Why Pre-Rinsing Dishes Is For Wasteful Suckers

Maybe out of long-standing habit, you pre-rinse dishes before sticking them in the dishwasher. Stop it. You’re most likely wasting time and water by splashing water on there when your dishwasher is perfectly capable of removing crusted-on food itself. If it’s in working order.


At least, that’s what our friends and overlords down the hall at Consumer Reports tell us, and they would know–they test dishwashers by pre-encrusting plates and then running them through the washer. If your machine is functioning well, all pre-rinsing does is waste as many as 6,000 gallons of water per year.


Stop pre-rinsing and let the dishwasher do its job [Consumer Reports]

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  1. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    clearly it’s time for a new dishwasher. because even after cleaning my dishwasher and pre rinsing my dishes, some of my dishes come out dirtier than they went in

    • tungstencoil says:

      If you’re serious:

      Have you tried cleaning your washer? Mine has both a food trap (that when full-ish can start leaving bits of food on dishes, presumably because too many bits are swirling around) and can develop a funk if I don’t clean it out.

      You can use vinegar + baking soda or purchase a commercial product. I wash my washer about once a month.

      • elangomatt says:

        who washes the washer? I guess you do!

      • MrEvil says:

        Use one or the other, not both. All you get by mixing the two is CO2 gas and Sodium Acetate suspended in water. Sodium Acetate has uses, but cleaning isn’t one of them.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        i have cleaned it. with my hands, with barkeeper’s friend, with citric acid, with some dishwasher cleaner commercial product, with vinegar, with bleach [all at different times of course] but i keep finding little white specks stuck up inside my mugs and cups

        • MattSaintCool says:

          I have the same issue. I can clean it all I want but I’ll never get a clean mug. The top rack seems to fare worse than the bottom, I’m not sure if that’s significant.

        • Firethorn says:

          Sounds like you have a calcium build up, little bits are breaking off. Are you in a hard water area? Do you have a softener?

          When cleaning the washer, do you clean just the inside, or do you actually pull hoses off? I used to live in a hard water area without a softener. I ended up having to do a ‘quadruple bypass’ on the piping of my washer. when I pulled the hoses off the bottom they looked just like cholesteral filled arteries that lead to heart attacks.

          I ended up mechanically cleaning out the pipes. They were flexible and the deposits hard, so a twisting/bending motion followed by rinsing out in the sink freed HUGE amounts of calicium. After that my old washing machine cleaned like new.

          I call it a quadruple bypass because the wiring is very similar – you have fresh water in from the line, blowing out into the machine, drain from the machine and blow into the drain. Different parts were activated during appropriate parts of the cycle.

          Matt – Top rack being dirtier might be an indication of insufficient pressure, indicating something is clogged for the pump.

        • Youngfrankenstein says:

          I feel your pain. Our dishwasher is less that 3 years old and stinks. If you put anything that was greasy, an empty butter dish, everything is coated in slime. The filter I clean often but it’s impossible to clean it completely due to the way it’s built. I know we have harder water but not enough to justify a softener. We’ve done everything. I hate that I’ll still be cleaning dishes after I’ve run the dishwasher.

          So even though I paid for the most energy-efficient model, I waste water rinsing everything.

        • DubbaEwwTeeEff says:

          I had the same problem with a dishwasher that was about a year old. Here’s what I did:

          1. Removed all the spray arms and soaked them in vinegar to break up calcium deposits.
          2. Beat the hell out of spray arms against a concrete floor. The shocks will knock off the deposits from the inside in large chunks, which I had to dig out from the spray jets with pipe cleaners and skewers – if it happens again I’ll just buy replacement parts because this is a PAIN.
          3. Ran water from my sink through the spray arms to make sure they were all unclogged.
          4. Ran several empty washes with CLR instead of soap to break up anything in the tubing.
          5. Scrubbed the bottom with CLR.
          6. Brushed out and collected any solid calcium pieces on the bottom of the tub.

          Once all of that was done, the dishes started coming out clean again.

          We run Lemi-Shine dishwasher cleaner packets once in awhile now and it seems to be helping, but we haven’t had a full year to compare against. I’ve heard that you can add a little bit of Lemi-Shine to your powder detergent each load to prevent it from building up in the first place, but we haven’t tried that yet. (Supposedly it can also prevent you from needing a rinse agent, as the minerals can’t deposit on your dishes.)

          Of course, Lemi-Shine is basically just powdered citric acid from what I understand, so don’t worry about brands if you try it out.

