Can anyone honestly say that they like washing dishes? Maybe 99.99% of you can’t, which is why the dishwasher was invented. This awesome kitchen appliance has made it way easier for families to enjoy experimenting in the kitchen and dining together by alleviating the one chore every person hates the most.
Today, I’m going to share with you several facts and stats about dishwashers. So, if you’d like to learn more about how this appliance came to be, what non-dish items it can wash, and how it has changed over the years, stay awhile and listen!
History of Dishwashing
If you’re like me and find immense value in your dishwasher, then you probably want to learn about the history of dishwashers and dishwashing.
1. Joel Houghton patented the first crude dishwasher in 1850
Roughly 173 years ago, Joel Houghton received a patent for her revolutionary dishwasher. However, the dishwasher of her time was nothing compared to what we have in our kitchens today. It was virtually a large wooden box with a crank that, when turned, splashed water on dishes and operated simple scrubbers.
2. The grandmother of the modern-day dishwasher is Josephine Cochrane
This socialite born in 1839 often threw parties at home. However, she grew sick and tired of seeing her fine china becoming chipped after manually washing them, so she, the daughter of a civil engineer and granddaughter of a steamboat engineer, took matters into her own hands and set out to design the first dishwasher with water jets and a dish rack.
3. Miele produced the first electric dishwashers
Miele, the German brand known for manufacturing top-of-the-line appliances with top-of-the-line price tags, was the first brand to come up with the electric-powered dishwasher. However, it was still a luxury item that became increasingly inaccessible to the public due to the stock market crash.
4. William Howard Livens made the dishwasher a more effective cleaning appliance
In 1924, William Howard Livens, a soldier and engineer, came up with a small, domestic-grade dishwasher that featured a front door, wire racks, and a rotating sprayer. It’s considered to be the foundation for modern dishwashers to this very day.
5. The 1950s saw a boom in dishwasher sales
Although Livens’ modifications to the dishwasher made them more accessible, they were still luxury items. However, in the 1950s, more American families could afford to purchase a dishwasher. Moreover, upgrades in dishwasher technology made them more efficient and effective than ever.
6. Dishwashers are commonplace in America in the 1970s
Dishwashing Facts and Statistics
- The average dishwasher uses between 1.2 and 1.5 kWh of electricity per load.
- A single dishwasher cycle can run for between 90 minutes and 4 hours.
- On average, you can expect to pay $0.189 per wash cycle. At 5 cycles per week, that’s roughly $3.78 per month and $45.36 per year to run a dishwasher.
- You can reduce how much water and electricity your dishwasher uses by activating Eco Mode. The tradeoff for energy and resource efficiency is longer drying times.
- If you want to further save on water and energy costs, look for a dishwasher sporting the ENERGY STAR label. They may be costlier than their non-ENERGY STAR counterparts, but you can end up saving a lot more in the long term.
- The vast majority (roughly 80%) of the energy consumed by a dishwasher is used by the heating mechanism. You can reduce consumption by increasing your water heater’s temperature or activating a heat-less wash cycle.
- The average dishwasher will use around 14 gallons of water, while ENERGY STAR dishwashers use as little as 4 gallons of water per cycle. Compared to washing dishes by hand (upwards of 20 gallons), you’re saving a ton of water.
- Roughly 68% of the US population owns a dishwasher at home, while less than 20% of them actually use the appliance regularly.
- Dishwashers wash, rinse, and dry dishes. They dry dishes by generating heat that an internal fan redistributes evenly throughout the tub—sort of like a convection oven.
- Nonstick pans and specialty knives do not belong in a dishwasher.
- The dishwasher market is valued at over $7 billion. The growing number is mainly due to an increased awareness of hygiene, as well as busier lifestyles and disposable income to purchase luxury items.
- Miele makes the world’s quietest dishwasher at just 38 dBA.
- Miele also makes the world’s most expensive dishwashers, costing anywhere from $1,300 for a low-end model and upwards of $3,500 for a high-end, ultra-quiet piece.
- Bosch sells the most dishwashers in America. The second and third top sellers are KitchenAid and Whirlpool.
- The typical dishwasher has a lifespan of 10 years. With frequent maintenance, you can push that number up to 15 or even 20 years.
- Dishwashers used to have integrated garbage disposals. Nowadays, they are interconnected with a kitchen sink’s garbage disposal, with a filter assembly capturing most of the food particles.
- Dishwasher prices typically range from $600 to $3,000, depending on the size and installation of the model. It will usually cost more to get an integrated dishwasher than a freestanding one, not including the higher installation cost.
- To hardwire a dishwasher into your home, you should expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $2,000. Integrated dishwashers are costlier to install, but they are worth it if you want them to blend seamlessly in your kitchen’s décor.
- On average, the typical dishwasher can wash between 10 and 16 place settings. This is roughly the same as 100 to 160 items of various shapes and sizes.
- The average size of a dishwasher is 24 inches wide, 24 inches deep, and 34 inches tall.
- When installing an integrated dishwasher, you need to allow for at least ¾ of an inch of clearance on all sides of the machine to allow steam to vent.
