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Clark, With over 50 years using dishwashers, I can say that the reason for pre-rinsing dishes is NOT because the dishwasher can’t remove dried food. It is simply that many couples without children at home will not fill up a dishwasher in less than a week. During that time, any food left in the dishwasher will start to rot and create terrible smells! Who wants to have a stinky kitchen that makes you gag just ot walk in? It is not worth enduring the smell to save a few bucks each month. When dishwashers are built that can preserve stuck-on food so it doesn’t rot (refrigeration coils?, exhaust fans?), I will keep on rinsing, no matter how good the dishwasher cleans. The cleaning ability is not the problem. It is the rotting food stink, as most homeowners know. So please learn this truth, or forever shut up about pre-rinsing!
Hardness of water makes a huge difference in how effective dishwasher cleaning is. My son lives in South Carolina; I live in Arizona. One of the first comments they made after moving there was how much better their dushwasher cleans. They have relatively soft water; ours is quite hard. Our hard water commonly etches glassware.
I just saw this really helpful You Tube video about dishwashers, pods vs powdered detergent, and the pre-wash cycle. https://youtu.be/Ll6-eGDpimU?si=kRzd0a_3B6HieBJW
My dishwasher says to use the pods, but they have a marketing agreement with the pod companies.
Also, I found that the pods did not always clean the dishes/pots very well at all and I had to re-wash them!!
Turns out that the pods don’t release until the 2nd main wash cycle, so during the pre-wash cycle, it’s just water.
I switched to powdered detergent which is about 1/2 the price of the pods, for approx. the same number of washes (in the 60 washes size).
No-- I’m not saving tons of money, but I really don’t like the pods!!
Also, people say that they powdered detergent spills, but if you put it in over the dishwasher and some spills, it’s soap!! What’s the big deal?!?
I put a portion of my powdered detergent in an old Gladware container and spoon it out in both the pre-wash and main wash compartments, so there’s not spill. Then put the spoon the dishwasher.
Also - the video talks about hard water. If you don’t have hard water, you DON’T fill the up the containers all the way! There is a line about 1/2 way in the container for soft water! I never saw it before!
The pods are actually the same powdered detergent, but packaged and marketed differently and cost about double the price.
There is no doubt that pods cost more. But if you are over 75 and suffer from arthritis, then it is difficult to use a spoon or other small device to fill those tiny compartments. If you spill powder in the floor, it means a difficult clean-up with a broom and hands and back that refuse to bend to recover the powder. On the other hand if a pod is dropped, I can recover it using my hand-held grabber (pick-up device), without bending, stooping, or squatting. If you are young, you have options not available to us over-the-hill gang.
Our dishes sometimes, not every time, come out of the dishwasher with a weird smell. I have used different detergents, powder and pods, scented and unscented, rinse aid, cleaners and I clean the drain every time. I even tried spraying all the dishes with vinegar before the wash - but still the weird smell. The dishwasher is a Bosch and is only a couple years old. I can use a cleaner and it goes away for a few washes then returns. Anyone else have this issue and a solution?
If you have ever removed the bottom cover (or screen) from your dishwasher, you would know the answer. Most, if not all dishwashers, have a small pool of water in the bottom, that does not get removed during the drain cycle. If that water still contains food particles after the rinse cycle, then you will get bad smells from the rotting food.
Yesterday my son loaded the dishwasher after Thanksgiving Dinner. He slightly scraped dishes, but did not rinse them. Once full, he ran the dishwasher. I didn’t check the settings, and later was worried since the last time I’d run it, it had been on “light.”
With the exception of one pot, which had a small spot of baked on potatoes, everything came out quite clean. That baked on potato then easily soaked off with little effort.
I may change my pre-rinsing if I can change the pattern of the last 60 years…
He had switched it from light to normal, which reset the “boost” temperature to the temp supplied by the water heater. Also not a heated dry.
I will add that dishwashers (old and new) are not good at removing “starch film”. It’s the residue left over from rice/potatoes/etc. that turns sticky quickly. It needs friction to remove.
We’ve had numerous problems with dishwashers (old and new) and garbage disposals over the 13 years I’ve been married due to this. For the dishwasher I realized I’m just rewashing these by hand each time, but a lightbulb went off in my head once when we had an appliance person out for our garbage disposal. We had on ongoing problem with our disposal and dishwasher and when we replace the disposal, the problem started back up after 1 year. The appliance person mentioned he normally only sees this problem in Asian households (I’m white). After getting over my initial irritation at the comment, I finally retorted with “my husband is Indian” and the man quickly asked if we ate a lot of rice. Turns out the fancy rice we use creates a build up problem in the appliances. (Probably also the potatoes from the Swedish side of my family - )
So yes, please pre-rinse if you see that sticky starch film on your dishes because even if it does come off a little, that film really gunks up the works. Also, it only comes off a little (thankfully) so you are saving the waste of time/water/soap/electricity when you have to inevitably rewash those items by hand.
Here in Hawaii a common dish is ‘sticky rice’.
My dishwasher has a steam function for if you aren’t rinsing, and not washing right away. I suspect it would help with rice or potato film…