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Are you guilty of ‘double dishwashing’? Here’s how it’s damaging the environment

Millions of UK households are using their dishwashers incorrectly, wasting both money and water, according to new research.
Millions of UK households are using their dishwashers incorrectly, wasting both money and water, according to new research. Copyright Mohammad Esmaili
Copyright Mohammad Esmaili
By Rebecca Ann Hughes
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Three in five of the 12 million UK households with a dishwasher admit to pre-rinsing their dishes before loading the dishwasher.

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Millions of UK households are using their dishwashers incorrectly, wasting both money and water, according to new research.

Utilita Energy, the UK’s only supplier created to help households use less energy, analysed results from a 2,000-household behaviour study to find the most common dishwasher bad habits.

The group found that UK households are pouring £450 million (€525 million) down the drain each year by not using their dishwashers correctly.

Here are the two key things to steer clear of when using your appliance.

Dishwasher bad habits waste £450 million a year

Incorrect use of dishwashers is leading almost 8 million UK households to waste £71 (€83) a year in electricity and water.

Needlessly rinsing items before loading the dishwasher and not switching to ECO mode cause the highest financial losses, according to Utilita Energy.

Three in five of the 12 million UK households with a dishwasher admit to pre-rinsing their dishes before loading the dishwasher. The most common reasons for ‘double dishwashing’ were concerns about clogging the appliance and wanting to keep it clean.

Two in five households said they rinsed items until completely clean before loading them into the dishwasher.

The ‘double dishwashing’ habit costs households around £38 (€44) a year when using hot water and £11 (€13) when using cold.

Utilita Energy’s research also found that three in five households have never used their dishwasher’s ECO mode, which lowers the wash and rinse temperatures during a cycle. Using this setting could save households £34 (€40) a year on average.

‘Double dishwashing’ wastes 4,576 litres of water a year

Bad dishwashing habits are also damaging the planet, the Utilita Energy study found.

Pre-rinsing dishes wastes 4,576 litres of clean water each year - across all households that equates to 2,422 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The group also calculated that the environmental impact of ‘double dishwashing’ is equivalent to the carbon emissions generated by driving 849 million miles in a standard car - or 34,000 times around the Earth’s equator.

The Utilita Energy research hopes to encourage UK households to change their dishwasher habits.

“Knowing what our habits are costing us can encourage us to reconsider our behaviours, and in this case, the savings are significant, so should hopefully make households think twice,” Utilita’s head of sustainability, Archie Lasseter, says.

“We can tell households how much money they’ll save, but until they load the dishwasher without pre-rinsing, and see positive results every time, they won’t be convinced. We hope that this informative campaign will encourage people to put confidence in their machines and save the pocket and the planet in the process.”

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