Dishwasher debate: To rinse or not to rinse

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DETROIT, Mich. — It's the dishwashing advice that starts a big debate every time we bring it up.

Consumer Reports says we don't have to pre-rinse the dishes before we put them in the dishwasher.

However, many disagree.

Chrissy Whitwell has two kids and does plenty of dishes.


She falls on the 'don't rinse side of the debate.

"I mean that's what the dishwasher is there for, isn't it? To wash your dishes, so why should I pre-wash them?" Whitwell said.

She allowed reporter Ruth Spencer to use her kitchen for a non-scientific experiment to see if pre-rinsing makes a difference.

One group of dishes was rinsed before loading; the other group was left covered with food.

In the end, when it came to regular dishes, we couldn't tell which were rinsed, and which were not, but, an egg- covered pan did not come clean whether pre-rinsed, or not.

"Of course our test confirms that rinsing won't touch dried-on egg, or actually any food that's burned on a pan. That goes way beyond the rinse, no-rinse debate, for that you just have to scrub," Spencer said.

Consumer Reports said it found most dishwashers do a good to excellent job of cleaning dishes without pre-rinsing, and all that rinsing can waste, on average, 6,000 gallons of water per year in each household.

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Ruth Spencer, NBC News


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