Naked Science Forum

General Science => General Science => Topic started by: BJMarshall on 15/03/2011 23:39:50

Title: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: BJMarshall on 15/03/2011 23:39:50
My wife seems to think that one must use hot water to wash dishes, and she disapproves of my using cold water. I am under the impression that it's the scrubbing action with soap and a washcloth that cleans the dishes rather than the temperature of the water. Does anyone know the science behind washing dishes by hand?

Regards,
BJ
Title: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: graham.d on 17/03/2011 11:31:33
Generally speaking heat helps quite a bit. Nearly all chemical actions are more active at higher temperatures and so would aid the detergent action in removing unwanted substances. It also causes fats to soften and melt permitting greater penetration of the water/detergent mix. From personal experience it is definitely easier and much quicker to wash dishes in hot water.

I do note, however, that some washing powders (for washing clothes) are said to be designed for washing cold. Although this may be also a way of saving energy, the detergents may not be so eco-friendly and a main reason is because of the lower risk of leeching colours from fabrics.
Title: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: Geezer on 17/03/2011 21:20:26
It doesn't really apply when you wash dishes by hand, but when you use a dish washing machine, the temperatures are high enough to sterilize the dishes. An even better aspect is that they don't get contaminated with a dish towel while drying.
Title: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: graham.d on 18/03/2011 12:13:16
It doesn't really apply when you wash dishes by hand..

It does in my experience. In particular if you are cleaning baked on fat and carbon off a glass dish that has been in the oven. Your wife is obviously kind to you :-)
Title: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: Geezer on 18/03/2011 18:05:02
Absolutely! Hot water is far more effective when washing dishes by hand, but I don't think the temperature will be high enough to do much sterilization, unless of course you have a pair of asbestos lined rubber gloves like the ones my wife got me to stop me complaining.
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: JaneMiller on 02/05/2018 04:15:31
I think hot water is better than cold water in dishwashing, especially when you clean the greasy dishes. However, cold water can be used to clean kitchenwares which you utilized to beat eggs. Do not directly wash those kitchenwares with hot water. Use cold water and wipe with a dishcloth or dish scrubber first. And then you can effectively remove off-flavor of eggs left in the kitchenware.

Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: alancalverd on 02/05/2018 08:31:17
Anionic liquid hand dishwashing detergents are designed (yes, designed! I once did it for a chemical company!) for use in hand-hot water - around 35 to 45 deg C being optimum (any hotter can damage your hands). Automatic dishwashers run at higher temperatures and do a much better job with less water and a caustic (cationic) detergent that turns the fat into soap! Good point about eggs, however - worth a quick cool rinse before you put the mixing bowl in the dishwasher: tempera paint is colored eggwhite and lasts for thousands of years.

Enzyme ("biological") detergents for washing clothes work at lower temperatures - 30 - 40 deg C being preferred to activate the enzymes. Problem is that the reactions are slow and not really suited to dishwashing where the contact time is short. Non-bio fabric detergents are more effective at higher temperatures and therefore better for "allergy" or "overalls/linens/commercial" washes, way above comfortable skin contact.

You can get cold-water "camping" soaps and detergents that are useful on sailing boats where hot water can become a hazard, and some are designed for use with saltwater too, but the result would be disappointing on your best dinner service.
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: Edwina Lee on 13/04/2020 03:38:56
From a systems analysis point of view, defining the problem accurately is the first step of solving any problem optimally.
The problem needs to define 'washing dishes' and 'effectively' more precisely.
What has to be washed from the dishes, and what are 'dishes'?
And what metric(s) would effectiveness be defined?
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: Bored chemist on 13/04/2020 13:10:35
From a systems analysis point of view, defining the problem accurately is the first step of solving any problem optimally.
The problem needs to define 'washing dishes' and 'effectively' more precisely.
What has to be washed from the dishes, and what are 'dishes'?
And what metric(s) would effectiveness be defined?
Thanks for that.
Are systems analysts often invited to parties?
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: alancalverd on 13/04/2020 17:00:34
Of course! There are all sorts of parties to be analysed: pissups, birthdays, christenings, weddings, barmitzvahs….and once you have solved a reasonable spectrum, you can adapt the analysis to similar occasions. A true professional gets to work as soon as he receives the invitation, and responds with an opening questionnaire: objective of party? will there be music/dancing/beer/girls/food/car parking? stated objectives of other invitees (see previous list)? define previous list? metrics of success? How could you possibly do anything without a systems analyst?   
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: VannyTr on 08/04/2021 16:05:29
Hot water improves the washing-up effect and helps to wash away dirt and grease residues on the used dishes. And the latter, namely the grease, dissolves much more easily and quickly with hot water.
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: charles1948 on 08/04/2021 23:01:45
Hot water improves the washing-up effect and helps to wash away dirt and grease residues on the used dishes. And the latter, namely the grease, dissolves much more easily and quickly with hot water.

You've summed it up concisely and perfectly !

Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: burgesssally787 on 13/04/2021 11:43:27
I think the fact is that at elevated temperatures all chemical reactions are a little more active. but I'm not sure if this applies to such temperatures. it usually takes really high temperature to intensify the reactions.
also now sell various dishwashing detergents that are supposedly effective in cold water, but as for me this is a marketing ploy.
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: Bored chemist on 13/04/2021 13:29:21
it usually takes really high temperature to intensify the reactions.
No, it doesn't.


However the biggest effect of using hot water is probably that it melts the fats.
It's easier to rinse away a liquid than a solid.
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: charles1948 on 14/04/2021 16:32:48
it usually takes really high temperature to intensify the reactions.
No, it doesn't.

However the biggest effect of using hot water is probably that it melts the fats.
It's easier to rinse away a liquid than a solid.

Yes.  Hot water melts the fats and grease.  This is experienced by anyone who has to do the washing-up.

And it isn't a modern experience. It has been confirmed by past observers, such as George Orwell.

In his 1933 book, "Down and Out in Paris and London" Orwell recounts his experiences while working a thoroughly bad Parisian restaurant.  He says:

"There was no hot water laid on. Water for washing-up had to be heated in pans, and as there was no room for these on the stoves when meals were cooking, most of the plates had to be washed in cold water.  This meant scraping the grease off with bits of newspaper."


Doesn't this evidence from the past, buttress the concept that hot water is the essential ingredient in dish-washing?






Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: Bored chemist on 14/04/2021 18:07:14
Doesn't this evidence from the past, buttress the concept that hot water is the essential ingredient in dish-washing?
No.
Because it says that hot water isn't essential.
It says you can use newspaper instead and then wash them in cold water..

Did you read what you wrote?
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: charles1948 on 14/04/2021 18:25:54
Doesn't this evidence from the past, buttress the concept that hot water is the essential ingredient in dish-washing?
No.
Because it says that hot water isn't essential.
It says you can use newspaper instead and then wash them in cold water..

Did you read what you wrote?
Fair do's:

"How absolute the Knave is!  We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us" (Hamlet)
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: Bored chemist on 14/04/2021 19:51:26
We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us"
So, the Bard worked it out centuries ago,but you only just spotted it.
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: charles1948 on 14/04/2021 20:33:16
We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us"
So, the Bard worked it out centuries ago,but you only just spotted it.

I spotted it years ago, BC, long before you googled the quote and identified it as Bard-derived.  Cued, no doubt, by my helpful "Hamlet" attribution.  Which I wouldn't have appended, except that I felt that without it, no-one on a modern Scientific forum would have a clue what it meant..

Shakespeare  had some insights into modern science.  His "Phoenix and the Turtle" threnody is worth perusing for concepts of modern wave/particle duality.




Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: Bored chemist on 14/04/2021 21:02:53
long before you googled the quote and identified it as Bard-derived. 
There are a number of reasons why i didn't need to google it.
(1) the style- who else uses words like "knave"?
(2) my mother taught English.
(3) you cited Hamlet as the source.
Which I wouldn't have appended, except that I felt that without it, no-one on a modern Scientific forum would have a clue what it meant..
No, you have this the wrong way round.
Plenty of scientists read Shakespeare.

But there's a shortage of English graduates with even a a rudimentary understanding of physics or chemistry.

His "Phoenix and the Turtle" threnody is worth perusing for concepts of modern wave/particle duality.
No it isn't.
That illustrates my point.
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: femaleminer on 14/04/2021 21:56:29
Have you ever thought about not using soap when you do your dishes by hand? I thought about it and since than I donīt use it much often. Soap is used to get rid of oily substances but if you have a cup of coffe, a plate with soup etc. it would be enough to cleanit just with water, right? It would be much better refereing to water pollution, right?
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: charles1948 on 14/04/2021 22:54:59
Have you ever thought about not using soap when you do your dishes by hand? I thought about it and since than I donīt use it much often. Soap is used to get rid of oily substances but if you have a cup of coffe, a plate with soup etc. it would be enough to cleanit just with water, right? It would be much better refereing to water pollution, right?

I think you are right.  Substances such as soap and detergents  definitely help to speed up washing dishes, if they have to be done quickly.

But if you have the time available to let the dishes soak in plain water for a while, those substances aren't necessary.

I've found that 5 minutes immersion in hot water will loosen the grease on the plates enough for fingers to gently rub off the grease, and make the plates clean.

If only cold water is available, a longer immersion is needed, 15-20 minutes or so.  And  a more vigorous rubbing action from the fingers.  But the plates do eventually get clean.
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: femaleminer on 15/04/2021 09:28:21
 Thatīs so cool. I love to rethink bad habits! thx!
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: alancalverd on 15/04/2021 18:26:29
Hand washing uses about 3 times as much water (and umpteen times as much time!) as a dishwasher, which uses caustic detergents and high temperatures to get stuff really clean and dry without clogging the drain with lumps of fat.
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: Danny056 on 01/06/2021 08:29:02
I think with hot water its more effective.
Title: Re: Is Washing Dishes with Cold Water as Effective as Using Hot Water?
Post by: William Hardy on 04/06/2021 11:57:04
No, washing dishes with cold water is not effective as hot water.