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What do you expect from your dishwasher? (moved from General Topics)

My brother puts everything in his dishwasher without rinsing. And I mean without rinsing. Not a thing. He'll put a dish that contained dip in the dishwasher with a good amount of dip still coating the inside of the dish. He believes a dishwasher should do all the work.

I on the other hand rinse just about everything. My expectations of a dishwasher are that it thoroughly clean and sanitize my dishes, which is something I don't feel I can do (and really don't want to do) myself at the sink. But I'm not of the mind that massive amounts of food residue, etc. should go in the dishwasher, though I know the manufacturers' say the washers are made to handle it.

What do you expect from your dishwasher?

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  1. Do your brother's dishes come out clean? If reality lives up to his expectations, then I guess I don't see a problem with it.

    Personally, I rinse everything first like you, and I don't feel like my dishes are truly clean until they've been through the dishwasher. In my experience my dishwasher doesn't get all the food residue off if I don't rinse first.

    2 Replies
    1. re: morningbun

      A household of one or two doesn't run the dishwasher after every meal, more like once every 24 hours. The idea of having all that food and garbage sitting in the dishwasher is disgusting. I rinse.

      1. re: Querencia

        Often more like once a week, if pots and pans are handwashed as we always do. Even when we had the KitchenAid DW we washed pots/pans by hand since specific ones were often used either daily or no less often than every other day.

        And certain things (such as melted Parmesan cheese, potato starch, etc) leave a residue that simply cannot be 100% COMPLETELY removed from a dish or pan surface any other way than by contact-scrubbing. I don't care how how many times a water/detergent combo is sprayed onto or flows over it -- certain things need "elbow grease", pure and simple. Labels such as "pot scrubber cycle" are nothing more than marketing hype IMHO.

    2. I once read new york times article that one shouldn't rinse dishes before putting them in a dishwasher...mainly because that's what dishwashers suppose to do...wash, rinse and sanitize...and also saves water.
      I also think the performance definitely depends on the washing agents. I recently bought a box of green dishwasher powder from Costco which didn't do any job...i went back to Electrosol tablets.
      If there are a lot of food particles left on my dishes, i still tend to rinse before putting them in the washer....only because leftover food can splash to my floor while putting them in the dishwasher,etc.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Monica

        I think articles like that telling people they shouldn't rinse before loading the DW mostly assume that the machine is running at least once every day. I have a household of three and our machine only runs every other day & sometimes every third day. I'm not leaving dishes crusted with food sitting in the DW that long.

      2. While I always lightly rinse just to get rid of the particles, I understand that some dishwashers are probably capable of doing that for me, I just don't want to take a chance with mine.
        My in-laws put pieces of food (I mean chunks of meat, potatoes, veggies, sauce, even paper sometimes!) in the dishwasher, stuck to the plate, and their dishwasher is definitely not made to handle that, I've never unloaded a load of freshly washed dishes from their washer and not had to scrub off the pieces of food grilled onto the plate by the drying cycle. AND, I've always had to pull out food from the bottom of the dishwasher where water is supposed to go out.

        1 Reply
        1. I lightly rinse - mostly just to get big chunks off - but I'll leave sauces, etc. I use Trader Joe's powder detergent (in the green box), and it does a great job. TJs claims it is "environmentally sound", though I've not delved in to what that means.

          I have an old dishwasher, and it does a great (and quiet) job - my dishes are spotless, unless I overstuff the silverware holder or leave dried coffee in mugs.

          I have no strong belief system related to my dishwasher. I just follow it where it takes me.

          1. Never really thought about it! But, I do rinse before putting dishes in. I dont run the dishwasher every day, and rinsing prevents odors- especially in the summer. As a side point- I have found that the dishwashing detergent sold at the Dollar Tree works just as well as Cascade. And, for some reason, I never put pots or pans in the dishwasher.

              1. Dishes should come out clean.

                As for pre-washing? Not in our house. Dishes are scraped into the trash, but I'm not rinsing or otherwise washing. That's why we have a dishwasher. That's also why our water consumption is really low. I have a dishwasher more for environmental reasons than convenience.

                1 Reply
                1. re: odkaty

                  This is pretty much what we do, too. I had to train DW not to wash the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Seeing was believing for her. Cascade powder works well for us.

                2. Oh gosh, what a can of worms you have opened in our house with your question. ;-)

                  What I *expect* from a dishwasher is that it get everything as squeaky-clean as they would be from the most thorough handwashing, and that everything comes out 100% dry without the use of rinse aid chemicals. That is exactly what we got from the early 1970s KitchenAid DW that was in our last house. Sure it sounded like the local hotrod track when it was running but nobody cared. It certainly was not as loud as a typical teenager's room in the pre-Walkman era, LOL.

