Politics, Religion, and Dishwashers?

My Overloaded Dishwasher

Not too long ago, I learned of a new hot button issue:  how to use dishwashers.

One person became very passionate about whether dishes should be washed off first.  She seemed offended that I rinse.  It is a waste of water and energy!! How dare I?  I attempted to explain that I am single and do not use many dishes, so I only run my dishwasher 1-2 times a month.  Anything left on a plate for two weeks will likely not be cleaned off by my entry level dishwasher.  That was not a good excuse for her as she tisked and shook her head in frustration.  I hope I do not offend anyone, but I rinse and will likely not stop.  But I did have to research it a bit.

Dishes will not get any cleaner if you pre-rinse them.

 Modern dishwashers and detergents have come a long way in the past couple of decades. “You will not improve your wash performance one bit by pre-rinsing,” says John Dries, a mechanical engineer and owner of Dries Engineering, an appliance design consulting company. He points out that heavily soiled dishes are used in pre-market “wash tests,” not pre-rinsed dishes.

 In most cases, all you need to do is scrape your plates over a trashcan to get rid of bones or chunks of food. One caveat: It’s a good idea to pre-soak pans or dishes that have something really burned on them. Pre-rinsing doesn’t help in this situation.

 Use the dishwasher’s rinse cycle if you’re not going to run your dishwasher immediately and are worried about the smell of sour food.

This article makes a good argument but I still do not want to run the rinse cycle after every meal.

Pre-rinsing your dishes in the sink can easily waste more than 6,000 gallons of water per household each year. If you want to wash your dishes before the machine is full, use the rinse-and-hold cycle, which uses about half the water you’d consume hand washing them. And to get the dishes their cleanest, load large items at the side and back so they don’t block the water. And face the soiled surfaces inward so they’re hit by the spray.

When Consumer Reports tests dishwashers it puts the dishes in caked with foods such as peanut butter, tomato sauce, oatmeal and egg yolks, some of the toughest to remove. Dozens of the models we tested were excellent at washing and dozens more were very good. So tonight after dinner, put a load of unrinsed dishes in the dishwasher and then take a load off your feet.

—Mary H.J. Farrell

Okay, so I am starting to be convinced but still not for one plate and fork meals.

Instead of pre-rinsing, all you need to do before putting your dishes in the washer is to give them a thorough scraping off, removing any bones or food chunks. Another way to save water is to make sure you only do the dishes when there’s a full load.

This article starts to bring me back full circle.  If I wait until the load is full, I will need to pre-soak the dishes to loosen the dried on gunk.  Maybe if I let them all pile up and only rinse them while I am trying to get the water warm before starting the dishwasher?

What do you think?  Am I a total ogress for pre-rinsing?  Are all of these articles aimed at family households?


34 thoughts on “Politics, Religion, and Dishwashers?

    • My brain just has a hard time wrapping around it. Maybe if we just put a small amount of water in the sink to pre-rinse instead of running water….maybe 8)
      Thanks for the comment!

  1. I always pre-rinse but not long…just a quick rinse and scrub w/ one of those sink brushes and in it goes. My MIL and I argue about the dishwasher in general. She is anti dishwasher because “the Europeans don’t use it, they use a dish rack”. I personally think not running things through the wash is so unsanitary and gladly run mine every other day or so 🙂

  2. I’m a pre-rinser, but that second article is making me think twice about it. And given my family runs the dishwasher almost daily, it appears I have no excuse and should really quit being such a neat freak and rinsing those plates first!

  3. I am afraid I am in the minority…I don’t pre-rinse. There is only my husband and I so we put the dishwasher on every 2-3 days. We wash pots and pans by hand however so we don’t mix the load to wash.

    Everyone I’ve seen pre-rinses even my daughter and she has a family of 4 so usually is putting it on every day.

    But I’ve just accepted that most people don’t like dirty dishes in their dishwasher or they don’t trust that they’ll get cleaned. ‘To each their own’….I don’t give them a hard time or lecture them… Diane

  4. I would like to point out that not everyone has a dishwasher that is new and improved!! We have actually tried NOT pre-rinsing with ours (and this was running the dishwasher the same day) and our dishes did NOT come out clean.

    I’m sorry, but I am not going to forego clean dishes just to save some water. 😉

    • After juicing this morning, I realized my biggest waste is prepping and clean up. Even when I try to be good, I am a little bad. I guess I’m balanced!?
      Thanks for adding to the discussion! 8)

  5. Everytime the kids don’t rinse, as we have requested, I end up wasting time (AND WATER) washing off what didn’t come off during the cycle…by that time it’s stuck on and really gross….pre-rinsing for me.

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