Should I Wash the Dishes Before Loading them Into the Dishwasher?

Today, however asking if you should wash the dishes before loading them into the dishwasher is akin to wondering if one should clean the house before the maid services arrive. While it’s generally still being done by quite a number of holdouts, the truth is that they should not have to, with today’s dishwashing technology. Of course, if you are still washing dishes with your mother’s dishwasher or your grandmother’s dishwasher, you may very well have to wash those dishes (and well) before you load them into the dishwasher to wash them. There is something about just writing this that sounds like dialogue from a Three Stooges Movie-“You need to wash this (fill in the blank) before you wash it, OK?”

Double Washing and Why We do It

In thinking about this “double washing” that has gone on for scores of years, the question that it most likely raises first is “If you must take your dirty dishes and first clean them by washing them by hand, why then, would you even need to put them into the dishwasher to waste more water, detergent, and electricity to rewash them? It really doesn’t make even a grain of sense. Yeah, sure, many people believe that the higher temps of the dishwasher, along with the new steam cleaning options will go a lot further, in terms of killing germs and bacteria and ensuring that everything that is put into it will come out sanitized and sparkling.

The truth is, if you are careful to use the hottest temp of water that is comfortable for you and doesn’t feel like it’s burning your hands, you’ll be fine. Believe it or not, today’s leading dishwashing liquids have also come a long way, too, and if you use enough dishwashing liquid to adequately clean everything, your dishes will be clean enough for anyone to eat off of or drink from, and without any possible worry about getting sick as a result.

Then, What do You Need a Dishwasher For?

If there were no real need for dishwashing technology to be available, it would not have lasted nearly as long and progressed so far over the years. There are many reasons why we truly benefit from automatic dishwashing functionality and how far it’s come over time. One of the most prominent reasons has to do with the very same reason why the first non-manual dishwasher was developed. When dishes are washed by hand, and especially when we are in a hurry, chips, scratches, and breaks can occur frequently.

A wet, soapy plate might slip from our wet, soapy (gloved or not) hands and fall upon something more fragile–or directly onto the counter or floor, breaking both. The same thing goes with drinking glasses and even crystal stemware. Even when dishes are being washed by a person who has all the time in the world, mistakes can happen. It’s just the way handwashing goes. When you appropriately load a dishwasher, with each item exactly situated in the spot that was specifically designed for it to go, today’s dishwasher will prevent or even eliminate damages from occurring to your fine china, silver, and crystal at any time during the wash and even the drying process. Now, what happens after that is on you.

More on How We Depend on Our “Automatic” Dishwashers

For another thing, in today’s families, there is no longer anyone who is willing to accept the title of family “dishwasher.” So if there is no person who is willing within the household to be the dishwasher, then the task must be consequently handled by a machine–right? OK, all joking aside, there are actually somewhat similar and less humorous reasons that tie into the previous statement, somewhat loosely.

The thing is, in washing dishes by hand, and especially with any semblance of carefulness to not break or damage them, there is always the requirement of time. The way we live has made us more scrutinizing than ever regarding how we must use our time. Improvements in all forms of technology usually either focus or have something to do with new methods of shaving off minutes and even seconds from former capabilities. We dearly value any device or thing that helps us to reduce the amount of time we must dedicate to its use.

Dishwashers Save Us Money and Energy

In terms of energy saving, dishwashers save both on electricity and manpower, and not only on both of these, but they also go far, in terms of saving us on water consumption. When we wash dishes by hand, we use more water, including water that comes from the hot water heater.

This results in the hot water heater working a log more–thus producing higher electricity or gas bills for dish families with avid hand washers. And while many handwashing families observe a water-conserving handwashing technique of filling a clean sink with clean water into which they dip each freshly cleaned item in order to rinse it, there are just as many out there who do not feel that such a rinsing method can adequately remove all the soap residue from all the dishes.

So this portion of the population continues to rinse each item, one at a time, under a constant stream of running hottish water. –Yes, not cold water, hot water, which, once again, uses even more water heater power, so more gas or electricity consumption. And you already know how much energy a dishwasher saves for people.

More Reasons to Leave the Dish Cleaning up to the Dishwasher

Leading manufacturers are always presenting new and exciting concepts to improve dishwashing technology.

Bosch: Zeolite crystals are used to heat the interior of the dishwasher during the dry cycle, thus no electricity is needed. The washer absorbs the water from the rinse cycle, and the microporous mineral zeolite heats up to extremely high temps; drying the dishes in minutes.

Miele recently introduced their handle-less dishwasher at IFA, which merely requires a simple knock-knock on the dishwasher’s front panel to “voila!” open the door.

Kitchenaid unveiled their AquaSense Recycling System, whereby leftover water is used from previous rinse cycles to pre-rinse the subsequent ones. Don’t worry: freshwater is used for the cleaning process. The AquaSense uses 33 % less water.

GE presented their new line of a unique bottle-washing component in their dishwashers, which uses jets that are installed on the upper washer racks. These jets are designed to fit tall containers with small openings, including sports bottles and baby bottles.

The Remaining Dishwashing Process Yet to be Resolved by Technology

So with this matter hopefully settled, once and for all, there is still one more very pressing issue that no form of technology has been able to satisfactorily address: it’s the invention of an easy, time-saving method of putting up the dishes, once they are clean. This has become possibly one of the most “aargh” producing tasks that occur within today’s modern kitchens. If anyone out there has an idea on this, please submit it to one of the leading dishwasher manufacturers, and quickly!

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