The sight of dishwashers in households has become more and more familiar over the years. The benefits that dishwashers bring are undeniable: they make our life easier by overtaking the job of cleaning dirty dishes, giving us back precious time that we can spend on other activities and helping us save money. It is often argued that dishwashers are eco-friendly too. Operating dishwashers is quite easy but using them the right way is not that simple.
There are 8 questions people often wonder when using this practical appliance:
- Hand washing vs dishwasher: which is better?
This has been an on-going debate ever since the invention of dishwashers. There is no clear-cut answer that which one is cheaper, which one is more efficient because that kind of answer does not hold true in all cases and there are so many factors involved. A lot of people these days still prefer hand washing not because of limited budget.
It is generally argue that an efficient dishwasher beats hand washing in terms of water savings and environmental protection. This appliance saves time and energy dedicated to washing. And while hand washing does an acceptable job, dishwashers kill most of bacteria with high temperature. If you are busy, let the dishwashers do the job for you.
- How to load the dishwashers properly
Sometimes the answer we are looking for is right in front of our eyes. The first place to start when you want to find the answer is the manual. Who knows about these dishwashers better than the manufacturers themselves? Each design/model has its own specification and manual; however, there are some tips that can work well with virtually any models:
- First and foremost: run your dishwasher in full to utilize energy, water, and detergent but don’t overload it.
- Similar items should go together to save space: you should place dishes near each other; the same apply with bowls, cups…
- Put pots or pans in the bottom rack and items such as cups, containers, bowls on the top rack, all facing down,
- Big items like cutting boards on the bottom rack.
- Which items should not be placed in the dishwasher?
Again, the manual will advise against certain types of products.
- Delicate and expensive glass/crystal
- Gold or silver items (to keep the gold-plated or silver-plated later to being scratched off)
- Insulated cups
- Disposable plastics (containers, trays…)
- Wood utensils (to avoid crack)
- Knives (you don’t want them to rust)
- Cast iron (to prevent rust)
- Metal products in general (except for stainless aluminum and steel) and dishwasher-unsafe materials
- Should we skip pre-rinse or not?
There is no end for this debate either. Those in favor of skipping pre-rinse argue that it is a waste of time and water; it is better to just scrape off leftover food to that none will get stuck in the dishwasher’s filer. And most manual from dishwasher manufacturers will tell you there is no need to pre-rinse your dirty dishes either because the appliances themselves are powerful enough.
For those who still give their dirty dishes a rinse beforehand, maybe they do so out of habit or that they find the appliance to not clean dishes well enough.
Actually, you can skip pre-rinse if you run your dishwasher daily basic. However, if you leave your dirty dishes in the sink for several days before putting them in the dishwasher, it is advised that you pre-rinse them first. And maybe you want to pre-rinse oily stuffs to make sure they will be cleaned properly afterward.
- What type of detergent should we use?
That is not an easy question to answer because there are too many detergents available on the market. Even after you narrow down the criteria (such as eco-friendly, cheap, automatic….), you are still overwhelmed.
Honestly, choosing detergents is often a matter of trial and error. You should note that when you test a type of detergent on a broken dishwasher, the result will not be OK regardless of how good that detergent is. Make sure that your appliance work properly before testing.
- Should we use a rinse agent?
In a nutshell, a rinse agent helps remove water dishes and support the drying process.
If you are already happy with the drying features in your dishwasher, you can skip using rinse agents. It is a common trick to use vinegar instead.
- Is the more detergent the better?
Come on, overuse of detergent is a common mistake people often make when using dishwashers because they think it will make their dishes cleaner. Don’t just fill up the detergent cup; you need to check the manual and usage guide for detergent first. Use the recommended amount or you may find residue of your dishes afterward.
- What should we use to clean up our dishwashers?
Vinegar does the magic of washing detergent residues, deposits or grease in your dishwasher and it is not even expensive. Run a wash cycle with an empty dishwasher on a periodic basic (every 2-3 months, for example). Let the appliance run for several minutes than fill 1-2 cups of (white) vinegar to the water.
A dishwasher is quite an investment for your family. Learning to use it properly will save you tons of time and effort for washing. Hopefully our guide can give you useful tips for doing so.