WATCH: Here's Why You Can Stop Rinsing Your Dishes Before Loading the Dishwasher
Most of us have been trained from a young age to help with the dishes by rinsing the dinner plates or cereal bowls and loading them in the dishwasher. Turns out, we don't need to work that hard.
These days, there's no need to rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. In fact, as pointed out in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, dishwashers work better when you skip that step entirely.
Here's why: Over the years, the clever people who make dishwashers have figured out ways to make our lives easier. Now, instead of giving your plates a full rinse, simply scrape any large food scraps into the trash can or garbage disposal before loading them into the dishwasher and then let the machine do its thing. From there, the sensors built into the dishwasher will determine the length and temperature of the cleaning cycle depending on how many food particles were on the dishes.
If you pre-rinse your dishes, the sensors won't pick up any food particles and the machine will run a shorter cycle, leading to a less thorough clean and possibly leaving food that wasn't caught in the rinse. Then you'll have to wash the dish again, meaning more work and wasted water.
Plus, pre-rinsing wastes a lot of water up to 6,000 gallons per year, according to Consumer Reports and all that water won't make your dishes any cleaner. If that doesn't convince you, maybe this will: using an Energy Star-rated dishwasher instead of scrubbing by hand can save 230 hours over the course of year. That's almost ten days! Ten days you could spend catching up on that Dynasty reboot instead of pre-washing dishes that will get clean anyway.
If you aren't sure if your machine is up to the task, according to Consumer Reports, any dishwasher sold in the last five years and cost more than $500 can handle your dirty dishes, no rinsing required. To give the machine a little boost, choose a dishwashing detergent designed to break down food. For instance, Cascade has enzymes that are designed to attach themselves to food particles, the Wall Street Journal reports, adding that "without food, the enzymes have nothing to latch onto."
It's hard to break habits, but this one is worth it. The silver lining is that doing your chores, is a little less of a chore.