Do you have to have dishwasher hands to be green?

Posted by Laura Grant on March 27, 2008
Posted in Lifestyle

dishwasher.jpgThere have been ads on TV lately promoting dishwashers as more energy efficient than hand washing – I took that information with a pinch of salt, coming from the appliance manufacturers as it did. But something on the Friends of the Earth website has made me take another look at the issue.

It says that research verified by the University of Bonn puts the average household water usage at 60 litres for two or three hand washes a day, while a new dishwasher typically uses 12 litres per wash. Assuming that middle-class South Africans use about the same amount of water to wash up as Europeans. This would seem to be a significant water saving.

The environmental group does point out that

What this doesn’t take into account, however, is the total energy used to manufacture the dishwasher, the transport costs and raw materials used or hand-washing habits.

You’d need to use your dishwasher’s eco-setting, of course. And, alas, environment-friendly plant-based products to use in dishwashers just don’t seem to be available in South Africa. Perhaps this is a gap in the market someone will step in to soon, though. But just maybe you don’t need to be elbow-deep in dishwater to be green after all.

For more information about dishwashers and water usage, FOE points to


One Response to “Do you have to have dishwasher hands to be green?”

  1. Katherine
    June 30th, 2008 @ 8:18 am

    Just to let you know there is a new eco-friendly dishwasher detergent on the market in SA. The brand is called Bloublommetjies and the products are manufactured on the Bloublommetjies Biodynamic Farm in Wellington.

    I bought their dishwasher paste on the Faithful to Nature website (
    The ingredients are Sodium Bicarb, Kaolin, Coconut Soap.

    The paste works quite well although it does leave a slight residue, but it’s worth it to not have that cloud of chemical smelling steam hit your face when you open your dishwasher door.

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