6 Ways to Save Money
1. Use the lightest cycle possible. “The heavier the cycle, the more water and energy you use,” says Edwards. Heavier cycles mean more tub fills and drains. Normal cycles typically fill four or five times, light washes around three.
2. Use less detergent. “How much you use should depend on how much food soil is in the machine, not on how many dishes,” says Dries. Experiment to determine the smallest amount that works, and consult your manual, which tells you precisely how much to use. My dishes clean just fine with a teaspoon of powder detergent.
3. Don’t run the hot water beforehand. “Some people run hot water in their sink for a minute before starting the dishwasher, assuming that the water going into the dishwasher will then be warmer,” says Dries. But there’s no need—modern dishwashers have their own water-heating element, to heat water well above the 120°F of most household faucets.
4. Skip heat drying. (Unless you need dry dishes immediately.) The dishes will dry on their own, especially if you’re using a rinse aid. A trick of the trade: If you happen to be standing next to the dishwasher when it finishes, open the door. “Flash drying” will happen: The dishes are at their hottest point, and when suddenly exposed to cool air, they’ll give up moisture at the fastest rate.
5. Rinse and hold. It’s absolutely fine to run your dishwasher once a week. In the meantime, just run the rinse-and-hold cycle to prevent smells.
6. Always run it full. You knew that already, right?