Question: Does Using Warm Water Instead of Hot, Save Money and Still Get Dishes Clean?
A reader asks whether warm tap water cleans dishes as efficiently as hot water -- thereby saving energy. He said, "I read through your column, which states that hot water is necessary to fully clean dishes, but am not clear what purpose (besides not seeing streaks) this serves.
I hope that you may assist in my inquiry; does warm water do a satisfactory job cleaning dishes? Or is there a specific temperature at which dishes need to be cleaned for sterilization purposes, etc.?"
Using the proper water temperature
when washing dishes
is crucial to ending up with clean dishes. There are many reasons to use hot water
that may outweigh the potential savings in energy and money that cool or warm water might provide.
Hot water costs more money than cold water, that much is true. However, hot water cuts grease, kills germs, cleans more effectively and works better with most soaps and detergents. Not using hot water can cause you to have to change the water more often to prevent grease. You may need to scrub dishes more, risking damage. Cool water or even warm water will mean you have to dry dishes by hand, and if you change the dishtowels as often as you should to prevent cross contamination, you'll have clothes to wash as a result. All in all, hot water saves time, energy, and resources.
Hot water is a necessary part of getting dishes clean. There are energy saving tips for washing dishes, but cutting the hot water isn't one of them.
Proper Water Temperature
Why You Should Use Hot Water
Practical Ways to Save Energy While Dishwashing