Should You Rinse All the Food off Before Putting Your Dishes in the Dishwasher?

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Many kitchen conversations revolve around a question that’s nearly as old as time-saving appliances: Just how clean should the dishes be when they go into the dishwasher? Should you rinse your plate first?

Some insist that a quick pre-scraping will do, while others argue that the dishes must make contact with soap, water and a healthy dose of elbow grease before beginning their automated bath. Still, others come down somewhere in the middle.

The Importance of Dishwasher Detergents

Didn’t clean your plate at dinner? Believe it or not, some varieties of dishwasher detergents contain enzymes — amylase and protease — that help finish off your food. These enzymes digest proteins and starches by breaking them down into smaller pieces, much as your stomach enzymes begin the digestion process in your body.

After your enzyme-containing dishwasher detergent starts the breakdown process, your dishwasher rinses away the remaining debris, and your dishes emerge sparkling clean. Not all dishwasher detergents contain enzymes, and you’ll find that the variety of soap you choose plays a significant role in the performance of your dishwasher.

If your dishwasher doesn’t seem to be doing the job well enough, you may want to take a look at the type of detergent you’re using. Standard detergents will remove grime and oil well enough, and varieties with added bleach will remove most stains. Meanwhile, rinse aids can help avoid the white residue that hard water leaves on glassware.

Older detergents used phosphates, which cleaned well but increased the risk of environmental damage. Research has found that newer varieties with enzymes clean just as well, and the enzymes break themselves down quickly without harming the environment.

To Pre-Rinse — or not to Pre-Rinse?

Manufacturers of enzyme-containing dishwasher detergents discourage rinsing or pre-washing dishes; doing so can actually make the detergent less effective. Instead, give dishes a quick scrape, load them into the dishwasher, and let the enzymes get to work.

Still have questions or concerns about your dishwasher? Contact Sarah’s Appliance Repair today at 505-835-1927, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

At Sarah's Appliance Repair, we share various articles with appliance information, DIY tips, and tricks, and maintenance helps to keep your home appliances running!

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