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You Don't Need to Pre-Rinse Dishes Anymore

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I didn't get my first dishwasher until I was an adult, so I spent my early years hand washing. When we finally got a machine, I was excited to try out the time and water-saving contraption. "But wait," said my parents, "rinse the dishes first, or they won't get clean!" But as it turns out, you can actually save more time, money, and water-- and get cleaner dishes, by not pre-rinsing at all.

"What nonsense," you might be thinking, "I've always pre-rinsed, and it's never gone wrong!" According to reports by the Wall Street Journal, older machines lacked the modern technology that dishwashers use today, which doesn't use a default cycle, but rather relies on sensors to measure what amount of water and rinsing is needed for clean dishes. That means that if your plates don't have a little residue left on them, the machine thinks there's nothing to clean. Additionally, detergents these days are designed to adhere to food particles, and will be washed away immediately if there's nothing on your dishes to cling to, according to Procter & Gamble.

That's not to say that you shouldn't do something to prepare your dishes for the wash. Scraping large chunks of food residue is a good idea for even the best dishwashers. But by skipping your pre-rinse, you can save 6,000 gallons of water per year, according to Consumer Reports, and if you use Energy-Star appliances, you could save 230 hours of dishwashing versus handwash over a year. Check your machine's guide to see if it recommends a pre-rinse before making the leap, but if it can do without, definitely save yourself the effort!

Photo: Pixabay