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'Comes out beautiful': Trump administration rolls back dishwasher water conservation rules

Trump’s low-flow gripe has been rooted in conservative thinking for several decades who decry regulations and energy standards.
Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump points to the crowd as he walks off stage after speaking during a campaign rally at Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport on Oct. 28, 2020, in Bullhead City, Ariz.Evan Vucci / AP

The Trump administration has quietly rolled back Obama-era rules that regulate energy and water to appliances such as dishwashers, which the president has made a personal issue at rallies.

“President Trump has once again made good on his promise to free Americans from ludicrous government regulations — this time bringing a common-sense reform to dishwashers,” Russ Vought, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, told Real Clear Politics in a statement last week.

He added, “Dishes now washed in an hour or less! This is yet another example of President Trump’s promises made, promises kept on deregulation.”

Before and during the election, Trump has strangely made increasing water flow and rolling back conservation standards on appliances and hardware, from light bulbs to sinks to toilets to dishwashers, a campaign issue.

“The dishwashers, they had a little problem. They didn’t give enough water, so people would run them 10 times, so they end up using more water. And the thing’s no damn good. We freed it up,” Trump told a crowd at a re-election rally this past Sunday in Carson City, Nevada. “Now you can buy a dishwasher and it comes out beautiful. Go buy a dishwasher. Go buy it.”

The Office of Management and Budget also confirmed the news of dialing back the regulation in an Oct. 20 tweet.

“With burdensome regulations imposed by the Obama Admin, dishwashers were weak & took nearly 3 hours. Today, we concluded on an @ENERGY rule to change that,” the tweet said. “@POTUS' common sense rule will allow Americans to wash dishes in under an hour!”

Trump’s gripe, however, has been rooted in conservative thinking for several decades who decry regulations and energy standards. But environmentalists say the rules have had a positive impact on water conservation and lower bills for consumers. And the products are just as efficient as their energy-guzzling predecessors.

Current dishwasher standards require that standard-size products use no more than 5 gallons of water per cycle, according to the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. Consumer Reports found that modern dishwashers use about half of the water and energy as those made 20 years ago.