If you don't use the dishwasher you are going to DIE!!!
January 6, 2011 6:32 PM Subscribe
Dishwasher vs Washing Dishes By Hand -- Which is better and/or safer?
posted by buckaroo_benzai to Health & Fitness (37 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have been washing dishes by hand and letting them dry on a rack for the past 15 years. My new roommate insists on using the dishwasher and wants me to get with the program. I'm refusing, and she's accusing me of being unsanitary and putting my health at risk.
1) It's easier for me to wash something by hand, let it dry overnight, and use it again the next day. I have a limited supply of some things like a couple of mason jars that I use for smoothies, and pyrex containers that I use for lunch. If I had to put them in the dishwasher, they wouldn't be available for use for 2-3 days, so I'd have to buy extra. This seems insane.
2) While things washed in a dishwasher may be subjectively "cleaner" as my roommate claims, I counterclaim that there is nothing wrong with washing things by hand and letting them dry on a rack. I do not know of a good reason why washing dishes by hand with soap (even with cold water) would be less sanitary.
1) She says that washing dishes by hand is unsanitary, especially if you use water that is less than 110 F. She claims this greatly increases the risk for food-borne illnesses like salmonella. The dishwasher, she notes, has a heating element that gets hot enough to kill any germs.
(I don't know where this mythical 110F figure is from, since I thought 160 F was the temp needed to kill bacteria)
2) Using the dishwasher is more efficient than hand washing and uses less water.
I contend that her arguments are mostly bunk. I could see how a regular dishwasher may use less water, BUT our dishwasher is a portable one that connects to the sink faucet and so the hot water is on the entire time and it's not a tight connection so there is always a small stream of hot water leaking down the drain. Over the course of the hour (!) that the dishwasher runs, I am sure it uses more hot water and more energy than I use hand washing (with cold water) the same amount of dishes.
Also, I'm pretty sure that most food illness bacteria need water to survive, so if you hand wash and any germs are (in the rare case) left on the dishes, they will die once the water dries up/off. Last but not least, I am hardly ever sick and certainly have never had anything that I have ever thought to attribute to not properly washing my dishes (I haven't been sick of even had an upset stomach in 3+ years).
Who is right?
(Note: I do wash with warm water when dealing with oily/fatty foods so that it liquefies and gets bound up in the soap better, but if I'm just rinsing out a tea mug or something simple, I use cold water)