To rinse or not to rinse: Finally ending the age-old domestic dilemma on cleaning dirty dishes in the dishwasher

HOUSTON – To rinse or not to rinse: What do you do before you load your dirty dishes in the dishwasher?

“I rinse my dishes and then wash them, and then sometimes put them in the dishwasher.”

Helen Romero

“I rinse my dishes,” another woman named Becky told consumer expert Amy Davis. “My husband makes fun of me every time that I do because he says, ‘Why are you cleaning them before you put them in the dishwasher?’”

What experts say

There are plenty of resources that say we should stop pre-rinsing. Consumer Reports found that the average household is wasting about 6,000 gallons of water a year rinsing for no reason. Researchers said dishwashers sold in the past five years have a sensor that checks how dirty the water is to determine how much water and how long a cycle is needed to get the dishes clean. If the sensor detects little or no debris, it gives the dishes a lighter wash. That could leave bits of stuck-on food.

Why consumers still do it

“I don’t run it every day, and I don’t want all that food stuck in there... sitting in there,” Becky said.

A lot of people rinse because they won't be starting the dishwasher until they fill it up the next day or so.

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