old dog new trick clean dishes without rinsingI admit I’m an old dog and do things the old way. So, when my grandson called me out for not washing the dishes with soap (I only rinsed) before putting them in the dishwasher, the practice got me to thinking.

Now, I remember the last time this old dog failed to rinse the dishes well before putting them in the dishwasher was 10 no 20…uh, let’s just say a really, really long time ago. I had to scrub them when I took them out as they were not clean. So, I just got into the habit.

Apparently I’m not the only old dog in the U.S. to have this issue. Good Housekeeping had a short survey before providing guidance. I participated and am in the majority—73% prerinse vs 27% who don’t.


According to most experts, it’s not necessary to rinse! The Good Housekeeping Institute spent more than 374 hours over four months testing 17 dishwasher models loaded with the dirtiest (non-pre-rinsed) dishes they could create to confirm this advice.

A sceptic writer for the Washington Post ran an unscientific experiment to see if this were true and verified the advice on the True/False meter as True.

Still a cynic, I ran my own test. Each dirty plate, cup, and bowl I placed in the racks produced a visceral reaction—I almost gave up the experiment, feeling I was about to give us ptomaine poisoning and leaving me with a load of dishes to re-wash.

But guess what? To my utter amazement, they came out clean as a whistle even though I only run the dishwasher two to three times a week. But why?

According to Good Housekeeping:

  1. Your dishes need to be dirty for the dishwasher detergent to do its job. The makers of the dish detergent Cascade discourage customers from pre-washing or rinsing dishes because it actually inhibits the cleaner from working. “Enzymes in Cascade detergent are designed to attach themselves to food particles,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Without food, the enzymes have nothing to latch onto, says P&G.” In other words, your precious detergent just might rinse away before it has time to do anything if your dishes are gunk-free.
  2. You won’t get your dishes any cleaner if you rinse or hand-wash them before you put them in the machine. Today’s new-fangled dishwashers are more savvy than what grandma might have owned. They have advanced sprayer technology and sensors that detect how dirty your dishes are, says Forte. And research proves that your extra rinsing efforts don’t help your dishes get any cleaner than your hard-working dishwasher alone.

Oh, and did I mention the water wasted?

One caveat, however. Dishes need to be scraped of food particles. Failure to do so may cause the dishwasher filter to clog.

  1. This leaves me a bit paranoid. I have no idea where my filter is and how to unclog it. Sigh…. Another thing to worry about.


Who knew? Apparently when handwashing dishes it’s not necessary to rinse off the soapy water! Now, I don’t see me doing this any time soon. I always thought soapy water could give you diarrhea. This is an experiment I’m not willing to conduct.


Saving water is important for our environment. I pledge to quit wasting water by not rinsing the dishes prior to loading the dishwasher.

Now, I’ve got to convince my grandson to do the same.  Any suggestions? Sounds like a tough sell.


Sign up on www.mariewatts.com to receive future Stories About Life delivered to your email address or read more stories by clicking here.

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share
Follow by Email
Visit Us