Almost two thirds of Brits are making this key dishwasher mistake

It's costing you time and money.

There's one key dishwasher mistake almost two thirds of us are making. (Getty Images)
There's one key dishwasher mistake almost two thirds of us are making. (Getty Images)

When it comes to stacking the dishwasher the world falls into two distinct camps - those who rinse their dishes and those who just load it up, caked in food and all.

Turns out there's not an even split when it comes to the pre-rinse debate, with almost two thirds (62%) of Brits claiming to always lightly wash their items before loading.

But, according to experts those in the rinse-then-rack party are actually making an expensive error.

That's because it is costing a whopping £195million in wasted water every year, as there is absolutely no need to wash your pans and plates before loading them in the dishwasher.

As well as wasting money, pre-rinsing is having an impact on the environment too with those who needlessly rinse pouring the equivalent of 95 million litres of cold water down the sink every day. That's approximately 35 billion litres washed away annually.

Over half (59%) of those who wash then stack justify their actions by claiming it clogs up the machine if they don't, which they worry will cause issues with the machine in the long run.

Read more: It's probably time to clean your washing machine - here's why, Yahoo Life UK, 3-min read

Turns out we're not loading our dishwasher correctly either. (Getty Images)
Turns out we're not loading our dishwasher correctly either. (Getty Images)

Other reasons for rinsing include wanting to keep the machine as clean as possible (39%), ensuring no long-term issues occur (39%), and making sure it doesn’t start smelling (30%).

Over a third (37%) simply do it as a force of habit, while exactly a quarter say it is what they were brought up to do.

The study, commissioned by energy experts, Utilita, also found 42% don't load their dishwasher until the crockery and cutlery is "sparkling clean" following a good rinse under the tap.

Why you don't need to pre-rinse your dishes before loading

Of the 38% who don't pre-rinse their dishes, around half (53%) correctly claim it is pointless as the items will be washed thoroughly once they're in the machine anyway.

In fact rinsing plates beforehand could actually prevent your dishwasher working as effectively.

That's because it stops the dishwasher sensors from working correctly as they measure how much dirt is in the water after the initial cycle.

“Dishwashers are one of the home’s most hard-working appliances," explains Paul Hide, chief executive at the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances.

"They are designed to provide a full dishwashing function, which includes rinsing, so we must put our trust in them to save time, money, and the environment."

Read more: Scrubbing your oven with a dishwasher tablet tops best cleaning hacks list, Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read

Other dishwasher mistakes we're making

And rinsing before loading isn't the only dishwasher mistake many of us are making, turns out we're stacking it wrong too.

"Overfilling and placing items in the wrong location or at the wrong angle could prevent the dishwasher from washing your dishes as effectively," cleaning influencer Laura Mountford told Yahoo UK. "Large items and plates should be placed on the lower tray and then cups and utensils on the top tray."

We should also be separating items so there is space between them to allow the jets to wash. "This includes separating the cutlery so that the water can reach all areas," Mountford continues.

Ensuring that nothing is obstructing the spray arms from rotating properly is another important step. "Cups and bowls should be placed vertically so that the water can drain off properly and they can dry," Mountford adds.

Things you shouldn’t clean in the dishwasher:

  • Cast iron and non-stick pans: the dishwasher will strip away the non-stick coating.

  • Wooden spoons and chopping boards: hot water can crack the wood and damage the coating.

  • Plastic items: unless marked as “dishwasher safe” do not put plastic items in a dishwasher as they will be melted by the heat. If they are dishwasher safe then pop them on the top shelf only.

  • Sharp knives: the dishwasher will eventually make them blunt.

Many Brits are reluctant to use the eco mode on their dishwasher. (Getty Images)
Many Brits are reluctant to use the eco mode on their dishwasher. (Getty Images)

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It seems we're also unsure which cycle to use and which temperature to opt for either, with results from the same survey revealing that three in five households have never used their dishwasher’s eco mode (62%), which has the power to save each household £34 a year, on average.

While you might be put off by the fact that eco-mode can take longer, it actually means less water needs to be heated as it pumps round more times, with your dishes soaped for longer too.

“Our own research reveals that most households avoid the eco-mode on home appliances due to it taking longer - we need to help consumers understand the benefits," Hide explains.

“By taking longer to agitate the dirt on dishes, the dishwasher doesn’t need to heat the water to such high temperatures, which saves around 30% of energy on each dishwasher cycle and it’s the same for washing machines, too.”