Gareth Jones, 
Sustainability Manager

What does the eco mode on your dishwasher actually do?

If you have a dishwasher then you’ll expect it to wash all your cups, plates and glasses as quickly as possible whilst ensuring that everything comes out sparkly and clean. Whilst there are a myriad of different dishwasher programmes you can use to make your crockery all spick and span this blog post takes a look at the, somewhat mysterious, Eco mode and how it can save you water, energy and money.

Firstly, what does ‘eco’ actually mean?

We commonly use it to describe things that are not harmful to the environment such as when we say something that is eco-friendly. In this case the word eco is derived from the word ecology but it’s also the short form of the word economy which is about saving money rather than saving the planet. The eco setting on your dishwasher means both because, as you will see, it helps you to be more sustainable and save money whilst providing you with clean dishes.

Save water, electricity and money

If you have ever used the eco mode on your dishwasher you might have found that it actually takes longer than a standard wash and so you might be wondering how on earth a longer wash will save electricity and water when the dishwasher is on for longer. In fact, washing for longer is the secret to how the eco mode uses less electricity and water. By allowing the dishes to soak in soap for longer, less water is needed to rinse them and therefore as less water is used less electricity is also needed to heat the water. As the cleaning cycle is longer the dishwasher can heat the water slower than the average cycle, and to a lower temperature (usually around 50°C), which saves even more electricity. Clever dishwasher models will also detect how dirty the water is and reuse it if it is clean enough which adds to the saving. If you have the option to air dry on your dishwasher, use this over the heat dry setting as this will save you a lot of electricity.

How much does it actually save? 

The amount of water, electricity and money that you will save will depend on your dishwasher model and your operations manual may be able to tell you specifically what your dishwasher will save. However to save you the time and effort of looking for your manual, if you still have it, you should find that on average, eco mode will save you around 20%-40% on your electricity costs and around 3 litres of water per wash. Start saving money on your utility bills and be more efficient today by making eco mode your go-to dishwasher programme.

What if I have really, really stained dishes? 

If you have dishes encrusted with leftover food or particularly stubborn stains you might find that eco mode just won’t cut it by itself. In this situation the most eco thing to do would be to scrape as much debris as you can into the bin and soak your dishes in the sink if needs be.

Avoid using the rinse mode on your dishwasher which simply sprays water over your dishes as a way of controlling odours before you are ready to run a full wash. You’ll save water, and get a better result, if you soak items in your sink.

My Final tips

Whilst it might be tempting to use the half load mode on your dishwasher it is usually more efficient to wait until you have a complete wash as you’ll use less water and energy on one eco wash than on two half load programme washes.

For a better finish, and to be even more sustainable, choose a suitable eco-friendly detergent which works well at lower temperatures.

Finally, if your dishwasher has a delayed start mode you can set it to start at night when you might be on a cheaper electricity tariff. Running your dishwasher overnight also allows more time for items to dry – especially if you are using the less-energy intensive air drying mode.

That’s it – Do your bit for the environment and your bank balance with one push of a button!


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