What Are the Average Gallons per Dishwasher Use?

High water use raises utility costs for the water itself and energy required to heat the water.

Average Use

Water used per load can vary widely.Water used per load can vary widely.
Upgrading to a more water-efficient dishwasher can save thousands of gallons of water and hundreds of dollars over the life of the appliance. Water usage varies depending on the manufacturer and model but there are some useful benchmarks for homeowners to consider.

The average dishwasher uses about 15 gallons of water per load. Various models range from 7.5 to 16 gallons per load. For comparison, a washing machine may use as much as 50 gallons per load of laundry washed. Any toilet manufactured since 1995 uses 1.6 gallons of water per flush while some older toilets used as much as 5 gallons per flush.

Green Dishwashers

Improved efficiency dishwashers should use 7.5 gallons of water or less per load. Reaching this level of efficiency commonly requires replacing the existing dishwasher as there are no feasible modifications to existing machines to improve efficiency.

Saving Water with Old Dishwashers

Use water saver cycles, if possible, to reduce the amount of water used. Most importantly, only operate the dishwasher when full to capacity. This reduces the total amount of water used by reducing the number of times the dishwasher is operated.

Dishwashers Vs. Hand-Washing

Depending on the methods, hand-washing may be more efficient than running the dishwasher. Filling a sink with wash water commonly uses less than 7.5 gallons of water. If the dishes aren't rinsed under running water this can be a savings in the amount of water used. A running faucet can use up to 5 gallons of water per minute, although low-flow faucets reduce the water use to about 1.5 gallons per minute.

About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.