Experts have revealed a key reason we should not be rinsing off dirty dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
It has to do with the amount of water that's reportedly wasted by this habit.
Sixty-two percent of people who own a dishwasher and who participated in a survey in the U.K. on the topic said that they always wash off their dishes, plates and cups first before loading them into the dishwasher.
However, the people who rinse off their dirty dishes first are also pouring billions of gallons of water away annually, according to a report from SWNS, the British news agency.
Even so, most of those who rinse off the dishes first justify their actions by claiming they're trying to avoid dishwasher clogs and other mechanical problems in their machines.
Many of those who said they don’t pre-rinse their dishes argued it's pointless to do so, as the dirty dishes will be washed thoroughly once they're in the machine.
The study, commissioned by energy experts Utilita, also found that 42% of the people will load their dishwasher only when they've already gotten their plates and silverware "sparkling clean."
Said Archie Lasseter, head of sustainability at Utilita Energy in Weymouth, England, "Knowing what our habits are costing us can encourage us to reconsider our behavior — and in this case, the savings are significant, so [it] should make households think twice," according to SWNS.
"We can tell households how much money they’ll save, but until they load the dishwasher without pre-rinsing and see positive results every time, they won’t be convinced," he also said.
"We hope that this informative campaign will encourage people to put confidence in their machines and save the pocket and the planet in the process."
A quarter of people said this is what they were brought up to do.
Other reasons that people said they rinse their dishes ahead of loading them into the dishwasher include wanting to keep their machine as clean as possible (39%); ensuring no long-term issues occur with the appliance (39%); and making sure the machine doesn't develop an odor (30%), SWNS reported.
But 37% of the 2,000 people surveyed also said they do it out of habit — while a quarter of people said this is what they were brought up to do.
It takes 77% of the people up to two minutes to rinse all of their dishes off after finishing a typical evening meal, SWNS reported of the survey.
For 27% of those who responded to the survey, the "rinse or not to rinse debate" causes arguments within their households, they said — with 57% of people saying they're responsible for loading the machine, while 24% leave it to a partner.
When it comes to the settings on their dishwasher, 62% said of those surveyed they've never used the "eco" mode, which — according to experts — has the power to save each household £33.88 (or about $42 U.S. dollars) per year.
Most households avoid the eco-mode on their home appliances because it "takes longer."
And only 2% use the "rinse only" program, with 36% claiming they have little or no knowledge of their machine settings.
Also, 46% of the people said they'd never changed their machine's settings since first using it.
Paul Hide, chief executive at the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances in London, said, "Dishwashers are one of the home’s most hardworking appliances. They are designed to provide a full dishwashing function, which includes rinsing, so we must put our trust in them to save time, money and the environment," as SWNS reported.
He added, "Our own research reveals that most households avoid the eco-mode on home appliances due to it taking longer — [so] we need to help consumers understand the benefits."
A New York father of four and proud home cook said that he always rinses off dirty dishes or cups first before loading them into the dishwasher.
"This is because I want them to come out clean from the dishwasher," he said, adding that the decision to rinse or not rinse may also depend on the type of dishwasher people are using.
‘Not using their appliances correctly’
Last year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that over 89 million homes in America had a dishwasher, as Fox13 reported.
"By pre-washing, not only are you wasting water (and money), you're also not allowing the appliance to clean the dishes properly."
However, many people are not using their appliances correctly, said Better Homes & Gardens.
"If you wash your plates, bowls or silverware before placing them in the dishwasher, you're not taking advantage of the device designed to make our lives easier. By pre-washing, not only are you wasting water (and money), you're also not allowing the appliance to clean the dishes properly."
The average American, according to Consumer Reports, wastes about 6,000 gallons of water per year just by rinsing off dishes, the BH&G report also said.
Here are the top 5 reasons people claim their rinse off their dirty dishes first, according to the SWNS report.
- Concerned about clogging the dishwasher
- Want to keep the dishwasher clean
- Want to avoid breaking the machine
- Do so out of habit
- Want to keep the dishwasher from smelling
Here are the top 5 reasons people say they don't rinse their dirty dishes first.
- It’s a waste of water
- Pointless to do so, since the machine rinses them
- Dishwasher has a rinse cycle
- Dishwasher tablets advise not to rinse
- "I can’t stand touching dirty plates."