      • neilb says:

        The dishwasher that came with our house did not work well.
        Then I noticed that it had screws holding on basket-like things–they were just over the drains. They were full of what looked like waxy mold. I cleaned them out and our dishes magically started coming out CLEAN!
        It was a rather distasteful job (though better than pulling moldy meter-long black Italian hair from the shower drains–now THAT was awesome!), but it sure beats knowing that that waxy mold was being circulated onto our dishes!

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I tore apart my portable dishwasher and found out the hose connection on the inside has a screen in it, and it was partially clogged. The dishwasher wasn’t getting enough water, so the dishes felt weird and had dishwasher tab residue. I cleaned the screen, and no more problems, other than the stray screw that for the life of me I can’t figure out where it went.

      Now at least I know where the screen is, and I won’t spend 2 hours tearing it apart and putting it back together in the future.

    • sweaterhogans says:

      You don’t have a Bosch do you? I have one, and every single dish has encrusted food on it. Sometimes a piece of food from one, like say a leaf of cilantro, will fly off and attach itself to a different item. It’s really disgusting and annoying to have to wash everything 3x. So much for “best” dishwasher brand.

      • FigNinja says:

        Same here. I’ve not been very happy with my Bosch.

      • Charmander says:

        I absolutely love my Bosch. Best dishwasher I’ve ever had.

        Prior to installing a Bosch I had a Kitchenaid, which was just so-so. You’d have to check each dish after washing because about 20% of them would need rewashing.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Same here. My GE Profile is only 5 years old and it sucks. If we don’t scrub the dishes clean beforehand, we might as well not even run it.

      We use those Cascade packets too, so it isn’t “oversoaping” which can cause the DW to work poorly.

    • giax says:

      I only get dirty didhrd from the dishwasher when the dirty dishes contained rice leftovers to traces of coffee. Which only covers our plates and mugs 90 % of the time.

  2. Hi_Hello says:

    Dishwasher machine require more work to clean/maintain that machine compare to the amount of time you need to clean/maintain a sink.

    • CalicoGal says:

      But dishwasher machine can get my dishes WAY cleaner with much less effort than my sink can.

    • Costner says:

      Dishwashers use far less energy and water to clean dishes than hand washing does. Plus they do a better job and due to the heat can actually sanitize dishes.

      Oh yea and they save time and make our lives much easier.

      In truth, provided your kitchen is large enough to accomodate a dishwasher, it can pay for itself several times over during its lifespan.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        that’s what I hear..but I don’t get it…

        I wash maybe 2 plates 2 cups, some chopsticks, maybe a pair of forks or spoon, a knife and a cutting board.

        the only thing that is hard to clean is probably my cast iron pan. And I rarely wash that.

        maybe dishwasher are better when you have a family of four or something.

        • George4478 says:

          If you don’t cook using pots and pans, then you don’t have much volume for the dishwasher.

          I typically cook for a family of four, but even when it’s just wifey and me most of the dishwasher gets filled from the things used to cook the day’s meals, even if we only use a couple of plates and utensils to eat the meals from. We run the dishwasher every day or every other day at a minimum.

        • Costner says:

          Well in your case it probably wouldn’t make sense because you would need to purchase so many more dishes to fill up the dishwasher, and running it while only half full would be a waste of water and energy.

          There are those smaller drawer type dishwashers that would allow you to only wash one drawer of dishes, but they are typically more expensive so the payback period would be much longer. Considering the amount of dishes you are doing, washing them by hand is probably the way to go. If you are the type of household that fills up a dishwasher every day or two, then I suspect the payback period on energy and water savings would make some sense.

        • NotEd says:

          A good, seasoned cast iron pan or pot shouldn’t be thrown in the dishwasher anyways. Just wash it with hot water and re-season with vegetable oil. Using soap or detergent can ruin the seasoning of good cookware, if you’re not careful.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      I have no idea what you speak of. I clean my sink several times a week. I clean my dishwasher’s exterior maybe weekly, and the interior … never.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        maybe I”m using it wrong. but I get pieces on the bottom. Then this orange stain thing start to form.

        every now and then I need to throw some lime or lemon in it to clean the instead.

        • TheHalfWit says:

          That we’re renting got one interior cleaning that consisted of running it on sanitize a couple of times before we started using it.

          No weird orange gunk build up, the plastics still the gray and white it probably was when new.

