Dishwashers have been around for a while now, yet still many households don't have them, and many that do, don't use them to their maximum potential. A big problem is that multiple false ideas abound. Mistaken, or outdated beliefs get in the way of getting the best from a dishwasher.
It's time to bust the eight most common dishwasher myths
Dishwashers use loads of water and are environmentally unfriendly
This is an outdated belief that stops many people from buying a dishwasher. Early machines DID use lots of water, modern models require only around half the amount you'd use to clean the same dishes by hand. As a dishwasher only heats the water needed for the washing up, they conserve energy too.
I don't have enough dishes to justify a dishwasher
Dishwashers come in a variety of sizes, and modern ones have a range of programs that allow you to adapt them to your needs. Even in a single person household, if you cook, you can find a dishwasher model that will make your life easier and save you time.
You have to pre-rinse dishes before putting them in the machine
Again, this was true in the past, it's not true now. It does make sense to scrape food off plates before putting them in the machine, but don't rinse them. The detergents used for dishwashers are designed to break down the dirt on dishes, if they have nothing to work on they could end up damaging the plates or the machine itself.
It doesn't matter how you load the dishwasher
Nothing could be further from the truth. Knowing how to load a dishwasher correctly and doing it right every time will give you far more efficient performance. Use the top rack for cups and glasses, placing them between the tines not over them. Dishwasher safe plastic goes here too, with bowls at an incline so they'll drain. The bottom rack is the right place for plates and large pans.
A full dishwasher is less efficient
An overloaded or badly loaded machine is less efficient. A properly loaded one will work just fine even when you've filled it to maximum capacity. Most modern appliances sense the size of the load and adjust the water jets according to need.
Anything used to prepare or eat food can be cleaned in a dishwasher
There are a few things that are best cleaned by hand, these include:
- Your sharp kitchen knives (some are dishwasher safe, check the manufacturers instructions)
- Cast iron pots and pans
- Wooden cutting boards or spoons
- Crystal glasses
- Anything with metallic or painted decorations
Dishwashers are filled with bacteria
The detergents used in dishwashers, and the high temperature the water is heated to, both help to keep dishwashers sanitary. You'll almost certainly find more germs on sponges or tea-towels and in the sink than you'll find in a dishwasher.
It's not necessary to clean a dishwasher
Your appliance has a filter, generally located at the bottom of the machine where food particles or other gunk is trapped. Taking the filter out and and washing away the particles will make sure the dishwasher drains properly and works at top efficiency. The other cleaning issue in hard water areas is limescale build up. Using vinegar in a hot empty cycle occasionally is one of the dishwasher tips and tricks that will maximise the performance and and longevity of your machine. Alternatively, use a detergent with an anti-limescale additive.