                  Sadly, from what I have experienced with today's "improved" energy saving models, you can't get either of those things anymore. We put a $900 Miele into the kitchen remodel we did 7 years ago and after six months we simply stopped using the damn thing. Well, not entirely: It does make a dandy backup tri-level drainboard when there is an exceptionally large amount of washing up to do after a baking spree, LOL.

                  As for the rinsing question, my brother who is a plumber told me decades ago that the surest way to screw up a dishwasher is to run it without scraping and rinsing first. And even with today's "improved" models, the fact is that when there are only 1 or 2 people in a household, and thus it takes a week to fill up the dishwasher (and why waste electricity running it if it isn't full or close to it??), if all food residue isn't scraped and rinsed it will stink unbelieveably after 3 days. Not to mention all the bacteria etc happily partying away in their favorite kind of warm moist environment on all the food residue.

                  Because almost no DWs come with a TRUE heated dry cycle anymore (like in the good old days) but instead use residual heat from the hot water + a fan, it is impossible for things to get dry without the use of rinse aid. Which by virtue of how it works, leaves a very thin film of chemical residue. Not anything I want on things I drink out of/eat from/eat with/cook with. White vinegar is a natural alternative but does not work as well in the new machines that don't have a heated dry cycle.

                  On one hand we have people saying that the new enzyme detergents will "eat into" your dishes, etc, if there is "no food particles for them to work on". Doesn't sound like a great outcome to me, if true. On the other hand, my experience and that of others I know has been that the new dishwashers/detergents often can't get 100% of the food residue off if they are not pre-scraped and pre-rinsed. Not only 100% clean "to the eye" but also to the touch.

                  Personally I don't see why I should have to manually dry and/or re-wash stuff that comes out of a supposedly state of the art appliance that cost $$$ to buy and takes anywhere between 1 and 2 hours to operate. Wish I had our old jet-engine Turkish-bath KitchenAid again for sure. Poor thing's probably rusting away in a landfill somewhere by now though. :-/

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: skyline

                    We time our wash so that we are always there to open the door soon after the load is done. The residual heat is enough to dry the dishes completely in like less than 2 mins. I usually leave them alone for at least 10 mins since they're too hot to touch anyway. In fact, I think one of the newer features of Miele is that the door automatically opens when the cycle is over.

                  2. Hey Skyline. You sound just like me.
                    I know some Miele owners that will have caked on/baked in sauces and put them in the Miele and it comes out sparkling clean. No rinsing.

                    Our my brand new Miele, I was cussing up a storm. Rinse beforehand, trying out different soaps, etc.

                    So all my washes with our Miele is always on Pot/Pan setting with Cascade Powder. Definately pre-rinse and I strategically need to make sure every dish is parallel, not blocked, etc in order for stuff to come out clean. A clean cycle on Pots/Pans for us is 1:54.....I put alot of thought when placing dishes, cause if I don't, they will come out not clean if not worst....baked in crud, from the drying cycle.

                    It's funny you post that, cause it's misery spending almost 3K on a DW and it's such a finicky machine, but it's really quiet ;-)

                    I wonder oftentimes should have gotten a uber loud GE / Whirlpool

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chefwong

                      Ooooh yeah... the super-spacing is needed for sure! I forgot about that aspect of it. I learned the hard way early on that to place a dish etc in each space (without any empties in between) was usually an exercise in futility.

                      I never thought of using the Pot/Pan cycle (since I always handwash those regardless) although I tried every other cycle from Economy to Sani-Wash. AND always run the hot water in the sink before turning on the DW just to make sure the water is hot enough from the get-go. I can get 145F water from the tap if I let it run on full hot for a couple of minutes, so its certain that the house water temp isn't the problem, LOL.

                      I timed the Economy cycle once and it was pretty much the same as your Pots/Pans... just a few minutes shy of 2 hours.

                      These are 3K now??? Jeez, talk about adding insult to injury. I just pulled out our Renovation Costs file and see that we paid $999 (plus 8+% sales tax of course) for the Touchtronic (model G892) in Sept 2002 (how time flies). I see that model isn't even listed anymore in the "Retired" section of the MIele website, LOL.

                      I am embarassed to say the thing that attracted me to the Miele was the cutlery tray instead of the usual basket. The quietness came second, because the noise of our old DW never bothered me much anyhow. At the time, Miele was the only brand that had the cutlery tray which I still think is a good configuration for getting cutlery 100% clean... IF the bleeping dishwasher actually GETS things clean, that is. But at the time, who knew?