    • zippy says:

      All my dishwasher needs is a wipedown of the outside every now and then. If we put in dishes dirty with something tomato based, it gets an orange cast on the inside, but that fades after a couple more washes.

      My in-laws always prewash dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. It drives me bonkers. If your dishwasher isn’t getting dishes clean, then there is something wrong with it.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        only had a disherwasher in two apartments I was at. one was really old.. the other look like a cheap kind..

        I”ll do more research when I move into a house. I really hate cleaning the inside of the dishwasher.

    • dangermike says:

      I came here to say something similar. It’s not the pre-winsing that’s wasteful. It’s the post-washing that is. Dishwashers and their bastard cousins, electric pop-up toasters, are both examples of modern convenience appliances not only fail to save a significant amount of time but also manage to do a poor job compared to more primitive means of accomplishing their niche tasks. They’re answers to problems that don’t exist.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    How new do the machines have to be for there
    to be no need to pre-rinse some of the dishes?

    • zippy says:

      Ours is well over 10 years old (not sure exactly, but we had it when we moved to this house and brought it with us), we usually run it every other day, and it gets things clean just fine. Occasionally we will have a kid improperly load something so it doesn’t get clean (like two spoons that well, are spooning, and the area in between them doesn’t get clean), but normally, everything comes out just fine.

      Our water is quite soft, so I’m sure that helps. Hard water can really cut the effectiveness of detergents.

      • dks64 says:

        “Our water is quite soft, so I’m sure that helps. Hard water can really cut the effectiveness of detergents.”

        I think that’s the problem my boyfriend’s parents have. Their dishwasher is new, but their water is hard. You have to pre-wash everything or it doesn’t get clean. They use it mostly for the sanitizer cycle. Seems wasteful. Their glasses come out completely covered in water spots too. I have soft water and my dishwasher works great.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      I bet this is the important point. Also, I bet dishwashers get in various ways gunked up and don’t work properly. I would suspect clogged filters/screens, and nonfunctioning waste grinders are culprits. Most US dishwashers have built-in solid waste disposers. Many european ones have filter baskets that must be cleaned by hand.

  4. curmudgeon says:

    If you live in a place where the humidity is less than 10% most of the time as I do you have to rinse the dishes immediately after eating off them. If food dries on a dish the dishwasher is unable to get the bits off.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      Pre-soaking the dishes fixes that. The soak time needs to be enough for the water to get into the food crust, which can be up to an hour for some large bits of food. Knock the really big ones off with a fork, first.

    • ElleAnn says:

      That must be how my husband got his habit of prewashing EVERYTHING. He grew up in Phoenix- but we now live near Chicago. It kinda drives me crazy because he makes the task of loading the dishwasher take 3x as long as it should.

    • inputhike says:

      No, when we lived in Phoenix we just stuck the dishes in the dishwasher immediately, and ran it every 2-3 days. Most everything came out perfectly clean.

  5. dolemite says:

    Nope, I never have. I scrape the food off of them in the trash and pop them right in. Come out great.

  6. hoi-polloi says:

    I’m going to call bullshit on this one. If I didn’t find it necessary to pre-rinse my dishes, I wouldn’t do it. Sometimes my wife throws in utensils or pyrex bowls without rinsing, and I have to rewash them.

    Besides, it’s not like you need to use a good deal of water or even really fresh water while rinsing. I hit anything troublesome with a wet sponge as I load. Whoever put together that video made the rinsing look as realistic as most infomercials.

  7. nybiker says:

    He didn’t quite put it as blunt as this, RTFM, but he got the point across.

  8. Raider Duck says:

    Just keep your dishes wet when they’re in the sink. Problem solved.

  9. BooCackles says:

    I have a relative who freaks if you don’t thoroughly pre rinse every dish going into the dishwasher- if this person would add some soap to the water and rinse, they could be done! I knock the worst of the food off the dishes and then put them right in the machine. And, most of the time, they come out perfectly clean. If I start to notice a drop in cleanliness, I clean my dishwasher with a cleaning product and refill my rinse aid. I picked a dishwasher that was recommended by CR and it has performed really well.

    • Willow16 says:

      Me too. She will take the dishes that I have loaded into the dishwasher back out just to rinse them. I just don’t get it. She seems to think that not rinsing will cause a dishwasher to fail. Personally, I think it’s untreated hard water that will cause a dishwasher to fail.

  10. CalicoGal says:

    I just don’t want chunks of food rotting while stuck to the plates sitting in the dishwasher. We only have to run it about twice a week.

