To pre-rinse or not pre-rinse

by Julie Finch-Scally

Each night when we have finished our evening meal hubby takes the plates out and rinses them along with the cutlery in hot water. 

I have read articles that say pre-rinsing is a waste of time, especially if the items are to be placed in a dish washer.  The flow of water in the dish washer is so strong that nothing is left on the plates anyway.

I am not sure I agree with this concept.  Yes the flow of water in a dish washer is strong, but quite often dishes sit in the washer for hours, or a day, until the washer is filled; this means the leftover food on the plate becomes hard and in the long run more difficult to remove.  The other reason I am not happy with this concept is the debris stuck to the plate is flushed around inside the washer flowing over other items in the machine and eventually ending up at the bottom in the filter.  No matter how hot the water and how strong the detergent I find this a little unhygienic. 

If the dishes are pre-rinsed this is not a problem. The dish washer scalds the articles during the wash so one can be assured everything will come out hygienically clean.

The same argument can be used if the dishes are washed in a sink.  By not rinsing the plates prior to washing all the debris floats around in the washing up water and passes over everything else.  Once again. Not very hygienic.  As washing up water is never as hot as the water in a dishwasher those bits of debris sitting in the sink are more likely to cause harm.

Now there is some argument for scraping the food scraps off the plates prior to placing the dishes in the dishwasher, and many people do that.  But this still doesn’t remove the gravies and sauces with minute bits of food from the plate.  And although the debris being flushed through the machine is not as messy as when dishes are just placed in the machine racks, I still cannot see this is any less unhygienic. 

I like the idea of plates being scalded by the hot water in a dish washer.  I also feel more comfortable with the suds and hot water of the washing up solution in the sink removing any bacteria left on the plate once those items have been rinsed prior to washing.

Yes I’ve heard the argument that dishes do not need to be pre-rinsed before being washed in a dish washer or washing in a sink, but I am afraid I do not agree with it.  I am all for pre-rinsing in hot water.  Then I feel comfortable with the results.   



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