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.
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.
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.
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?