    • frugalmom says:

      Ditto. We only run it maybe 2-3 times a week. Anything put in there on Monday is going to be really stuck on by Wednesday. And frankly the detergents don’t work as well now that they took the phosphates out.

  11. sir_eccles says:

    Funny definition of “left to dry before scraping off”. Those plates didn’t look like they had dried on food to me.

    If I have to wait a day or two to fill up the washer that stuff is going to be dried on properly and from experience, no it doesn’t come off.

  12. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I don’t put things in the dishwasher with big chunks of food on them (the dog gets those), but if I’m not running it that day, and it’s going to be a day or so before it’s full enough to run, I give them a good rinse just so mold doesn’t grow. I don’t know that it would, but I’m mold-phobic and I don’t want to take the chance.

  13. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    We just let our St. Bernard lick the dishes clean before putting them in the dishwasher.

    He does such a great job that sometimes we don’t even need to put the dishes in the washer.

  14. DrLumen says:

    We pre-rinse just to get any large stuff off the plates and rinsed down into the disposer.

    Having just bought a new dishwasher (~1 year ago) I must say they are working better now than they did in the past. They do cycle for A LOT longer now. Also, with our new one, one of the modes uses the drying element to heat the water. That was a good addition and I think helps the most!

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      If it takes a really long time, prerinsing may be the problem. Some of the new highly efficient dishwashers need something to work on, essentially. If you put in clean dishes, the sensors keep thinking that, since nothing’s coming off the dishes, they clearly haven’t been washed for long enough. For those units, prerinsing isn’t just useless, it’s actively bad.

      • Silverhawk says:

        This! I discovered that exact phenomenon when we got our new (to us) dishwasher. I stopped pre-rinsing, and the cycle time shortened a lot. Still gets the dishes clean.

        • DrLumen says:

          There is a first cycle which only lasts about 5 minutes and then it drains. I guess that is to get the big loose stuff off and out. Then it refills for the long haul of about 1.5 hours. It then drains and refills again for about a 15 minute cycle. Maybe this is normal now. Our old one would only run about 30 minutes but it was not the great either.

          Hmmm, I guess I need to run some experiments. ;)

  15. visual77 says:

    This would be great, if my dishwasher worked well. I didn’t pre-rinse out of habit, but out of necessity.

  16. speaky2k says:

    I only run my dw once a week or less and I have to pre-rinse at least some items. If I make a cheezy or saucy dish and let that dry on the pots, pans, & plates, there is no way my dish washer is ever going to get them clean. I typically soak & scrub only those items good before loading them into the washer, but other things I don’t even rinse.

  17. Golfer Bob says:

    I don’t prerinse except if it’s tomato based food otherwise the inside of my machine will be orange for a week. However, I can’t get past not putting something in the prewash cup when using the single use packets or tablets.

  18. SmokeyBacon says:

    Wow, then either my dishwasher never worked, is in need of maintenance, or something is up. Our dishwasher isn’t that old but if I don’t prerinse certain things, like old cereal bows or utensils, they don’t get clean at all.

  19. hmburgers says:

    Fresh food … chunks get thrown out, maybe a rise

    Dried food … must pre-rinse & scrape

    I have a brand new $600 dishwasher… it’s just the way life is.

  20. az123 says:

    I have a relatively new and reasonably expensive dishwasher that does not require you to pre-rinse your dishes, however the directions for it state that it is recommended, though not required, that you do this because the dishwasher will use more water, require cleaning of filters and run longer in order to clean dishes that are not….

    So I guess, Yes the dishwasher can do the job, but since the manufacture suggest that you rinse ahead of time I will continue to do so….

  21. corridor7f says:

    Can you show this to all the women in my family? For years I wasn’t even trusted to load the damn dishwasher, not only because I didn’t do it “properly”, but because I would not pre-rinse 80% of the time.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Dishwashers bring out the irrational crazy and OCD in people. I cannot understand the intensity and utter nuttery of people’s opinions regarding dishwasher use. There are still a lot of people who think that dishwashers use more water than hand washing. There are those who think they don’t do as good a job. There are others who think everything has to be pre-rinsed (aka washed). Then you have those who just “have a feeling” (these are usually women) that dishwashers are irredeemably suspect.

      Ever had a dishwasher not get something clean? So have I; big deal. Hand washing sometimes isn’t perfect either. If your dishwasher is old, especially if it didn’t/doesn’t get used a lot, it probably needs a tune-up or replacement. Newer dishwashers mostly do a good job without pre-rinsing if you use a decent detergent.

