Stop pre-rinsing your dishes, says consumer watchdog

April 16th, 2012

Appliance News Dishwashers

Let the dishwasher do its job! Pre-rinsing is a waste of time, money, and water, Consumer Reports has said.

Dishwashers are designed to do the dirty work yet some households are wasting well over 22,000 litres of water a year through unnecessary rinsing, according to the US consumer watchdog.

When testing dishwashers, Consumer Reports used dishes “caked with foods such as peanut butter, tomato sauce, oatmeal and egg yolks” and found the majority of appliances to do an excellent job.

Those that weren’t excellent, were “good.”

Large food chunks and bones will still need be scraped off plates.

If the rinse habit is a hard one to break, the watchdog recommends using the rinse cycle on the machine first, which will still use half as much water is hand rinsing, it claims.

Other ways of ensuring that dishes come out clean is with their placement in the machine.

Large items, such as pots, pans or roasting dishes should be placed along the sides and the back of the bottom racks so that they don’t block the water. Also, it’s important to face the dirty dishes inward so that they are hit by the full force of the water spray.

Place Tupperware and other plastic items on the top rack so that the heating element, usually found on the bottom, does not melt or warp the plastics.

It has also been reported that rinsing dishes can damage delicate materials, such as glass.

This is due to the enzymes in certain dishwashers targeting food particles. If there isn’t food to concentrate on they tend to go for glasses, causing small etches and pits that cloud the original transparency.


Having once had to sit on the washing machine to stop it from bouncing into oblivion, Keri is today delighted with the new (smoother running) technologies that make housework easier every day. A self-confessed lazy-bones, Keri seeks out quirky inventions that ease the human workload, such as the robotic vacuum cleaner (wow). And as soon as someone figures out a Jetsons-like self-cleaning house, she will happily lay her pen to rest and retire from appliance journalism. Until then, her pick is a fridge that will tell her smartphone when it's time to pick up more beer on the way home. Magic.

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