March 10, 2006
Not Pre-Washing the Dishwasher DishesAs you probably know there are two kinds of people in the world...those who pre-wash their dishes before they put them in the dishwasher, and those who don't.
So being your typical low-grade OCD programmer, I have always been a dedicated pre-washer. If I had a spatula, say, that had cake batter, I would wash it (with soap and sponge) until it was basically clean, then put it in the dishwasher. Dinner plates I would run under water and rub with my fingers until almost everything was off. Etc. I refused to believe that however much the dishwasher turned into a raging inferno of suds, it just couldn't match good ol' elbow grease. Plus, I was troubled by the thought of the caked-on stuff that is washed off. Wouldn't it just swirl around the dishwasher and stick to the other dishes? It just seemed so unclean.
But, finally, I read one too many articles in Consumer Reports about how modern dishwashers were really good and you didn't need to pre-wash at all, just get rid of the big chunks of food and let the dishwasher take care of the rest. So I started gradually doing less pre-washing. But I was still running the water to do some pre-washing, which defeated the purpose. About a week ago I made the vow that I would load the dishwasher without running any water. That was basically my enforcement plan: if I could get something off by a quick scrape then fine, but I wasn't going to work hard, because without running water there isn't much you can do to a lot of the caked-on gunk.
Let me tell you, it was tough the first time I put a peanut-butter covered knife in there...or a cup full of maple syrup...or a bowl cake with dried chili. But, I have to say that CR is right. The dishwasher is a freaking crucible of cleanliness. I don't know where the heck all that goop goes, but the dishes come out clean as a whistle, and I'm saving water to boot.
Posted by AdamBa at March 10, 2006 09:55 PM
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While some part of me wonders why I read this blog some other part wants to find out where you live. Cup of maple syrup? Chili? Bowl cake? (Whatever the heck that is.) Hmm.
Your loyal internerd stalker,
Posted by: Drew at March 11, 2006 09:11 AM
If it's any consolation, a part of me wonders why I write this blog.
I live in Redmond, natch.
And that was a bowl cakeD with dried chili.
Posted by: Adam Barr at March 12, 2006 09:24 AM
Hmmm... I am an OCD programmer and pre-washer. Nothing will make me stop even though I detest doing the dishes.
Posted by: Craig at March 12, 2006 01:45 PM
I think this depends on how good your dishwasher is. I've tried this tactic in the dishwasher at my place and it does exactly what you feared: it spreads the food chunks around and causes all the dishes to get incredibly dirty. Hmm... does this mean my dishwasher is broken?
Posted by: Mark Jen at March 13, 2006 05:12 PM
In Consumer Reports they talk about how "modern" dishwashers (or some term like that) should be able to handle the dirt. Our dishwasher is 7 years old and seems to do fine, but maybe you have an old dishwasher???
Posted by: Adam Barr at March 13, 2006 07:07 PM
A lot of it is down to the astoundingly strong detergents used. They actually reduce even quite solid-seeming food lumps to a solution, or at least a fine slurry that can be pumped out to the drain.
Scary stuff. As I fill our machine, I don't think about the environment.... :-)
Posted by: Hayden at March 16, 2006 05:40 AM
Our dishwasher has a garbage disposal in it. You can hear it grind away during the cycle. Once I learned what that noise was, I quit pre-washing and have had the same results as you. However, my husband always prewashes, even though he [should know he] doesn't need to. I would protest but I like the fact that he does the dishes so often.
Posted by: Beth at March 16, 2006 09:27 PM