Nearly everyone (96 percent) wastes up to an hour each week pre-washing their dishes, according to a recent survey. But the reality is that the outdated ritual of pre-washing can actually result in dirtier dishes and waste a valuable resource – water!
People have plenty of activities they’d rather spend an hour each week enjoying, like online shopping, according to a survey conducted by Cascade Platinum and Marie Claire. And, with climate experts reporting that about half of the United States is experiencing some level of drought, it’s important for everyone to look for creative ways to save water.
Skipping the pre-wash is an impactful solution. In fact, if members of all U.S. households with automatic dishwashers stopped pre-washing their dishes beforehand, up to 130 billion gallons of water each year could be saved (figure based on an avg. of 47.3 liters of pre-washing water used for every load).
“As a busy mom of four, there are never enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I need to get done,” says popular blogger Daisy Teh of TheItMom.com. “I love learning that my dishes can actually get a better clean if I skip the pre-wash. It’s such a simple tip that anyone can adopt and it’s good for the environment.”
Here are three key dishwasher regime tips that can help you gain back an hour each week while also conserving water:
1. Assign dish nights – Creating a family “dish duty” schedule ensures the chore is evenly shared across the household, and it allows everyone to arrange their homework and activity schedules in advance.
2. Skip the pre-wash – Your dishes will come out cleaner if you leave the food on. Simply scrape off the large chunks and then load your dishes straight into the dishwasher without running them under the water first. This can help result in the best possible clean. Need proof? Three-quarters (74 percent) of survey respondents said that their dishes come out of the dishwasher dirty, spotted or streaked when they pre-wash. Here’s why: Detergents like Cascade Platinum are designed to work with food on. Its special enzymes attach to food particles, breaking them down so they can easily be washed away – even 24-hour, stuck-on food. And don’t worry about clogging your pipes; most dishwashers are equipped with a disposal, similar to the one in your sink.
As an added bonus, skipping the pre-wash also helps your family conserve water. Dishwashers use about 4.5 gallons of water for the entire cycle, while hand washing dishes uses about 27 gallons, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
3. Load for success – Place taller dishes in the back of the bottom rack so the detergent chamber isn’t blocked. Put fragile dishes in the top rack further away from the powerful sprayer. Put glasses between the upper rack tines instead of over them. This will prevent water spots from the tines drying on the glasses. And, make sure all your dishes are facing inward and not overlapping. This ensures the water will reach everything..
How will you use the time you save by implementing these dish-washing tips? That time is yours now, so use it wisely. And give yourself a pat on the back for helping to save water.