                      I am resigned to regarding it as a thousand-dollar hideaway backup drainboard though. We are looking to move, hopefully in the near future, and I find myself hoping that the kitchen in whatever house we buy has NOT been redone within the last 20 years because then MAYBE it will have an older type of dishwasher, LOL!

                    2. Since I will probably die rinsing, no, really washing dishes before putting them in a dishwasher, I don’t expect much. Actually, my DW has to have a short cycle (why wash for 3 hrs if they go in already sparkling clean?) and adjustable upper shelf, because od some high wine glasses I own. Oh, and it has to be Bosch. Other than that I don’t care what kind I use :)

                      1. I scrape dishes but don't rinse. I occasionally succumb to a little rinsing to avoid some odor if I know it's not going to be run today or tomorrow. I also have a strange aversion to putting in, say, glasses on the top without rinsing and having that drip, even though the only place it should drip is onto the inside of the door. ;-) Have to stop that really. But I don't have any problem with stuff getting clean. Too much rinsing is a big waste of water. Scraping off excess food is all you should need to do. I have a 4-5 year old low-end Bosch. Been using Cascade Complete gel packs and keep the machine filled with Jet Dry.

                        I don't get the drying issue, for what it's worth. Having the machine make the things bone dry is really just, I dunno, I always turned that function off on old machines since I thought it a waste of electricity. I much prefer having no exposed heating element so I no longer worry which rack I need to put things in; no more melted plastic on the bottom. In the Bosch, I've found that there's a sort of nasty time where the stuff will be wetter. If you pop the door open when the cycle is complete, and let it sit open for a bit, say 10 minutes or so, it'll be dry. If you let it all sit overnight, it'll be dry. If instead you don't do either of these, and open the DW after an hour or two, the steam in there will have re-condensed, but it will not have been long enough to fully air dry, and thus things will still be wet.

                        1. The only thing I ever rinse before it goes in the dishwasher is oat meal. We do scrape all of our dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. We are a house of two and only need to run the dishwasher once or twice a week. Oat meal is about the only thing that won't come off in the dishwasher if it sits for any length of time.

                          I feel if I'm going to rinse it, I might as well just finish the job and wash it.

                          1. Current and previoius generations Miele dishwashers have a Rinse and Hold cycle.

                            If you know you will not run the dishwasher, then the Miele can run a short rinse.

                            So it is pointless to pre-rinse. Just scrape. No stink or smell. Ever.

                            Without a heating element, Rinse Aid is part of the deal.

                            Somat/Miele brand leaves no chemical aftertaste. If it is good enough for German regulators/Eurocrats it is good enough for me.

                            With Miele brand tablets and any brand water softner salt dishes come out sparkly clean. And dry.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: DeeAgeaux

                              I bought a Miele dishwasher 7 years ago. Paid $1,100.00 for it and it has never worked. Does not clean the dishes unless I thoroughly rinse them and it stops at least a dozen times and I have to keep on pressing the start button ............it eventually goes through the cycles.
                              I have called Miele dozens of times with no results. They kept blaming me each time I called until I was out of warranty. Then I was told it could be the motherboard, which was way too expensive to fix out of warranty. So I deal with it and make sure the dishwasher is only 1/2 full and use only teaspoon detergent and rinse the heck out of all the dishes.....oh and I stand by the dishwasher while it starts and stops so I can press start again every time until it eventually gets going. I HATE Miele and I HATE the dishwasher.

                              1. re: salukilady

                                This is the second year in a row Miele Dishwashers have won JD Powers highest satisfaction award for dishwashers.

                                They have not won before 2010 because the sample size for the dishwasher survey for Miele was not large enough.

                                Sorry you had such a bad experience.

                                Most owners do not as evidenced by JD Powers Survey.

                                I love my Miele.


                                1. re: salukilady

                                  Oh, Miele so-called service? Ha! We had them out early on when we discovered how dissatisfied we were with the DWs performance. The tech's "solution": to say, rather snarkily, that "in order to work PROPERLY, as it is DESIGNED to do" we "MUST use the RECOMMENDED [i.e., Miele/Somat brand] dishwashing liquid and rinse aid" and that if we "don't CHOOSE to do that, we shouldn't expect OPTIMUM results". Well, excuuuuuse me but for $1000 the blasted thing should work acceptably regardless. Just like our old reliable late lamented KitchenAid used to do.

                                  I see that Salukilady's dishwasher and mine are the same "vintage" -- made between 7 and 8 years ago. I am beginning to wonder if Miele had quality control issues back then and the techs were instructed to not admit it because otherwise they would end up having to replace a lot of them.

