do you wash your dishes before you wash your dishes?

vacuumfreakJuly 30, 2007

I was just wondering if other people wash their dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. About a year ago I posted a thread here (on my 23rd b/d actually!) entitled, "does anyone still hand wash their dishes?" I got quite a few responses (you can still find the thread if you do a search) from people that didn't like dishwashers and just used theirs to store things in. The reason I posted that thread was because I was moving into an apartment without a dishwasher and I wanted tips on how to make handwashing faster and easier. Well, after an almost MISERABLE year of handwashing dishes I just couldn't stand it anymore. Last week, I bought a portable dishwasher that hooks up to the faucet. I've used it about 6 times now and I must say I am in LOVE. I don't know how I survived without a dishwasher, but I do know that I will never be without one again. My dishes are sanitary now and cleaner than I've ever gotten them by hand. Some people say that they can hand wash dishes faster than the dishwasher. Who would want to? Even if it takes less time, the machine does a better job. Plus, the human can do other things while the cycle is running. I do not rinse my dishes at all before putting them in, and they come out spotless every time. I've heard some people say that they always rinse or wash their dishes first and just use the dishwasher to sanitize. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a dishwasher if you ask me. I read online that if you rinse your dishes first you actually inhibit the functionality of the machine. The dishwasher uses the food particles to help scrub AND depends on the food particles to maintain the proper PH balance in the machine. Just curious... do you wash/rinse first? If so, what is your logic? Thanks!

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I have a Sears Kenmore that I purchased in 2002 that specifically says in the instruction book, no need to rinse or pre-wash dishes. But it wasn't cleaning really well, so I had an authorized Sears repairman come in. He told me the food filter was really dirty and recommended that I rinse dishes first. I don't have a garbage disposal, so I scrape any food bits into the garbage. If I don't have a full load, I'll run a ten minute rinse cycle.. That's my experience. I don't mind hand-washing. I did it for three months when I was between dishwashers. I make it a beauty treatment. I load on hand lotion, put on playtex gloves and use very hot water. I have a friend who deliberately does not own a dishwasher. When she modernized her kitchen she wanted the extra cabinet space. She says she enjoys hand-washing. It gives her time to relax and look out the window.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 7:27PM
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No way! Corn cobs and bones go in garbage and maybe if there are actual scraps (like rice, but not mashed potatoes) they may get quickly rinsed into sink (disposal) but that's it. Oh! And that darn oatmeal. Don't know what it is about oatmeal, "sticks to your ribs," dishes and spoons unless swabbed off. And charcoal, but only from the serving plate. Doesn't seem to affect the others. Think DH may be overgrilling a tad. Even egg yolks come off.

Thanksgiving dishes go straight into DW (gravy, potatoes, cranberry sauce, jello)and come out clean.

Jannie, think if a repairman told me that, I'd tell him "according to the manual, it must be broken. Fix it! Or show me how to clean the food filter periodically."

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 11:15PM
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No dishwasher here. Never had one never will.

I stayed with my MIL for 7 months. She had a dishwasher and I hated it.

Dishes were never really clean, even with the pre-washing I did. Deep cups ALWAYS had milk, chocolate etc... residue in the bottom. Pancake batter and egg always was caked on utensils. I dislike how they warp plastic (true you can turn the heated drying cycle off) but especially how they etch glass and china.

A friend gave me some of her plates that matched a set I had. Mine are like new, hers were etched and dull from her dishwasher.

If you regularly replace glassware and china then no big deal. If you keep them forever because you're cheap like me then a dishwasher is annoying. :^)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 9:32PM
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I NEVER pre-rinse. Everything always comes off - red sauce, gravy, eggs, chicken grease, etc. It's only the two of us, so it generally get runs every 2 days. Dried on coffee and cocoa always comes off. In fact, I made roasted chicken tonight. The plates were put in slick with olive oil and chicken fat and came out clean. The roasting pans, done by hand, were a horror to get clean so they didn't feel greasy.

We have a Bosch. Not the most expensive one, the next one down (I think there are 4 levels). If a dishwasher isn't cleaning the dishes/glasses (as beanmomma describes) then there is something wrong with the dishwasher, or it's a bad dishwasher. I handwashed everything for 12 years. Never again.

I've read that pre-rinsing actually contributes to etching. The detergents are designed to work on dirty plates.

