Dishwasher Debate: To rinse or not to rinse?

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - To rinse or not to rinse? That is the question when it comes time to load your dirty dishes in the dishwasher. It's a question KPRC Local 2 consumer investigator Amy Davis set out to answer when she stopped by a home in the Heights with a waterproof camera and rolled up her sleeves.

"I feel like we're doing dishes all the time," mom Jenni Garcia told Davis.

Even with a dishwasher, Garcia says she's always rinsed her dirty dishes. But is she adding unnecessary work to her already busy day?

To find out, we loaded a dishwasher with two sets of dishes. We rinsed one set before loading them. We left the other covered with food. We mounted an underwater camera inside to find out what happens every time you press start.

A lot of consumers we polled worried that food particles would fly around inside the machine and get stuck on the dishes. But our camera revealed that the debris just slides off the plate and down towards the drain. When we unloaded, we couldn't tell which dishes were pre-rinsed and which were not. Both sets were spotless.

The exception was a pan we loaded with eggs stuck on it. The dishwasher didn't get the eggs off.

In a recent Consumer Reports study, researchers got the same results. The magazine actually found the average household wastes about 6,000 gallons of water a year rinsing dishes destined for the dishwasher.

Dishwasher manufacturers say there is a right and a wrong way to load a dishwasher, so check your manual. You can probably find one for your model online.

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