                                  Once burned, twice shy. I would not buy another Miele product. My cousin bought a Miele canister vacuum, paid $600 for it and it is an unimpressive piece of plastic junk IMHO. On the other hand we have an Aerus canister vac (used to be Electrolux before they split off the name) that cost $1200 but will last a lifetime (possibly two, LOL).

                                  1. re: skyline

                                    All appliances have directions.

                                    European style dishwashers require rinse aid to dry properly.

                                    If you want the best results you should get something above the entry level Miele that has a built-in water softner and fill it with required salt.

                                    Miele/Somat brand dw detergent is simply the best and does give you superior results.

                                    I bought my first Miele DW about 12 years ago,moved, and just bought a new one.

                                    Again, tops in JD Powers overall satisfaction and "performance and reliablity" ratings.


                                    1. re: DeeAgeaux

                                      Unfortunately that rinse-aid quirk of Euro dishwashers was never mentioned to us when we ordered the thing. Otherwise we'd never have bought it. Obviously by the time it was delivered, installed, and used a few times we were stuck with it.

                                      The appliance store where we bought it (as well as the Wolf cooktop, GE fridge, and Duet washer/dryer combo) has been in business for over 50 years -- not Blowe's or the Evil Orange -- and is well respected in our area. More's the pity that they did not tip us off about the Euro dishwashers but then again, we had no reason (having had zero issues with the old KA model) to mention that we choose not to use chemical-based rinse aid. After all, every DW we ever had before dried everything just fine and dandy without it.

                                      Live and learn, of course. Some lessons are unfortunately more expensive than others.

                                      We have extremely soft water (public water supply, and we also had it tested ourselves when we moved here) and so water softening is not needed, btw.

                                      Although I do have respect for JD Powers ratings it is an inescapable fact that "one size" certainly does not fit all when it comes to any appliance, car, etc.

                                      Not sure where our Miele was in the hierarchy of dishwashers back in 2002/03 (whether it was "entry level" or not) but the fact was that $1000 for a DW was already at the max of our remodel budget after having chosen our most important appliance which was the Wolf cooktop. Btw, ours does have the built in water softener so maybe it was indeed near the top of the line then, who knows.

                                      Some people are happy with their Miele DWs and clearly some are not. Everyone's entitled to share their opinion based on their experience, after all. :-) I'm not claiming that all Miele dishwashers are junk, only that based on its performance (whether it's the nature of the beast or not, doesn't matter) we don't like ours at all, especially compared to the vintage KA we had, and regret the money we spent on it. The KA suited us in all respects; the Miele does not, in any respect. As I said: An expensive mistake for us.

                                      1. re: DeeAgeaux

                                        I'm using a European style dishwasher (not just European style -- designed and built AND used in Europe) and I *never* put rinse aid in the thing -- because I never need to.

                                        I *do* keep the onboard softener full of salt -- but no rinse aid. (My water here is rock-hard)

                                2. I scrape, but not rinse (like others, unless I know it's going to reek if I don't rinse)

                                  I run the economy cycle (20 minutes) then open the door.

                                  I have sparkling glasses and clean plates (and pots and pans) that are dry a few minutes after the cycle is finished. (Indesit dishwasher, all-in-one tablets from Lidl)

                                  Once in a while I have to put something back in for a second try, or scrub something off by hand, but it's definitely an exception.

                                  1. Depends on your dishwasher. When we bought our current house there was some old cheap thing in the kitchen that required us to practically wash the dishes by hand before putting them in. We replaced it with a KitchenAid that has a built-in disposal and requires no rinsing, just casual scraping.

                                    If we were to rinse our dishes first we'd simply be wasting water. Since the sink and dishwasher have a common drain, everything ends up in the same place anyway.

                                    1. Actually no one has mentioned it, but the soap also needs some fat and stuff in order to work effective.

                                      1. I have a Bosch that is three years old and I scrape but do not rinse, use the delicate cycle mostly unless I have baked on cheese or something. I will use the rinse and hold if I am not going to fill the dishwasher. The Bosch does heat the water fully but the cycle takes 90 minutes. My machine starts with cold water. I have a scrubbing option for baked on stuff. Everything comes out dry except plastic but I think that is because of the drying method used in the European machine. I pull out the food trap every month and rinse it weather it needs it or not. I also have a 30 minute cycle, more for glassware. I have a sanitize option as well. I use cascade action packs. I love my machine.
                                        My sister just bought a Whirlpool quiet partner about 6 mos ago, not sure of exact model, and is not happy with the way it cleans at all. She has to almost wash the dishes before she puts them in. Maybe she needs to tweek her soap a little.

