973, Spencers TV & Appliance has grown to 10 locations throughout the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. The secret to our longevity is simple: personal service. Customer satisfaction has always been the focus of our business, and throughout the years, we have been able to work hard with our suppliers to bring you the best prices. After all, getting customers the best price and personal attention is how we compete with big-box stores, day in and day out.

Not only do we offer top-rated appliances, name-brand electronics, and the best mattresses on the market but we also provide water treatment solutions and perform kitchen design services. Stop by your nearest Spencers and see what you’re missing!

Shop Dishwashers at Spencers

At Spencer’s TV & Appliance, we provide high-quality, name-brand products at great prices — check out our catalog to shop Energy Star-certified dishwashers online today. Your friends in the business are always happy to help you understand how much water does a dishwasher use based on your kitchen habits. Call us, or better yet, stop by at one of our locations in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Glendale regions. Visit us today!

Learn More: Dishwasher Leaking from the Bottom? Here's What To Do