      I’m a big fan of these new tabs with the flesh-eating enzymes. But I also get okay results with cheaper stuff, like the store-brand gel detergents. In a pinch I’ve used Oxi-Clean with good outcome (but a bit of powdery haze).

      I live in Phoenix, let dishes get all crusty for 2 or 3 days, and everything comes clean on the normal cycle with no added heat and the dryer shut off (and no rinse agent). My dishwasher cost $200 at Lowe’s and I installed it myself.

  22. u1itn0w2day says:

    I’d say get rid of the chunks and heavy goo. Other than that yeh it’s a waste. Mainly because oil and water seperate ie the fats in the food aren’t going to be rinsed off or removed by water alone. Sometimes I’ll dip the dirty stuff in a tub with sudsy dish detergent. You also can swish a detergent soak rag over the dirty stuff without rinsing. This is why I mostly do dishes by hand.

  23. emyaeak says:

    I’ve recently broke myself of the habit. I decided that what I didn’t like was throwing a dish in the dishwasher and having all the food and various juices fall down on the dishwasher, which is very messy looking, so as much as possible, I still dump it over the trash can or sink. But we have a fairly new dishwasher, and it handles it ALL.

  24. LanMan04 says:

    I pre-rinse to get the big chunks off, not to get the crust off. Big chunks clog shit up.

  25. scoosdad says:

    Did they pre-encrust those plates used for the test then let them sit in the air for 5-6 days before washing successfully? Because that’s the MO in our house. We rinse the dishes first because we only use enough dishes and silverware to run the dishwasher once or twice a week. If left to harden up, I doubt that my dishwasher could cope with that crud.

    Not to mention the smell of plates coated with old food sitting around for that period of time. Rinse away and don’t feel guilty!

  26. mmmwright says:

    I also understand that dishwasher detergent isn’t working any longer, too. Here is an NPR story from a couple of years ago that is still valid: http://www.npr.org/2010/12/15/132072122/it-s-not-your-fault-your-dishes-are-still-dirty

  27. mmmwright says:
    • dolemite says:

      I like the lady saying she doesn’t believe they create algae blooms and are bad for the environment, simply because it inconveniences her. Reminds me of all the anti-global warming people and “gas prices are high, but damned if I’m giving up my Escalade that makes me feel like a high roller” people.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Yeah, gotta love Ms. Not a Scientist saying she doesn’t believe actual scientists. Did she ever stop to ask herself what possible motivation scientists could have for making something like that up? B/c I can’t seem to think of one.

  28. JReedNet says:

    WE have to rinse off solids off our dishes otherwise they dwell in the drain after the cycle competes.

  29. Kuchen says:

    The only things my dishwasher has trouble with are dried eggs, and for some reason, knives that have been used to cut bananas. Those are the only things I rinse or wipe before putting them in the dishwasher, and I only do that because I know I will have to wash them again if I don’t.

  30. gman863 says:

    The brand of dishwashing detergent can make a huge difference (If you doubt this, check the ratings in Consumer Reports).

    When I switched to Finish Powerball Tablets (CR Top-Rated), I immediately noticed fewer (if any) food residue particles left on the dishes.

    If you have something with burned on crud (like a lasagna pan), the best move is to soak it overnight with hot water and dishwashing liquid overnight to soften and remove the residue.

    Finally, be sure the water going to the dishwasher is hot enough (at least 130 F). Prime the hot water by running the kitchen faucet until the water coming out is hot, and use the temp. boost function if your dishwasher has one.

    • Powerlurker says:

      My crappy rental-grade dishwasher takes care of crusted on lasagna pans just fine without pre-rinsing, just scrape the big stuff into the trashcan or garbage disposal.

    • baquwards says:

      EXACTLY. I never pre rinse, and use Finish Quantum with power ball. I previously used Cascade Complete packs and they were great too, but the Finish is just a bit better. 99% of the time the dishes are perfectly clean.

  31. BradenR says:

    It really depends on how often the dishwasher is used. Ours is on a three to four day cycle so I always rinse off the dishes before stacking them.

  32. dush says:

    So dried out encrusted food that has sat a day or two until the washer is full of dishes to run a load will get totally cleaned off? The high powered industrial washers at restaurants don’t even always get all the encrusted food off.

    Although if you’re taking the time and water to throughly rinse your dishes then why not just add soap and actually wash them right then and there?

