Go green while your dishwasher cleans

Clean up on these dishwashing tips and save a considerable amount of energy.

A lot depends on the machine you have and the way you operate it, for example:

• Use energy-saving cycles whenever possible.

• Don’t pre-rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Pre-rinsing can waste 20 gallons of water per load.

Modern dishwashers do a superb job of cleaning even heavily soiled dishes. Compared to washing by hand, using an Energy Star dishwasher can save up to 5,000 gallons of water a year. One particular dishwasher actually exceeds Energy Star requirements.

• Wash only full loads. Most dishwashers use the same amount of water whether it’s half full or completely full. Putting dishes in the dishwasher throughout the day and running it once in the evening will use less water and energy than washing the dishes by hand throughout the day.

• Load dishes according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Completely filling the racks will optimize both water and energy use, but allow proper water circulation for adequate cleaning.

• Some dishwashers have an auto-sensor system that evaluates wastewater quality and will automatically determine if the unit actually needs more water.

This feature can reduce water consumption by over two gallons per cycle. That means the less soiled the dishes are, the less water the dishwasher uses.

• One dishwasher’s turbo feature calculates room air temperatures to reduce drying times by 10 percent to 15 percent. There’s also a drying feature that opens the door automatically at the end of the cycle to save energy and improve drying quality.