                                        1. That she smiles and hugs me. I do all the cooking, she the dishes. Two homes, 1 cabin, no dishwashers. We are content.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. We scrap but don't rinse, which is the only way dishwashers save water over hand washing. Only two of us, do a load every other day on Light/China, no dry. 95% clean, which is about my average hand washing. Years ago, my father insisted on washing all the dishes before he put them into the dishwasher otherwise they didn't come out clean. I was there one day to unload it and realized a glass that was standing up and should of had water in it was completely dry. Turns out the dishwasher was only putting out a tiny bit of water so my father's washed, but not completely rinsed dishes were just getting baked. If he'd left something on them food wise, he would have known immediately.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: escondido123

                                              Not a Miele, but when we moved, we bought an LG dishwasher, spending more money on that appliance than we ever could have dreamed of. We bought it because it was supposed to have very low water usage and be quiet and energy efficient.

                                              But every three months or so (sometimes more often, usually right before a holiday) it stops working and everything has to be washed by hand. Also, even though it may have (supposedly has) very low water usage, it takes over two hours to run a complete cycle, though we open it to let the dishes dry (hate where the buttons are, too). We (thankfully) bought the extended warranty, and the guy who comes out to fix it (we now have his home phone number) says we should use the liquid detergent instead of the gelpacs. In a new dishwasher. We now do, of course, but that makes so much sense in a new dishwasher, right? And even when it is "working" things don't get really clean. Pots and pans, even that have been soaked? No way. Our other dishwasher that came with the house, the 25+ year old maytag with something like a 30 minute cycle, works so, so much better. One of the major things I hope to buy this year (when our extended warranty runs out) is a dishwasher to replace the LG, but maybe I'll look on Craigslist this time for an older model that actually works. Pfft. We also use it as a drain board when it isn't working, which is obviously a lot.

                                              1. re: Kosherbyforce

                                                Ours does everything and more! We always rinse. Never really have to scrape. Mom always said to leave a little bit of food so the soap granules could adhere and be most effective. 6 year old Bosch, mid level price. Even dishes from au gratin and baked ziti end up clean, but those I soak in the sink for a couple of hours, We can only fill it 2-3 times per week, so most nights we go to the "rinse and hold" cycle lasting 7 mins. I just wish it would learn to empty itself!!!

                                            2. So many aspects on how people use it.
                                              I never grew up with a DW....so my aspect is clean dishes by EOD.
                                              I've never left anything to rinse and hold.

                                              Before the lights go out every night, either anything that needs to be washed is getting handwashed or a load for the DW to run.

                                              1. I have a slim line Beko 2 year old dishwasher. I always rinse before putting things in it and the only cycle I have ever used is the 35minute quickwash (30 degrees). It does have a cycle that washes at 70 degrees but I dont see the point of that one.

                                                Now that the family has grown in numbers though I am looking to get a new full size dishwasher that must have adjustable racks. The reason for the latter is that I bought a set of Denby dinnerware and the dinner plates seem to be bigger than the previous plates I had.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: iliria

                                                  Take your dishes with you when you look at dishwashers to see how they actually fit into the DW. But you may not need adjustable shelves as most dishwashers are taller than they used to be, with more clearance between the top and bottom shelves.

                                                  I bought a new DW about 9 months ago and an adjustable top shelf was one of my main selection criteria, as we often adjusted the top shelf up & down in our old DW to accomodate odd sized pots, serving pieces etc. On that basis we bought a Kitchen Aid and are reasonably satisfied with it. But, we use the adjustable shelving feature much less than we used to as there is much more clearance in this DW between the 2 levels. (Our old DW was also a KA, so it's not a question of switching brands).

                                                2. You aren't supposed to rinse before putting the dishes in the dishwasher, but I rinse a little if the plate or dish has a lot of stuff on it. What do I expect? I want clean, sanitized dishes that I don't have to laboriously wash and dry. We have a rinse and hold cycle, which we do use if we are not running the wash cycle for awhile. If there are only 2 of you in the household, I agree with another poster who mentioned that it is icky to have dirty dishes sitting in the washer all day. Mr. Sueatmo who does the bulk of kitchen cleanup these days, is prone to putting dishes into the washer without rinsing, and then putting them away whether they are clean or not! Nothing aggravates the cook (me) more than having to wash the pan I intend to use to cook with.

                                                  1. I want it to clean my dishes without rinsing first. We scrape, but never rinse. I also do do put pots in, as mine are not dishwasher safe. But, I never the the dry cycle run; we just open the door once the dry cycle starts, give the racks a quick shake and let them airdry for a bit.