- Arguably the best time to purchase a brand-new dishwasher is in May. This is because newer models are going to be released in the later months, and stores want to get rid of old stock as quickly as possible. Some retailers may offer up to 20% discounts on “old” (last year) models.
What Non-Dish Items Can a Dishwasher Clean?
1. Metal bathroom and kitchen fixtures
Just because showerheads and faucets aren’t dishes doesn’t mean you can’t stick them in your dishwasher. If your showerhead is clogged, simply unscrew it and pop it in the top dish rack. The heat and cool rinsing water will flush any clogs out of the showerhead. However, you will need to use a commercial cleaner or a vinegar solution to remove hard water stains.
2. Plastic combs and other hair accessories
Even though hair products can leave a sticky residue on these accessories, they can be cleaned easily in the dishwasher. Once you’ve gotten rid of every last hair, place each item inside a mesh bag or in the dishwasher basket. Keep in mind that heated water can potentially ruin brushes with wooden handles or natural bristles if you try this.
3. Baseball caps
A dishwasher is a great tool for maintaining the form of headwear. However, you shouldn’t use regular dishwasher detergent since it can contain bleach and stain your cap, so place the hats on the top rack with the opening facing down and wash them on a separate cycle. Borax, located in most grocery stores’ laundry sections, can be used to fill the detergent cup instead. Dry the hat by placing it over a glass or jar and running a regular cycle without the heated dry option. Reshape the brim while it’s still warm and wet.
4. Plastic toys
While the heat in a dishwasher can melt plastic, this usually isn’t the case for large plastic items such as children’s toys. If you want to sanitize your kid’s toys, simply insert them in a mesh bag and place the bag on the top dish rack, along with any dishes you want to clean. Run a normal wash cycle and let it come to a complete stop before taking the toys out and drying them.
5. Pet bowls
It goes without saying that pet bowls and toys need to be washed thoroughly and frequently. Instead of washing them by hand in the sink, simply run them through a regular wash cycle in your dishwasher. However, I suggest separating your pet’s dishes from your own to prevent cross-contamination. You can use regular dishwasher detergent to wash your pet bowls.
6. Sponges and brushes
Very rarely do people consider washing their kitchen sponges and brushes since it’s easier to replace them. However, if you want to extend the life of your sponges and brushes, simply place them in a dishwasher and run a normal wash cycle.
7. Personal hygiene items
I’m talking about toothbrushes, toothbrush holders, soap trays, reusable perfume bottles, etc. Anything that’s plastic, silicone, or glass can go in the dishwasher, as long as it’s rated to withstand temperatures of over 150°F. If not, you will need to sanitize them using another method.
1. Is it better to wash dishes by hand?
There are undoubtedly times when it can be more economical to wash dishes by hand. For instance, if you don’t want to strip the Teflon layer of your nonstick pan, you should wash it by hand with regular dish soap and the soft side of a sponge. For nearly everything else, it makes more sense to use a dishwasher.
Dishwashers use much less water than washing dishes by hand. While you have to take electricity costs into account, they’re negligible at best (roughly $45 per year or $0.189 per cycle) compared to how much more water you’d use when hand-washing dishes.
2. Dishwasher pod or powder detergent?
In terms of cleaning efficacy, pods and powder detergent are hand-in-hand. However, from a convenience standpoint, pods are superior since they’re already premeasured, and you don’t have to worry about spilling them all over the place.
In addition, some pods and tablets come with other cleaning agents, such as rinse aid. You would normally have to add it separately if you use powder detergent.
3. How to soften dishwasher water?
With nearly 90% of homes in America dealing with hard water sources, it’s not a surprise that so many dishwasher owners find unsightly streaks and specks all over their dishes. To overcome this problem, you can try installing a water filter that captures the majority of the magnesium and calcium ions from your water source.
Alternatively, you can use dishwasher salt to attract these ions and draw them away from your dishes. You don’t need to use it every time you run the dishwasher.
4. What are the types of dishwashers?
In general, dishwashers can be split into 3 categories: freestanding, integrated, and portable.
A freestanding dishwasher is a dishwasher that isn’t anchored to a wall or side cabinets. It’s completely free from the countertop, making them easy to move around. If you want to move homes, simply disconnect the dishwasher using your hands, load it onto a truck, and be on your merry way.
Integrated dishwashers are fixed into a cabinet and underneath a countertop. While less convenient to install, they can make your kitchen look fancy and even increase the value of your home.
Finally, portable dishwashers are small dishwashers (it can usually only wash 6 place settings at once) that fit on top of a countertop. You can move them around, making them great for RVs and apartments, but they’re not a very pretty sight.
5. How frequently should you empty the dishwasher filter?
One thing many dishwasher owners don’t know is that the filter assembly needs to be emptied periodically. Ideally, you should empty it out after every cycle, but you can usually get by with emptying it once per week.
If you fail to clean the filter assembly, water in the dishwasher might not drain as it’s supposed to, leaving you with gross standing water and maybe even leakage problems.