"Food filter". I don't even know if mine has a food filter. Never an issue with no pre-rinsing.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 12:13AM
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I scrape large particles of food into the garbage disposal, but don't rinse. The only problems I have are if my DH or DS load - their goal seems to be cram as many dishes in as physically possible. The dishes do need a bit of room for the water to circulate and clean.

My DH, when the last one died, suggested putting in another cabinet. UH, NO! My dishwasher is my friend!


    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 12:35AM
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I should think it might still depend upon the machine. I haven't bought one in twenty years but back then there were two sorts, one without a 'grinder' which almost required a serious pre-rinse.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 1:13PM
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A good dishwasher doesn't require prerinsing before washing the dishes. I don't rinse first. Once in a while something doesn't come clean and I just wash it, no big deal.

Some dish detergents work better then others, too. Cascade Complete is excellent.

If you rinse everything first, I challenge you to try a couple of loads without rinsing and see what happens.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 8:44PM
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Oh mannnnn, I was one of ThosE people, you know, who said they loved to wash dishes, cause I found it relaxing, and that I could just zone out while doing them....... I too hated my MIL's dishwasher when we went for dinner, because it was always full, and we had to handwash so many things anyway, and then stuff came out dirty. And all her stuff looked so crummy, the plastic stuff, etc...

Anyway, when my DH and I gutted and redid our kitchen he insisted that we get a dishwasher, even though I wanted the extra cupboard space too. Well, we got a Miele, cause I said if we're going to get one, get a good one, I would just use it at Christmas and Thanksgiving....

Welllllllll, I am in LOVE!!!! Love my dishwasher so much I want to kiss it!!!!! I never, ever pre rinse, and I put every single possible last dish in that darn dishwasher (except my chef's knives) I never hand wash a single dish now, I even hide stuff in my giant sink so that when one load is done I put another load in. It uses too much water and time to handwash. I get to go out after dinner and go for walks with my kids and hubby, and the dishes are so sparkling clean (including the flatware, tupperware and pots and pans) when we get home.... I am surprised how much I cherish that extra 40 minutes I wasted on washing dishes every night for years....... ahhh, the good life.... I love my dishwasher........... wish I had bought one years ago...

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 10:56PM
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I've found that the quality and features of a dishwasher (not just a particular brand) make a huge difference in how well it cleans.

Like Sue36, I never do more than scrape the big bits off the plates.

I have a machine with a three-level wash: there are spray arms under the top and bottom racks and a spray in the "ceiling" of the interior. I find these work much better than machines with two levels of wash or with a spray tower that rises from the bottom and sprays the top rack when the pump is operating.

Machines that heat the water internally before or during the wash clean better for my water hardness and dish soil.

I follow what Consumer Reports recommends and what my mother taught me: use a high quality POWDERED detergent. They're chock full of enzymes and clean better than gels or tablets. Like Mom, I use Cascade, bought when it's on sale.

Finally, I always use a rinse aid. This prevents spots and helps keep stains from the plastic interior of the DW.

Finally, if you own a GE or Hotpoint dishwasher, PLEASE check these pages to see if it's been subject to recall (cut & paste into your browser):

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 3:45PM
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Growing up, we were one of the only ones (of our friends) with a dishwasher & disposal. My mother made my sister & I rinse dishes till pretty much clean before putting in the dishwasher. That's a habit I am just now breaking (I'm 53 & it's really HARD).

I even posted on another board about this; trying to get someone to clarify if that meant absolutely no rinsing even if you didn't run the dishwasher after each time you put dishes in....we only run ours 2 maybe 3 times a week & stuff sits in there. I was told only to rinse certain things like milk in glasses. I have found out, though, that peanut butter needs to be rinsed off the utensils.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 4:55PM
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One of the reasons to *not* rinse/prewash dishes is if you use an enzyme detergent it needs the food particles to work better. It'll etch glass and stuff if it doesn't have the food particles. I can't explain it well, but it's easy research for a more thorough explanation. Most just recommend scraping the dishes (and really, who wouldn't?!) then into the DW.

I haven't had a dishwasher for more than 30 years but I'm starting to miss it. I would get grossed out though when it left stuff on it. When washing by hand and using a good soap it gets clean. Sure, you just put it back in and rewash but it still bugs me. It also bugs me to see people leave dirty dishes in the DW for a week before washing them. Argh! If it takes a week to fill it, you should have a smaller DW or use a top rack only feature. This is what impresses me about the F&P Dish Drawers.

