Cold Water vs. Hot Water: Which is Better for Washing Dishes and Using the Dishwasher?

When it comes to washing dishes, the temperature of the water used is often a topic of debate. Some people swear by hot water, claiming it’s more effective at removing grease and killing bacteria, while others insist that cold water is just as good, if not better, for the task. So, which is it? Is hot water really superior to cold water when it comes to washing dishes and using the dishwasher? Let’s delve into this topic and find out.

The Science Behind Hot Water

Hot water is often recommended for washing dishes due to its ability to dissolve grease and oils more effectively than cold water. This is because the molecules in hot water move faster, causing them to penetrate and break down grease and oil more easily. Additionally, hot water is known to kill bacteria and other microorganisms, making it a more hygienic option.

The Case for Cold Water

On the other hand, washing dishes with cold water can be more energy-efficient, as it doesn’t require the use of a water heater. Moreover, certain types of dishware, like fine china and crystal, can be damaged by hot water, making cold water a safer choice. However, it’s worth noting that cold water may not be as effective at removing grease and killing bacteria.

What About the Dishwasher?

Most dishwashers are designed to use hot water, as it helps to dissolve detergent more effectively and sanitize the dishes. However, some newer models have eco-friendly settings that use less hot water, or even cold water, to clean dishes. While these settings can save energy, they may not clean as effectively as the hot water settings.

So, Which is Better?

Based on the evidence, it seems that hot water is generally more effective at cleaning dishes and killing bacteria. However, if energy efficiency is a priority, or if you’re washing delicate dishware, cold water may be a better choice. As for the dishwasher, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding water temperature.


In conclusion, whether you should use hot or cold water to wash dishes depends on a variety of factors, including the type of dishware, the amount of grease and bacteria present, and your personal preferences. While hot water is generally more effective at cleaning and sanitizing, cold water can be a viable option in certain situations. Ultimately, the choice is yours.