Fully loaded

Make good use of your dishwasher

Rising to fame in the 50s, the humble dishwasher started life as a clunky and inefficient machine.

Dishwashers have come a long way since those days, with many dishwashers now using just 9.5 litres of water per load1 and costing little over 20p2 - that’s up to 73% more efficient than hand washing your dishes (depending on your handwashing style, of course).

With a few little tweaks, you can save even more water and energy, as well as cleaning up your bills.

So whilst we hate to prompt the argument... there is a right way to stack the dishwasher.


Here are a few reasons to take action.

Click for more info or scroll to read them all.


You may be surprised to learn that even if you live in a notoriously wet and rainy country like the United Kingdom, droughts are a very real problem - especially as climate change is likely to bring us ever drier summers.

This problem is intensified by the fact that not only are there more of us, we’re also using more water per person than ever before - 143 liters per day in 2020 compared to 85 litres per day in the 1960’s1.

Pre-rinsing dishes wastes 1,232 litres of water a year - and with modern dishwashers, it’s totally unnecessary on all but the most filthy of dishes.

Some studies suggest that using a dishwasher uses 73% less water than washing dishes by hand. Clearly this depends hugely on your hand-washing style: if you use a washing up bowl and don’t fill it too full, any savings would be marginal; but if you wash up with the tap running you’ll be needlessly flushing around 100 litres down the drain per wash.3

Climate change

Heating water takes energy. So heating excess water, well, it’s a waste of energy, right?!

And wasted energy = an unnecessary contribution to climate change



Fully loading your plates, stacking them well (yes, there's a right way!) and using the most efficient cycle makes the most of the energy, water and detergent used by your dishwasher.

And of course using resources wisely always goes hand-in-hand with saving money.


Throwing all the washing up straight in the dishwasher instead of rinsing it first frees up just a little bit of extra time in the day.

So hang up those marigolds, open your book and wait for that sweet rumbling noise to begin.


Here’s where we get to revel in our mild dishwasher loading obsession...

  1. Scrap the tap: despite your best intuition, using a dishwasher is usually more efficient than hand washing (unless you’re a dedicated user of a minimally-filled washing up bowl). So get loading.
  2. Skip the pre-rinse: modern dishwashers do not need plates and dishes to be rinsed, whether by hand or on the pre-rinse cycle. Just scrape any leftovers into the bin, and load ‘em up.
  3. Fully loaded: to make the most of the water, energy and detergent, only set your dishwasher off when it is full. Though be careful not to overload it. Where the water can’t reach, it can’t clean.
  4. Stack it right: to settle one of the most common causes of domestic tension – yes, there’s a right way to stack the dishwasher, find out the six top tips here.
  5. Eco mode: if you have an eco-mode this will wash your pots at a lower temperature, using less water and 20-40% less energy. Whilst these cycles can take a little longer to run, this will save a lot of energy over time.

Success Stories


in total




  1. The Rain Paradox Report, 2020 from Save Water Clean Clever (Love Water and Finish)
  2. In the Wash
  3. Ovo Energy