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Dishwasher usage down despite water savings

Yahoo Finance's Akiko Fujita and Brian Cheung discuss how much U.S. households are using their dishwasher based on EIA data.

Video transcript

BRIAN CHEUNG: Want a quick detour before we go to break. Dishwashers, California's ongoing drought bringing water conservation efforts to the forefront. One way could be using dishwashers instead of doing the dishes by hand. This data from the EPA, however, showing that 19% of households with a dishwasher don't use it at all on a weekly basis. I don't know if you are one of those households, Akiko?

AKIKO FUJITA: I use the dishwasher constantly.

BRIAN CHEUNG: I'm a power user.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah. But I only use it when it's full. I mean, I am mindful of that. It has to--


AKIKO FUJITA: --be packed in order for me to run the dishwasher. But--

BRIAN CHEUNG: Which is the right way to do it.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yes, but you mentioned that the savings-- the water savings, actually, which is surprising to me, because that always bothers me when I do the dishwasher and I wonder if I'm using excess water as opposed to hand washing every day.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah, apparently, the average, I think, it's a few gallons, four gallons or so, is what the average dishwasher will use. It obviously depends on the age of the dishwasher and also depends on if you were hand washing, how long and how thorough you want to get with your dishes.

But I just think it's so interesting that a lot of people have this appliance in their house and they don't use it. And I will admit that growing up, I was one-- I was in one of those households. My parents and our family would use the dishwasher as extra storage space. I understand this is something that a lot of families kind of also, they--

I didn't even know it was. I thought it was just an extra cabinet, like growing up, until in high school, I realized, wait a minute, there's buttons on it. There's buttons on this thing. And I think, you know-- apparently, a lot of people on social media feel the same way.

AKIKO FUJITA: That they haven't been using the dishwasher?

BRIAN CHEUNG: No, that they also thought the same thing, like their families just use them-- a lot of immigrant households.

AKIKO FUJITA: I feel like that might be a generational thing, too, right?

BRIAN CHEUNG: I don't know why, though. I guess, maybe like--

AKIKO FUJITA: My mom doesn't use the dishwasher.


AKIKO FUJITA: My parents do not use the dishwasher.

BRIAN CHEUNG: We had a working dishwasher, my parents told me, we were--

AKIKO FUJITA: We were the--


BRIAN CHEUNG: Well done.

AKIKO FUJITA: That's one way to get the--


AKIKO FUJITA: --get the chores going.

BRIAN CHEUNG: But anyway, if you want to save California, maybe start putting them in the dishwasher. Coming up--