  33. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I don’t have a dishwasher. :(

  34. baquwards says:

    In my experience the detergent can make all the difference in the world. If your dishwasher is running properly than a dry detergent will work best every time. Dry detergents like powder and the action packs contain enzymes which break down food. Liquid does not have these enzymes and doesn’t work nearly as well. Consumer Reports ratings reflect this theory.

    I thought that Cascade and Finish packs were gimmicks, but they actually work the best and I’m willing to pay a bit more for them and not having to pre rinse. We run the dish washer 2-3 times a week so stuff gets dried on, and they come out clean every time.

    My dishwasher will heat water if it needs to, if yours doesn’t run the faucet until hot water comes out, then start the dish washer, this might help.

  35. RayanneGraff says:

    Definitely gonna show this article to my parents. They have ALWAYS bitched & moaned at me because I don’t hand-wash the dishes first & I have always told them it’s not necessary, that dishwashers are made to WASH DISHES, but they won’t listen. I scrape off the major chunks, throw ‘em in the dishwasher, and I’ve never had a problem.

  36. phonebem says:

    Another fan of the Finish tabs withe the power ball. One of those with white vinegar as a rice agent works wonders.
    Also of note, a DW wash using a packet of lemonade Kool-Aid (citric acid) when necessary keeps the inside nice and clean.

  37. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    Yeah hey you know all the water a dishwasher uses doing its job? It goes down a little drain at the bottom of the dishwasher. A drain that’s usually really effing hard to get to if it gets clogged with giant chunks of food that should have went in the trash or disposal. God help if you if you put Draino down there, too.

  38. djshinyo says:

    In every restaurant I’ve worked in it’s standard to prewash the dishes before running them through the machine. And there is usually a garbage disposal in a sink, too. My dishwasher definitely does not have a garbage disposal feature.

  39. samandiriel says:

    Only true if you’re running the dishwasher soon after loading it. If you only run it once or twice a week, you need to rinse the suckers or that crud will never come off without a hand scrub.

    Plus it will reek horribly after a day!

  40. Leohat says:

    I have an awesome pre-cleaning device for dirty dishes.
    It has a built in food debris sensing device and a non-scratch omni-directional cleaning surface.
    It finds the dirty dishes itself. All I have to do is leave the dishwasher door open.
    Mine was even on sale cuz it a tripod model.

    It’s called a Nova Scotia Duck Toll Retriever.

  41. Tacojelly says:

    I believe there are dishwashers out there that can actually clean a dish, but mine certainly does not. Even if I throw the dish in right after using it, with the food and sauce still moist, it will still leave trace amounts of grease.

    And I live in a condo/apartment, so I’m two or three steps removed from paying the water bill; hence, it’s not in my interest or landlord’s to actually buy more efficient machines.

  42. snowmentality says:

    My dishwasher started doing a much better job with non-pre-rinsed dishes once I switched to brand-name detergent.

    Seriously. I buy cheap generic store brands for almost everything, but much as it pains me to admit it, brand-name dishwasher detergent actually is better. My favorite is the Finish Quantum tablets, but I’ve also gotten good results with the Cascade powder/gelpacs and the regular Finish gelpacs. (The regular Finish tablets work fine too, but it drives me insane that they’re individually wrapped in plastic. Unwrapping them and throwing out the wrapper are just two unnecessary added steps.)

    With the store-brand stuff, I always used to find little bits of food left stuck on the dishes, little deposits of grime, etc. I thought it was the dishwasher. But with the name-brand stuff, the same dishwasher actually gets everything clean.

    I do scrape the dishes over the trash can before loading them into the dishwasher. Big pieces of food clog up the dishwasher drain. But once I’ve scraped off the obvious debris, the dishwasher can deal with the rest.

  43. Putaro says:

    I used to have a dishwasher with a built-in garbage disposal in the US. That thing rocked. When we bought our condo in Japan, there was a dishwasher already built-in. This thing is your classic “dish rinser” and does an especially awful job with rice – ironic considering its designed and made for a country where rice is part of every meal.

  44. impatientgirl says:

    Clearly they don’t go into most Americans homes. You think we’d waste our time pre-rinsing if we didn’t have to? yes because I just LOVE yelling at my kids to rinse because all those times they don’t, our ONE year old dishwasher does an outstanding job.

  45. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    I’m sure that they are testing brand new dishwashers, not ones that have been in an apartment for who knows how long. I tried not rinsing b/c I have read this in CR before, and my dishes were gross afterward. I use good detergent too.