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Why You Don’t Need to Wash Dishes Before Putting Them in the Dishwasher

To prewash or not to prewash before the loading the dishwasher? The debate on rinsing/washing/scrubbing before loading is strongly divided amongst family, friends, and even spouses. However, one side is clearly correct and we’re going to end the decades-long debate once and for all!

But before you go and tout “told-ya-so’s” to all those that have argued with you in the past, be sure to read on so you can properly explain why you’ve been right all these years.

1. Dishwasher detergent is designed to cling to food particles

This is a big one. Washing the food particles off before loading in the dishwasher means your detergent has nothing to cling to. What happens next is all that expensive detergent is rinsed away before it has time to activate and actually release its cleaning power! So if you prefer to wash by pruney hands, just do that because the dishwasher actually isn’t cleaning much beyond your prewash. As a small consolation prize to those pre-washers in your life, you should absolutely scrape off large food scraps, bones, etc. But leave the rest, toss them in the dishwasher and let the machine do its job.

2. Washing by hand is a big waste of water and time

If you don’t have a dishwasher, obviously you don’t have any other options than to waste water if you don’t like ordering takeout and eating on fine chinet every night.

But modern dishwashers are uber-efficient. Some of our best dishwashers from Bosch use only 3 gallons of water per cycle. Think about that for a minute- it’s really incredible you can clean up to 16 place settings at once with only 3 gallons of water! The average hand-washer uses 27 gallons (no wonder those hands are pruney) each session. If you wash dishes 5 nights a week then you’re going to save 6,240 gallons of water each year. Not to mention you can binge-watch an extra 30-60 minutes each night with all that extra time you’re saving.

3. Pre-washing could just be making your dishes germier

Sponges and brushes are hotbeds for E.coli and Salmonella — common bacteria that cause food poisoning. Unlike washing dishes by hand, a dishwasher kills germs with heated water. The HygienePlus option on Bosch dishwashers, for example, is an antibacterial cleaning function which ensures maximum hygiene by killing 99.9% of germs. This is achieved by rinsing dishes at a higher temperature of up to 158 degrees, sustained for approximately 10 minutes. Try doing that by hand! Kidding; definitely don’t try that by hand.

4. Dishwashers clean better than you do

Let’s pretend you’re like everyone else and love lasagna. Time spent scraping hardened cheese off the bottom of the pan makes cooking less of a joy than it really should be. Dishwashers remove tough stains with their internal high-pressured water jets — so all you need to do is to tip any leftover food from your plates into the Tupperware. Assuming there are any leftovers. And how many odd-shaped utensils, lids, and other cookware do you own? Dishwashers can spray into all those impossible-to-reach nooks and crannies that you can’t ever get quite clean

with a sponge.

Now you’re armed to the teeth with cold, hard facts and should feel free to commence the “told-ya-so’s”. Or if you value your relationships, you might just want to load the dishwasher with all those filthy dishes and show the sparkling results to your significant others. But feel proud on the inside you were right all these years and saved countless hours wasted pre-washing.

If you’re in need of a new dishwasher see our recommendations and say good-bye to pruney hands forever!


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