Is rinsing dishes before dishwasher waste of time, water?

Local 6 investigates the 'Great Dishwasher Debate'


This story will either settle a long-time debate or start another family fight.  Should we rinse or not rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher?

Chrissy Whitwell volunteered her dishwasher to be part of a simple test to find out.  A technician mounted a waterproof camera inside to record what happens when the dishwasher runs.

Whitwell said she does not rinse her dishes. 

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

Whitwell is a wife and mother of two young kids who says her dishes stack up quickly.

As part of the test, we put a set of dishes in the dishwasher, as is, covered with some of the toughest stuff out there, including dried-on egg and oatmeal.  

When the water comes on full stream, the bowls and plates come clean quickly.

But even after an hour cycle, the pan with the dried egg does not come clean. Whitwell will have to scrub it afterward.

We also ran the dishwasher again after first rinsing all the dishes.

The test showed no difference between the bowls and plates rinsed and those that were not.

Despite the test and the results, for some people, old habits are hard to break.

"I have a sister who almost pre-washes her entire dishes," says Whitwell. "She says it disinfects it."

A recent Consumer Reports study says pre-rinsing wastes as many as 6,000 gallons of water each year.

Most manufacturers instruct owners to follow the directions on how to load the dishwasher for maximum results. Consult the manual for instructions.