‘Expensive’ time to avoid using dishwashers as prices ‘skyrocket’

Alice Beer advises against using dishwasher between 6-8pm

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While it may seem like running an appliance every day or so for at least a half hour – and using hot water – can eat up money and energy, believe it or not, it doesn’t. Time and time again, dishwashers have proven to be more sanitary and greener than hand-washing. Of course, there is a specific way you should approach your dishwasher to ensure that you are reaping the benefits of the energy efficient appliance, rather than costing yourself more money over time. With that in mind, Dmitry Lestman, Dishwashing Category Manager at home appliance brand Indesit has shared five simple hacks to help you keep energy bills down when using your dishwasher. 

1. Load the dishwasher properly 

The manner in which you load your dishwasher has a great impact on how efficient it will be. 

The expert said: “Improperly loading the dishwasher may prevent effective cleaning, leading to either another wash or rinsing with water. 

“A common mistake you’ll want to avoid is blocking the spray arms (the rotating plastic blades that look like they belong on a helicopter) because it’s from here that the cleaning water is released.”

Dishwashers work with a spray arm that sends water squirting all around the dishwasher. However, the more you overload the dishwasher, the harder it is for the water – and detergent – to reach all the dishes.

Dmitry added: “You might also want to chuck in a rolled-up piece of tinfoil in the cutlery department to bring out that extra sparkle for next to nothing. The aluminium in the foil oxidises the detergent which helps remove even the toughest stains.”

2. Avoid peak energy hours

Depending on where you reside, you may benefit from washing your dishes during off-peak hours.

The expert said: “Most energy companies charge more at peak hours, usually between 8am and 8pm, meaning any dishwasher cycle put on during that time will be more expensive. 

“To lower these costs, save the dishwasher cycle until after 8pm or whack it on the very first thing in the morning – just make sure it’s finished before 8am when the prices skyrocket.”

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Most dishwashers will have a delay timer, so you could program it in advance to run during off peak times.  

3. Don’t forget about eco cycles

According to Dmitry, “the easiest way” to “minimise the costs” of running a dishwasher is to make frequent use of its eco-cycle setting. 

He said: “Eco-cycles save energy (and therefore money) because they run at slightly lower temperatures – and fortunately without sacrificing cleaning efficacy, though they might take a little longer than standard cycles. 

“In this case it seems a little patience might go a long way when it comes to energy-savings.” 

4. Fully load the dishwasher

Only run a cycle when your dishwasher is at full capacity. Instead of washing only partial loads, wait until you have a full load before you start your dishwasher.

Waiting for a full load gets you the most cleaning power for your money to spend on water and energy.

The expert said: “A dishwasher is more powerful than you think. If you haven’t filled it completely, but simply must put on a cycle, at least consider the various items that could use a clean – and which unbeknownst to most can often be safely placed and washed in the dishwasher. 

“These include toothbrush holders, soap dishes, vases, and even baseball caps. This way you’ll save on the energy you would have otherwise used cleaning these items in the sink/washing machine.”

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5. Look after the dishwasher

Failing to clean your dishwasher filter can cause “limescale build-up and other clogs”, which can make your “appliance less efficient to run”, warned Dmitry.

He instructed: “To clean the filter, which is located at the bottom of the tub, simply take it out and wash it in warm soapy water. 

“Once that’s done, don’t forget to clean the remainder of the dishwasher as well. 

“An effective way to prevent these obstructions is to sprinkle baking soda and a cup of white wine vinegar (both common, affordable household items) onto the bottom of the dishwasher before placing it on the hottest cycle.”

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