For many families, the routine after any breakfast, lunch or dinner is to rinse stubborn food stains off of dishes before tossing them into the dishwasher. From experience, I can tell you that mom and dad definitely scolded me whenever I threw a dirty dish into the dishwasher because it supposedly prevented it from working at its full potential. But experts are now suggesting you shouldn’t rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
In an interview with TODAY Home, Morgan Brashear, a Cascade scientist for Procter & Gamble, explained why it’s more beneficial to skip rinsing the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
Yahoo News also did a report on the story and mentioned that modern dishwashers, which can be found in most households, contain sensors that work out how long a cycle will run based on how dirty the plate is. It will also determine how long the cycle should last based on how much food is left on the plate after the pre-wash has concluded.
Let’s walk you through it. You load your pre-rinsed dishes into the dishwasher. The pre-wash begins, but because you’ve already rinsed off the worst parts of the dish, the dishwasher assumes the plate is relatively clean because nothing is coming off it. The result is a shorter cycle, which means the leftover stains from the food don’t get fully cleaned. Basically, when you pre-rinse your dishes, you’re actually causing them to come out of the dishwasher dirty!
‘If you pull a helicopter cleaner and you rinse all of your dishes except for one casserole dish with some baked-on cheese or one morning bowl of stuck-on oatmeal, nothing will come off in the pre-wash, telling your dishwasher that there’s no food present, and it will run a shorter cycle, leading to a less thorough clean and potentially some cheese or oatmeal left on the dish,’ Brashear told TODAY Home.
One thing that Morgan Brashear did mention, according to Yahoo News, is that this mainly applies to dishwashers made in the past five years. This means if you’ve lived in your house for over five years, chances are you own an older model and you’re safe from making this mistake. If you’re still not sure this applies to you, it never hurts to do a test run and see if skipping the pre-rinse before the dishwasher makes a difference.
Whether you should be pre-rinsing your dishes or not, always remember why you should be keeping your dishes and kitchen clean in the first place. A common way to spread germs around the house is by not doing the dishes, Associate Professor Barbara Mullan from Curtin University’s school of psychology told 720 ABC Perth. ‘Ultimately if you leave dirty dishes around and there are people in the house, and possibly animals, they are likely to spread bacteria around,’ she said. According to 720 ABC Perth, Mullan added that bacteria can stay alive on surfaces for up to four days, and even longer on dishes that have food particles.