Save Money On Your Water Bill Doing Dishes

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Don’t Rinse Money Down the Drain

At an average of 120.00/month, our water bill is our most expensive utility (due to private ownership of the local water company, no regulatory oversight, etc.). One way I save money is to use all of the frugal settings on my dishwasher. I use the water miser, the light wash, and of course, the air dry settings (to save on electricity). All of my savings were going “down the drain”, however, when my 15 year old daughter loaded the dishwasher. She was running the water the entire time she rinsed the dishes, even though I told her how to do it a different, more frugal way. So, I assigned other chores to her and now do the dishes myself. I am happier that it gets done my way and it also saves on our water bill.

      -Sharon Y.


I am a big believer in teaching kids to do chores correctly and efficiently but I have to agree, if they just refuse and are wasting a lot of money, then give them something else to do. Yes, I know they may intentionally do a poor job to get out of doing the chore but if you give them something comparable in its place, I really don’t see any harm in giving them another job.


Another tip for saving when rinsing dishes is to rinse them immediately. The best habit you can teach your children is  to take their used dishes to the sink as soon as they are finished and rinse them right away. It only takes a second. If you leave the dishes to sit, you have to rinse and rinse and scrape and scrape to get them clean but if you immediately rinse them before things get stuck on, washing the dishes is much easier. The decrease of your water usage is amazing.





  1. Susan says

    The way I thought my daughter is when you are cooking to rinse as you go and put in the dishwasher, another trick that helped us was to run just a little water in the sink and when everyone finishes eating dip your dishes in the water and then put them in the dishwaher {Hubby even does this} that little bit of water in the sink was the trick that works for us. even when my little nieces visit they are happy to “splash” their dishes n the water and put them in the dishwasher
    Have a blessed day!

  2. Kate says

    my 2 cents is not to rinse at all…a good rubber scraper done right after dinner should take everything off the plate with no extra cost at all. Scrape into the disposal side of the sink or the composting water needed

  3. Lea Stormhammer says

    I remember my mom making me pay the difference in the gas bill when I “didn’t remember” to turn down the thermostat at night. Let me tell you I never “forgot” after that! I’m betting that would work with any household bill, not just the gas…. :)


    • says

      It really does make a difference where you live on the amount you have to pay for water sometimes. I paid almost 4 times in Idaho for water then what I do here and I didn’t have a washer there to do laundry and I do in Wichita. My water just increased from $20 to $30. I looked closely at my bill and I only use $1 worth of water the rest of it is taxes, special city things etc. I still was using only $1 worth when the jump happened. I really don’t think I can use much less then $1 a month that is the minimum they charge anyway even if I could. So much of the cost is not always using too much water but sometimes just increase in the cost of paying for pipes, taxes etc.

  4. luna says

    What about washing by hand and using a sink of rinse water not running constantlly let air dy in drainer. Dishwashers… BAH

    • says

      For those of you who are interested here is an article on our web site on How to Hand Wash Dishes. It goes into step by step detail how to do this and still save water. I don’t usually fill the sink up with rinse water because I always thought that by the time you dip one or 2 soapy dishes in that water you now have soapy water so I always turn the water on and off rinsing each dish. Even though it sounds like that is more work and time once you get use to doing it it goes just as fast for me as dipping them in water and then having to stop let the water out and put more rinse water in. Added bonus too is by not filling the sink up with water I use about 1/2 the amount of rinse water.

      I’m saying if you do it differently it isn’t wrong. I have just tested all these different ways time and time again and this way is just as fast and does save a great deal on water.
      PS I’m not too big a fan of dishwashers either. I am so glad we have them and I know some like my daughter really need them but I don’t like using mine too much plus because of the way I wash dishes a dishwasher uses much more water then I do.

  5. Mary E S says

    I hand wash my dishes but add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the rinse water,which gets rid of any soap that winds up in the rinse water and also makes certain there is no lingering bacteria on the dishes.I’ve read articles that claim hand washing dishes uses more water but when my dishwasher died and I started doing them by hand,my water bill went down.

  6. Ellen says

    Jill, I rinse in running water the way you do, but with a twist – I place several dishes in the empty side of the sink (not stacked up) and rinse them all at once with the sprayer. I don’t know if it affects the amount of water used, but it saves me time and is more efficient in movement.

  7. Jean says

    We live on an island and water is costly. We try any way we can to save water. One is hand held shower head and “military” showers – wet- turn off-soap-rinse. But our water utility only reads and bills every three months! What a shock to get a $1,500.00 bill and only then find we had an underground leak!

  8. Donna says

    Why do you need to rinse your dishes before you use the dishwasher? If you have a decent dishwasher, you don’t need to rinse at all. We invested in a Bosch 12-15 years ago, it is still running strong, and we never rinse our dishes, and they can be dried out and still come clean. Occassionally, like one dish every month, something comes out with stuck food, but cleaning that one by hand is far better than all the water to prerinse. By the time you have done that, you have washed them and the dishwasher is only redundant.

    • says

      The problem is very few dish washers to clean that well all the time even though they advertise they will that is why so many still need to rinse some. There is a difference too in just rinsing some of the big stuff off and washing totally before you put them in the dishwasher.

  9. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    Dishwashers conserve water and wash at a higher temperature than humans can stand. Mine broke so I can enjoy washing them by hand while soaking my tendinitis wrists. I never rinse and just wash and pile. Then I rinse the pile saving the rinse water in the dishpan or reserving it for toilet flushing. The broken dishwasher serves as a dish rack. I also use the water from the dehumidifier to wash clothing. My water bill is so low people ask if I bathe. I take a long bath daily.

  10. Tommie says

    I have a new dishwasher, but I do not use it because my water heater is in the garage and getting hot water to the kitchen wastes about three gallons of water before water is hot for the dishwasher. Also the rinse water is not hot enough so the dishes are not clean. I had a plumber check the water heater temp and all he suggested was to install an “on demand” water heater under the kitchen sink. Does anyone else have this problem and what have you done about it?????? I hear pros and cons about the “on demand” system and they are expensive. I only use the dw for larger groups—I am alone and wash by hand for myself. Information would be appreciated since I am appliance challenged. Tommie

    • says

      Tommie I too live by myself and when I lived in Idaho I checked into getting a “on demand” heater. I added up how much it would save me and how much it would cost to put it in and figured I would have to live in my house 20 years almost before I would even start saving. I didn’t use enough to make it worth it for me plus I only lived in that house about 5 years so I am glad I didn’t get it. I am lucky in the house I have now because my water heater is about 2 ft. from my bath and kitchen so I have almost instant hot water.
      Another thing is too unless your dishwasher has a sterilize feature you are right the water doesn’t get hot enough to really clean them proper. People don’t always realize it is the scrubbing of the dish as in hand washing that helps get rid of germs and other things. Personally I would do just what you are already doing and that is keep hand washing and when you have company then use your dish washer.

  11. JC says

    Hi I know I am months late on this one but just thought I would add a comment anyway. I am from Ireland where so many of your ideas are the normal way to do things ie. no clothes dryers, reusing bath water, making all food at home. Anyway, over there everyone keeps a ‘wash up bowl’ in the sink. It just gets filled as you turn water on and off through day to wash hands, fill a kettle. As you use dishes just throw them in there. Then at the end if the day wash everything. No need to rinse or scrape bc everything has been soaking in water all day. I do that here in NY and at the end of day put everything in the dishwasher. Friends that come over comment on why I have this basin in my sink but I don’t even explain why because I am sure they would think I was crazy for being what they would see as frugal. For me it is common sense.

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