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How to use a dishwasher?
Old 10-22-2013, 11:08 AM   #1
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How to use a dishwasher?

Maybe that should have read... When to use a Garbage Disposal and when to let the Dishwasher do it?

Growing up relatively poor, (no hot water heater 'til I was 8... Big kettle on kerosene stove was hot water for baths, dishes etc.) never considered a dishwasher until we had we were in our forties. This meant that old habits died hard, so since then we ususally scrape, and rinse our dishes before putting them in to the dishwasher.

Shock and surprise. Our grandkids came to visit and upon finishing the meal, proceeded to bring all dishes, directly to the dishwasher... Aaaach...leftover foods and all still, on the dishes... milk in the glasses, forks and spoons with cheese and other gooky stuff attached. OMG... DW like to have had a heart attack.

DIL was amazed that we were so surprised. Forever, since they were first married, all dishes went into the dishwasher, the way they came off the table. Only major bones... ribs etc, were separated. She said, "That's what dishwashers are for... and why they are built with a macerator..."

So that's the question... Are we 'THAT" far behind the times? We surely overdo the prerinse, but the one stop, table to dishwasher was a surprise.

How do you use your dishwasher?
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:16 AM   #2
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We clean them off pretty well. There are only two of us and the dishes will sit for a few days sometimes. I always though the dried stuff would be harder tfor the machine to remove.

Don't have a disposal as we were told on a septic system you should not have one............
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:23 AM   #3
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The loose stuff, and all egg residue, gets pushed into the garbage can. Then the dishes go into the dishwasher, no hand rinse. That works fine for us, and saves water. Dishwashers do have different features, not all of them handle large food pieces well, I think. Ours has a couple of filters I can do without having to clean out too often. And no need to clog the drain with food that can easily be dumped in the garbage, even if it does get chopped up.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:23 AM   #4
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Really kind of depends on your dishwasher's strength. Ours will pretty much clean whatever is left on the plates. Have had other dishwashers over the years where you basically had to do the dishes first or nothing would get clean.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:24 AM   #5
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Not all dishwashers have a built in 'chopper'. Mine doesn't, a newish Bosch. I scrape and rinse like you.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:25 AM   #6
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How do you use your dishwasher?
It sounds like we use ours pretty much as you do, but maybe even more primatively.
1) Trash can: Everything that can easily be knocked off with a fork. Putting it down the garbage disposer just takes more time, adds a load to the city sewage plant, and increases the odds of having a clogged sewer pipe (with resultant inconvenience/cost)
2) Rinse under faucet briefly (use sponge to remove sticky stuff).
3) Into the dishwasher. Cups, glasses, and most flatware goes straight into the dishwasher.

The dishwasher does the thorough cleaning, gets the backs of dishes and the heat does a good job of stopping the spread of colds, etc.

I know, I know: Modern dishwashers have all kinds of sensors that tell them how dirty the dishes are and how long to run. They have grinders to make the big stuff go down the drain. And putting one bone in there will cost me about $100 to get it fixed. Doing it my way only takes less than a minute for 4 place settings, I don't use much water, I don't get a pound of cheese from the lasagne spread all over my cups and glasses, and my dishes come out of the dishwasher clean with no need to inspect each one.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:26 AM   #7
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And of course the follow up question--what's the best loading method?
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:34 AM   #8
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Really kind of depends on your dishwasher's strength. Ours will pretty much clean whatever is left on the plates. Have had other dishwashers over the years where you basically had to do the dishes first or nothing would get clean.
I know. That's what mine's like (your others). It's like paying the haulers and they dump your trash back on the driveway.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:53 AM   #9
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I scrape then rinse also. If there is anything "gooey" I use a plastic scraper to loosen it before I rinse. I only need to run the dishwasher 2x a week and the thought of having leftover food in there grosses me out (and I'd worry about attracting bugs).
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:57 AM   #10
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I usually rinse items before placing them in the dishwasher. Like others have said, there's only one of me, and the thing only gets run 1-2 times/wk.
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Old 10-22-2013, 12:19 PM   #11
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Food in garbage, then to dishwasher, no rinse or scrape.
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Old 10-22-2013, 12:26 PM   #12
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I just got a fancy new dishwasher with a garbage disposal built in, but it doesn't seem to always work. Since I don't run the dishwasher everyday, I usually scrape then rinse my dishes as well, since 3 day old rice doesn't always come clean. If I'm having a dinner party, we only scrape, then run the dishwasher right away.

