To rinse or not to rinse, that is the question. Almost everybody has their own way of doing things, especially when it pertains to cleaning around the house. We're here to finally end the battle over kitchen cleaning tactics once and for all -- and we're advocating that you should never rinse your dishes.

Let's dive deep into why you should never rinse dishes before placing them in the dishwasher, the background of this argument, other uses for dishwashers, and general care and maintenance for your dishwasher to keep it in prime condition.

colorful stacked dishes


It's a tale as old as time, and a classic couple argument. How does one load the dishwasher properly? Well, we can finally settle this battle for the ages and say that you should NEVER rinse your dishes before loading. Even if you've spent your whole life doing it, it's time to move on from this bad habit of pre-rinsing. It may seem counterintuitive, but rinsing beforehand doesn't actually result in your dishes ending up cleaner. In fact, it is detrimental to the dishwashing process.

man rinsing dishes in sink
Studio Romantic/Shutterstock

The New Age Of Dishwashers

So why exactly are we so sure it's bad to pre-rinse dishes before running your dishwasher? Because the manufacturers said so. Many consumers have failed to note the now-commonplace functions of modern dishwashers. One key example of this is called a smart sensor, which decides the temperature of the wash as well as the type of wash cycle. This awesome tool can also tell how much loose food is on your dirty dishes. If there's no loose food on most of your plates, but a couple super crusty dishes, they will not come out of the wash clean because the sensor will think there aren't a lot of crumbs to remove. Therefore, it's better to just leave them dirty and let the hardworking dishwasher do its thing. Just remember, they were built to manage large pieces of food, and they can handle the stress of doing so. Modern convenience at its finest.

pile of dirty dishes crusted with food

Bonus Time

And guess what? Along with making your dishes more clean, not rinsing your dishes comes with two other key advantages. First, it's a more environmentally conscious decision. It's estimated that the lack of rinsing saves about 20 gallons of water per load of dishes. The other bonus is that skipping the rinsing saves time. If we estimate that you'd spend about 20 minutes rinsing for each dishwasher load, and you run the dishwasher every other day, you're saving 80 minutes a week. That equates to almost 70 hours a year of time you get back! It's clear that not pre-rinsing dishes is a win-win for both sustainability and time management.

water running from faucet

Other Uses For Your Dishwasher

It's also important to note that your dishwasher is not just for washing dishes. You can use this appliance to clean other objects as well. Dishwashers can also be used to clean baseball hats with this handy and protective hat form from Amazon. Certain types of shoes, such as flip flops, can also handle a run in the dishwasher. Plus, garbage baskets, dog bowls, kids' plastic toys, sponges, and scrubbing brushes for dishes are just a few more items that are safe to run through your dishwasher.

clean dishes in dishwasher

Dishwasher Care

In order for your machine to function at an optimal level, and for the large chunks of food to be successfully scrubbed from your dishes' surfaces, you need to take care of it. At least once a month, do a deep clean of your dishwasher so food crumbs and soap scum don't ruin it. You can do a thorough cleaning by following a few steps:

  • First, you'll want to clean out the drain on the bottom of the dishwasher. To remove the large debris, just use your hands. Add some baking soda there as well for best results.
  • Next, you'll want to do a vinegar cleanse. Simply place one cup of vinegar on the top rack in a dishwasher-safe container and run it through a wash cycle. You'll want to run it on a warm cycle so the vinegar will clean the dishwasher and remove any unseemly odors that have accumulated from normal use.
  • Repeat this process monthly, and you'll never have to rinse another dish again!
one cup on top rack of dishwasher

So overall, we've settled the age old question of rinsing dishes before running the dishwasher. And the definitive answer, backed by manufacturers, is don't do it. Ditch the pre-rinsing and save yourself some time, money and water. Cheers to no more pre-rinsing!

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