Recently, I’ve received, from a couple of different sources, ads advising me against “pre-washing” dishes before running them through my automatic dishwasher. The sentiment is not new. While I do recall a time when the general advice was that food should be cleaned from dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, it’s been quite some time since that has been emphasized. However, in the last few weeks, I’ve seen repeated messages from multiple sources, strongly admonishing those who still insist on maintaining their pre-wash practices.

In the past two decades, I’ve gone through a lot of dishwashers. The reason is a rant unto itself, so I’ll save that for another time. My point is I’ve made a very rapid transition from a typical 20th century dishwasher through the low-energy and low-water-consumption models of today. It didn’t help that they also eliminated phosphates from detergents at around the same time but, again, a rant for another time. My point for today is that I’ve seen some ups and downs. However, with my latest machine, they seemed to have solved the problem of cleaning dishes with reduced power, insufficient water, and under-performing detergent.

Or so it appeared.

A couple of weeks ago, found myself glaring at a coffee mug that had inexplicably been encrusted with orangesh-brownish grit. This happens every now and again. I sent it through a couple of extra cycles, but the filth would not budge. Finally I decided I had to hand wash it, and even then it took some scrubbing. However, as started to wash it in the sink, I noticed that the cup produced soap bubbles when filling with clean water. Strange – and a bit scary. Before my next cup of coffee, I tried putting warm water into the visibly clean cup and – same thing! In fact, nearly ever mug, cup, or glass I’ve done this with since produces a foamy cap of soap bubbles, albeit one that rinse out almost immediately.

There have been times since I got this latest dishwasher that I’ve noticed really bad-tasting cups of coffee or other beverages. I’ve always just ignored it. Could it have been dishwasher soap?

So now I try to remember to rinse out every class, cup, and bowl before I use it. I’m fairly certain I’m using far more water to do so than the dishwasher is saving with its low-water-usage design. It’s not very communal of me, but I do live in a swamp – there is no shortage of water supply around here. I’m also convinced that the constant exposure to consumer product chemicals such as detergents, perfumes, etc. is slowly degrading our health, so I’m going to keep it up.

Unintended consequences, anyone? Maybe someday our overlords will once again allow us appliances that work, but I doubt it.

photo of person washing plate

Post-wash. Photo by Alexy Almond on Pexels.com