Why you shouldn’t rinse your plates before putting them in the dishwasher

While a fantastic invention, the humble dishwasher can be the source of much contention in any household. How best to stack it, who’s going to unload it, but also, should we rinse the dishes before they go in the dishwasher or not?

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After scraping large scraps into the bin or compost, many of us plunge our dishes into the sink for a quick pre-rinse before stacking them in the dishwasher, so as to avoid the machine getting clogged up with excess bits of food. It seems logical enough to do so, however an expert has now weighed in on the subject with an altogether entirely different perspective.

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Ashley Iredale, a white goods expert from consumer advocacy group CHOICE, recently told ABC that there is ‘absolutely no need to pre-rinse’ plates. We’re shocked to our core, too.

While you should still scrape any actual solid food off the plate first (the dishwasher is not a miracle worker, after all), Ashley explains that by pre-rinsing your plates, you may actually end up with worse results because most dishwashers have sensors to detect how dirty the dishes are and then use stronger jets accordingly. So if you pre-rinse your dishes, ‘you may actually fool your dishwasher’ into thinking it only needs to do a light wash and thus end up with worse results at the end.

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There is one caveat to the rule, however. If you’re not someone who’s turning on the dishwasher every evening, you may find that a pre-rinse is required. ABC also spoke to Bridget Gardner, the director of a Melbourne-based firm that advises cleaning and facility managers, who says: ‘If the dishes are coated in food containing proteins and carbs that tend to stick, such as milk, cereal or egg, and they are left for hours or even a day before washing, it is expecting too much of any dishwasher to remove.’

Well that’s one less argument the dishwasher can instigate.