Thursday, June 4, 2009

Saving Water, Detergent and Money with Your Dishwasher

First, let me point out that we don't recommend you wash your lab puppy in the dishwasher. Although Organic Journey Online is a dog-loving site, there are better ways to bathe your dog. That said, this photo that has been passed around the Internet for years, was perfect for this post. Done.

While most of us believe that rinsing our dishes before placing them in the dishwasher will bring better results, the New York Times article which is sited here insists otherwise. Read on...

“Pre-rinsing dishes is a big mistake,” said John Dries, a mechanical engineer and the owner of Dries Engineering, an appliance design consulting company in Louisville, Ky. “People assume that the dishwasher will perform better if you put in cleaner dishes, and that’s not true. Just scrape. Pre-rinsing with hot water is double bad, because you’re pumping water and electricity down the drain.”

Saving money, water and electricity to heat the water is a no brainer reason for trying this technique, so I'll be testing it out to see where my dishwasher comes in on this topic.

It’s actually triple bad, according to Mike Edwards, a senior dishwasher
design engineer at BSH Home Appliances in New Bern, N.C. “Dishwasher
detergent aggressively goes after food,” Mr. Edwards said, “and if you don’t have food soil in the unit, it attacks the glasses, and they get cloudy,” a process known as etching that can cause permanent damage. It’s also important not to use too much detergent, he said. How much do you need? That depends on how much food soil there is, he said, not how many dishes. “If you have a light load,” he said, “don’t fill the detergent cup all the way.”

Powder detergent is preferable to that in liquid or tablet form, he said,
because it leaves dishes cleaner. But store it somewhere dry, not under the sink, where it can absorb moisture and form clumps.

The article goes on to talk about proper loading, which is best learned from your manufacturer's manual.

Mr. Dries offered a final tip: stick with the normal cycle. It’s the one
consumer organizations conduct all their performance and energy tests on. “Manufacturers know this, so it’s the cycle that the most work went into,” he said. The pots-and-pans cycle is rarely necessary, except when you have baked-on foods, he said, nor is the heat-dry function.
“A trick you can use is called flash dry,” he added. As soon as the dishwasher shuts off, open the door. “Dishes are at their hottest point and give up water moisture the fastest. Within 5 to 10 minutes, your dishes are going to be completely dry.”

So here's your challenge: Let's all test this theory and see what we find out. Your comments will be helpful in reporting a larger sampling of tests. So get those dishwashers running!

Source: The NY Times, The Fix on Dishwashers, by Arianne Cohen

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