I had a friend help me load the dishwasher, and she had no idea that plastic was only supposed to go on the top rack. She never did it at home, and they consistently ruined plastic dishes by putting them in the bottom. I guess no one ever does classes on how to load a dishwasher, but considering I read anything with words on it, I've read a lot of plastic dishes that say "top rack dishwasher safe".
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Old 10-22-2013, 12:37 PM   #13
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I knock the large stuff off the plates and put everything in unrinsed in the dishwasher. I found that if I load correctly I get excellent results. After some trial and error I found that using our dishwasher's option to boost the water temperature helps a lot. I use Cascade and then an additive (Dishwasher Magic by Summit Brands but the name recently changed. It's the everyday use one, not the periodic dishwasher treatment) and I use a lot less of the additive than they recommend.

I know that boosting the water heat increases the energy cost but I don't use the heat in the drying cycle so I expect it equals out.

ON THE OTHER HAND.....

DH actually washes every plate, glass and utensil before putting it in. He could just use the dishwasher as a drying rack because things are clean when he puts them in the dishwasher. I've seen him take out dirty things that I have put in and he washes them to make room for more of the clean things he's already washed.

It's one of those things that I've decided to accept as "endearing" because he can't seem to do it any other way and at least he's cleaning up the kitchen.
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Old 10-22-2013, 12:43 PM   #14
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I put any solid food residue in the garbage can but I do not rinse my dishes. However, I do soak dishes or pots with dried on residue overnight before putting them in the dishwasher. I recently got a good set of stainless steel cookware and if I don't get the temperature right, food will stick to the bottom of the frying pan. That's the kind of crud that I soak first. Incidentally, I have discovered Barkeeper's Friend (oxalic acid) and one in a while I use that to get my stainless steel pans (and sinks) sparkling.
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Old 10-22-2013, 01:44 PM   #15
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I hardly pre-clean anything, but one exception is eggs. Eggy plates get more or less completely washed before they go in the machine for a final shine-up; ditto the knives and forks used to eat the eggs. I don't know why, but for some reason if I don't do this, all the crockery in the entire dishwasher comes out with an unpleasant smell (which, interestingly, isn't much like any smell I associate with eggs).
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:50 PM   #16
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I recall consumer reports saying a few years back that it was unnecessary to pre-rinse. I tried it and the dishes never seemed to be as clean. We always scrape and rinse now. Always have to wipe down anything that had grits on it - that stuff is like glue when it dries.

On a related note, how often do folks clean their dishwashers? I was having a problem with particulate residue on glasses and mugs. After a bit of searching and a couple of YouTube videos I figured out how to partially disassemble the equipment at the bottom of the dishwasher to get at the filter screens, and discovered a disgusting amount of residue and cat hair. Ugh.
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:58 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack_Pine View Post
We clean them off pretty well. There are only two of us and the dishes will sit for a few days sometimes. I always though the dried stuff would be harder tfor the machine to remove.

Don't have a disposal as we were told on a septic system you should not have one............
+1

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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
And of course the follow up question--what's the best loading method?
and do utensils go in handle up or handle down? and should you pay off your mortgage or not?
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:58 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
DIL was amazed that we were so surprised. Forever, since they were first married, all dishes went into the dishwasher, the way they came off the table. Only major bones... ribs etc, were separated. She said, "That's what dishwashers are for... and why they are built with a macerator..."
?
Newer dishwashers do not have a macerator. That's why the are so quiet. They have a trap and a filter that you have to clean out.

One of my uncles is a plumber. He thinks garbage disposals are the evil tools of Satan. Nothing should be put down the sink that won't completely dissolve in very COLD water. Anything else is asking for trouble down the road. Same rule for dishwasher.
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Old 10-22-2013, 04:33 PM   #19
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I recall consumer reports saying a few years back that it was unnecessary to pre-rinse. I tried it and the dishes never seemed to be as clean. We always scrape and rinse now. Always have to wipe down anything that had grits on it - that stuff is like glue when it dries.

On a related note, how often do folks clean their dishwashers? I was having a problem with particulate residue on glasses and mugs. After a bit of searching and a couple of YouTube videos I figured out how to partially disassemble the equipment at the bottom of the dishwasher to get at the filter screens, and discovered a disgusting amount of residue and cat hair. Ugh.
I hope you are not using the heat drying cycle when you put your cat in the dishwasher!

When dishwasher detergents changed their formulas a few years back we started getting an ugly film on our glasses and silverware. I looked this up online and started using a detergent additive. But first I did a dishwasher cleaning and disinfecting treatment Dishwasher Magic -
Dishwasher Magic Dishwasher Cleaner & Disinfectant - Free Shipping

It was a one time treatment run with the dishwasher empty. It made a big difference.

It did a very good job and afterwards the racks slide smoothly and all the hard water crud is gone.
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Old 10-22-2013, 04:41 PM   #20
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I'm a "no-scrape or rinse except for eggs" guy. DW cleans everything. All the dishes come out the same

But I'll admit that now that they've banned phosphates from dishwasher detergents, there will be the occasional one of my items that comes out with a bit of dried on gunk.
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