And geez, I can wash a few dishes FAR faster than an hour or two for a dishwasher! LOL And when you compare the time to load the dishwasher vs washing, it's pretty close. Time's not a factor. It's the hassle of washing them. I soak my dishes and a quick swish, rinse in HOT water and into the drainer to dry. Putting them away is comparable to time in a DW.

Oh, and one thing I found out quickly, the way you load it makes a big difference. You have to learn how the water sprays and make sure it's not blocked for effective washing.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 6:08PM
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Never. I have to clean my filter out periodically. This is one of the most disgusting chores in the world. I have a small family, and I never run the dishwasher before it is full, so I often have food that has dried onto the dishes, and then baked on during the cycle. No matter, I let them soak in hot water, and put them right back in.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 4:49AM
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I still have to wash off the dishes well, before they go in the dishwasher. I have a Whirlpool in this new house, the cheap model, but in my last home we put in ?, can't remember the brand but it had a stainless steel interior and cleaned no better. My DD just got a GE Profile and still has to rinse everything carefully. I still like having one, if for the sanitary effect alone. We use it every other day usually.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 6:23PM
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I have never washed dishes before putting them in my Whirlpool dishwasher and they come out perfectly clean. I just scrape big pieces of anything off them first and in they go. Having to wash before defeats the purpose of having a dishwasher. I run mine every 2 to 3 days or whenever it is full.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 11:53PM
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Was on this site looking for something else and had to post. I never rinse our dishes and they come out spotless...we have a 7 year old GE (not top of the line, either) and I only run it every few days. On the other hand, my daughter has a newer Kitchen Aid and often has to rewash things, even though she runs it at least once a day. She has two small children and doesn't have time to rinse, but then I don't think you should have to do that. She did switch from the liquid or powder detergent to the packet type and has had better results.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 12:27PM
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I wonder if people's varying experiences with needing to rinse (or not) has anything to do with water quality? I never rinse, though I do scrape big bits into the trash. I do have a newer machine...a maytag...but it is not top-of-line. (That's waiting until I get my "forever" kitchen. Then I'll probably get a Bosch.)

I'd be willing to bet that the people who are having real trouble with their machines have harder water than those of us that don't.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 9:04AM
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After reading this thread and another one on the same topic, I tried not rinsing to experiment with the results. A previous poster said that the newer detergents NEED food on the plate to work and it looks like this may be true. I got better results by not rinsing. I was amazed. I am going to keep experimenting with this to see if the results are consistant.

I had always rinsed and even used a plastic scrubbee as since I live alone, it took a long time to fill the dishwasher and I did not want anything drying to rock hard and impossible to remove. I really just used the DW to sterilize and get the grease off of things.

I do wish they made smaller dishwashers so that they can be run everyday without wasting water and detergent. A DW that is like 11" wide would take care of everything on a daily basis.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 3:35PM
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Bud, Sears (and maybe others) do make a smaller DW. But last I knew they cost as much or more than the large ones. DW Drawers are another option to check out if you're serious about that. Check it out at Appliance Forum. They seem to like them.

Glad you were open minded enough to try not rinsing. It doesn't seem to matter how long things sit in my Whirlpool before running. They still come out clean--even eggs, sauce and gravy. Inlaws still won't try it. Too set in their ways. Sandy

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 2:20PM
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I have a Maytag with a food grinder, and a heat booster, but I guess I always thought I had to pamper it.

I am aware of the dish drawers, but that would require a whole kitchen remodel. They are really wide.

I did not know that Sears had small DWs that can be installed undercounter. I wish I had known that, as I did check around for them when I bought my house and was doing minor remodleing of the kitchen, but that was before the internet.

Years ago in the 70s, I had a Sears narrow portable floor unit for apartment living. It was on wheels but slid in right between the sink and fridge real nice, and hooked up to the faucet with an adapter. It never got thing as clean as I wished though.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 1:46AM
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Bud, the small Sears I'm aware of was also a portable, but thought they could be converted to undercounter like any other DW. Maybe not. Also didn't know the drawers were wider. Seems that would automatically eliminate them except for new install or major remodel.

I, too, did some minor remodeling (new cabinets, major enough for me) 10 yrs. ago before I had internet and found GW. The info we can get now sure does help, doesn't it? Would have made some different choices, but not about to redo again. Sandy

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 12:49AM
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