Should you use heated dry on your dishwasher?

A Drop in the Ocean Tacoma Zero Waste Sustainable Living Blog Should you use the heated dry setting on your dishwasher
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This post first appeared in our weekly Make Waves Mondays email series on June 28, 2021.

Hello again, friend!

I hope you’ve been able to stay cool this week, no matter where you live. This week in the PNW has been a scorcher, and when many of us don’t have AC it’s been an adventure, for sure.

We had a really interesting thread over in the EcoWarrior Pod last Thursday about sustainable ways to beat the heat without AC. I didn’t know you could put an ice pack in front of a fan for some extra coolness! If you’re interested in the thread (summer is only just starting…) definitely check it out!

Today’s post is the sixth in our Small Change Big Impact monthly series, and it’s a pretty darn simple one this month - turn off the heated dry on your dishwasher.

Last month we talked about why it’s wayyyy better to use your dishwasher than hand wash, and this month we’re taking it one step further. And, bonus! This week is short, sweet, and to the point 😁

What is heated dry?

The heated dry function on your dishwasher is just what it sounds like. The dishwasher forces hot air through the machine, which turns water into steam, and then forces the steam out of the dishwasher through a vent.

This is why when you run your hand in front of your dishwasher when it’s drying you’ll often feel hot air.

Why shouldn’t I use heated dry?

According to some articles, using heated dry actually shortens the life of your dishwasher because it requires the machine to work harder to heat up all those internal coils and pumps and such. And we always want to make sure we’re extending the life of our technology and appliances as much as we possibly can!

Plus, turning off heated dry will save money on your energy bill. When you use the heated dry function, you actually add about 30 extra minutes onto your drying time, which is just sucking up extra energy that you’re paying for.

And then, of course, that energy is contributing to our climate. According to a 2020 study, turning off the heated dry function of your dishwasher will save 11% of greenhouse gas emissions associated with washing your dishes. Over the course of the dishwasher’s lifetime, that works out to the equivalent of not driving about 800 miles.

That’s like not driving from New York City to Savannah, Georgia 😳 Not an insignificant amount, my friend.

What should I do instead?

Ahhh, this is probably one of the easy peasiest changes I’ve ever talked about.

Just turn off the heated dry function when you’re starting your dishwasher, and when the cycle is done, open your dishwasher just a few inches and let the air in your home flow through it. Sure, it’ll take a minute, but hey, that heated dry is gonna add 30 minutes anyway.

Plus, if you pop it open right after the rinse cycle, it’s gonna be pretty warm anyway, which will speed up the air drying process.

See? Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Well, friend, I do believe this is the shortest post we have had in a long time. I almost feel like I need to keep typing but I’ve said all I needed to say about heated drying 😂

I hope that you have a fantastic week, that you stay cool and stay hydrated!

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