Why You Should Never Rinse Your Dishes Before Putting Them in the Dishwasher

iStock.com/AlexRaths
iStock.com/AlexRaths

If you give your plates and bowls a quick rinse before sticking them in the dishwasher, you may be surprised (and disgusted) to learn that it doesn’t make them any cleaner. In fact, in many cases, it does the opposite. MyRecipes.com recently provided a helpful refresher on how to use your dishwasher the right way, and the good news is that it doesn’t involve any extra work beforehand.

One of the arguments against pre-rinsing is that certain detergents are designed to cling to food particles, as the Cascade detergent brand informed The Wall Street Journal in 2015. Without a surface to stick to, your dishes won’t get as squeaky clean.

Consumer Reports offers another explanation. According to the product-testing magazine, newer dishwashers—those purchased within the last five years or so—won’t wash your dishes for very long if the sensors in the machine don’t detect much dirt in the water. “When that happens, the dishwasher gives them just a light wash, and items come out less than sparkling,” Consumer Reports's Ed Perratore wrote in 2016. “To avoid that lackluster result, don’t rinse; just scrape off bits of loose food.”

There’s also a major environmental factor to consider. One mind-blogging statistic from Consumer Reports states that the average person wastes 6000 gallons of water a year by pre-rinsing. Most dishwasher machines use just 3 to 5 gallons of water per load, while the average person uses about 27 gallons when washing dishes by hand, according to The National Resource Defense Council.

If you need another reason to give up your rinsing habit, just think of all the time you’ll save by not doing it. Sure, you can still scrape off big chunks of excess food or soak your egg yolk-stained plates in hot water first, but there’s no reason to rinse every single item before loading your dishwasher.

So what are you going to do with all that extra free time? For one, you could start by reading our list of 14 other life hacks to make doing the dishes a whole lot easier. After all, the less time spent doing chores, the better off you'll be.

[h/t MyRecipes.com]

Relax: Fears of a French Fry Shortage Are Probably Overblown

magann/iStock via Getty Images
magann/iStock via Getty Images

Americans love their French fries. According to The New York Times, Americans eat an average of an average of 115.6 pounds of white potatoes annually, "of which two-thirds are in the form of French fries, potato chips and other frozen or processed potato products."

If you’re someone who annually devours the weight of a small child in fries at McDonald's or elsewhere, you’ll be distressed that potato farmers are facing a shortage—one that could create a fry crisis. But these concerns are likely overblown.

According to Bloomberg, a cold snap in October led to crop-threatening frosts at potato farms in Manitoba in Canada, as well as in North Dakota and Minnesota. In Manitoba, 12,000 acres went unharvested, the equivalent to what was left behind in all of Canada last season. Fields in Idaho and Alberta, Canada, were also hit, but some crops were able to be salvaged. Combined with increased demand in Canada for spuds, North America is looking at a potential tuber deficit.

Why are fries facing shortages, but not mashed potatoes? Fry vendors prefer bigger potatoes for slicing, which tend to be harvested later in the year and were subject to ground freezing and other damage.

This all sounds like cause for national alarm, but the spud industry has taken measures to keep the market fed. Potato experts told Bloomberg that while potato shipments will likely have to be rerouted from more fertile farms and into new distribution channels, the consumer may not notice any difference. A plea for rational thought was echoed by Frank Muir, president of Idaho Potato Commission. Muir told The New York Times that while Idaho is down 1 billion spuds, the state still managed 13 billion. His message to consumers is “Don’t panic … You can still go out and order them as you normally do.”

According to Muir, the major fast food chains—McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King, among others—have temperature-controlled storage for their potatoes and probably have an inventory to fall back on. Rationing won't be needed—unless, of course, you’re watching your weight.

[h/t Bloomberg]

It’s National Cookie Day! Here’s Where to Score Some Free Treats

UMeimages/iStock via Getty Images
UMeimages/iStock via Getty Images

If you plan on eating as many baked goods as possible this December, now's your chance to get a head start. Today—December 4—is National Cookie Day, and chains across the country are celebrating by handing out free cookies. Here are the best places to snag a treat before the day is over.

    • Great American Cookies, a chain that's concentrated in the southeastern U.S., is marking the day by rewarding members of its loyalty program. If you already have the loyalty app, you can swing by a participating location any time today and pick up your free original chocolate chip cookie without making any additional purchases. The promotion only applies to customers who signed up for the program before midnight on December 3, so you aren't eligible for the free snack if you download the app on your way to the store.
    • The cookie giant Mrs. Fields is also participating in the holiday. Buy anything from one of the chain's stores on December 4 and you'll get a free cookie with your purchase. If you spring for the Nutcracker Sweet Tower, which is made from five festive containers of baked goods, you can send a Mrs. Fields Peace, Love & Cookies 30 Nibbler Tin to a friend for free.
    • But what if you're looking for a free cookie with no strings attached? Surprisingly, a hotel chain may be offering the best deal for National Cookie Day. Throughout December 4, you can stop by a DoubleTree by Hilton and ask for a free cookie at the front desk. DoubleTree provides complimentary cookies to guests at check-in all year round, and every year on National Cookie Day, the hotel chain extends that offer to everyone.

There's no shortage of great cookies across the U.S. If you're willing to travel to satisfy your sweet tooth, here are the best chocolate chip cookies in all 50 states.

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