Procter & Gamble brand Cascade is launching a campaign to urge consumers to run their dishwasher every night instead of waiting for the washer to accumulate a bigger load.
While that practice would not seem to be water-efficient, Cascade says in reality, many households wash most of their dishes by hand after some meals -- and, contrary to what you may think, that practice uses more water than Energy Star-certified washers. Modern dishwashers use less than half as much water as they did in the 1990s.
By the numbers, a dishwasher uses less than four gallons per cycle, while handwashing just one dish (for about 15 seconds) uses half a gallon of water, and running the faucet for two minutes uses four gallons.
Cascade says using the dishwasher with a load of just eight dishes ends up saving money, too.
P&G has enlisted a celebrity couple -- actors Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. -- in a new “Do It Every Night” campaign, built around the obvious double entendre, to get consumers to change their ways.
“Until recently, we were doing it only once, maybe twice a week,” Prinze tells the camera, grimly, as Gellar looks on sadly and a tinkly piano adds to the confessional tone. The couple's tone gets happier as they discuss how they now “run the dishwasher with Cascade Platinum” after all their meals, from enchiladas to takeout.
A P&G spokeswoman said Gellar and Prinze will roll out a series of videos on their social media channels and through Cascade’s YouTube channel, and a separate TV campaign
“We all want to conserve resources in our daily lives, so Cascade spends a lot of time finding ways to help families get clean dishes, more efficiently,” says Martin Hettich, vice president of P&G’s North America Home Care business. “That’s why we think it’s important for people to know that the dishwasher doesn’t have to be completely full to be water-efficient.”
Currently, Cascade is running a commercial in which a little girl questions why her mother washes the dishes before she washes the same dishes in a dishwasher, part of Cascade’s pitch to convince consumers its brand can do it right the first time.
P&G seems to be taking a can’t-lose position on the hand wash versus dishwasher dilemma. In December, it introduced Dawn Powerwash Dish Spray, which the company claims is formulated to work immediately as it’s sprayed. It’s designed for the 61% of consumers who clean as they go, scrubbing dishes as they prepare their meal, especially tough-to-clean pots and pans.
About half the people who have dishwashers use them from one to six times a week but nearly 20% use them less than once a week, according to statistics quoted by the consumer testing site Reviewed.com.
The World Resources Institute says that worldwide domestic water demand grew 600% from 1960-2014, at a significantly faster rate than any other sector. And while the United States uses more water per capita than 30 developed or emerging economies, “total water withdrawals” in the U.S. have decreased from 2005 to 2015, the most recent figures the WRI cites.