A lot of people who have automatic dishwashers don’t use them, but they might save money on water and electricity if they did.
Even though 68 percent of homeowners own dishwashers, about 20 percent use them less than once a week, suggesting people are hand washing dishes.
Many reasons could account for this, but one of them should not be cost. Dishwashing by hand uses 3.5 times more water than a modern dishwasher and three times as much electricity, according to a 2011 study by the University of Bonn.
Appliance maker Bosch says more than 40 percent of families argue about the proper way to load a dishwasher.
About 60 percent agree about whether to pre-rinse. Nearly 39 percent of the arguers say they disagree on whether knives should point up or down, while 30 percent argue about where plastic containers should go.
General Electric Co. has defined three main types of dishwasher loaders:
- Protectors, who are concerned that utensils are loaded handle up so the eating end isn’t touched when unloading.
- Organizers want to get everything in and out as quickly as possible.
- Curators are the artists, particular about how the result looks, with similar items placed together, including directing pan handles in the same direction. The curators are also the culprits who rearrange the load.
What is the right way?
Dishwasher manufacturers and home style maven Martha Stewart agree on some basics for the right way to load a dishwasher:
- If the washer has a third, shallow rack on top, load flatware and large utensils there to free up space below.
- Put glass and plastic on the top rack where water pressure and heat are less intense.
- Point knives down for safety. Mix utensils in the basket so spoons and forks don’t nest together.
- Martha Stewart advises never to wash nonstick or cast iron pans in the dishwasher but stainless steel pans get cleaner in the dishwasher.
- Read the manual to find out about specialized settings. Nearly 70 percent of user just press ‘normal.’
Don’t put these items in the dishwasher
According to home expert Martha Stewart, the following items should never be put in the dishwasher: Acrylics and plastics, aluminum, antiques, blown glass, bronze, cast iron, china with metallic decoration, crystal, any item with bone or wood inlays, gold-plated flatware, iron, knives (they get dull), nonstick pans, milk glass, pewter, rubber tools, tins, wooden spoons.
Is pre-rinsing really necessary?
Doesn’t everyone pre-rinse dishes?
Maybe they do, but they don’t have to, according to soap and dishwasher manufacturers.
Except for removing large particles of food, pre-rinsing can actually hinder dishwasher cleaning, says the makers of Cascade. Enzymes in Cascade are designed to attach to food particles. Without particles, they have nothing to attach to, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Dishwashers made by Whirlpool have ‘TargetClean’ options in which sensors detect soil on dishes. Jet sprays focus on those casserole dishes and power off baked on food.
The Samsung Zone Booster setting puts more water pressure on one side where especially dirty dishes are stacked.