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]

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The Clever Reason Oranges Are Sold in Red Mesh Bags

Gingagi/iStock via Getty Images
Gingagi/iStock via Getty Images

If a detail in a food's packaging doesn't seem to serve a practical purpose, it's likely a marketing tactic. One example is the classic mesh bag of oranges seen in supermarket produce sections. When oranges aren't sold loose on the shelf, they almost always come in these red, mesh bags. The packaging may seem plain, but according to Reader's Digest, it's specially designed to make shoppers want to buy the product.

The color orange "pops" when paired with the color red more so than it does with yellow, green, or blue. That means when you see a bunch of oranges behind a red net pattern, your brain assumes they're more "orange" (and therefore fresher and higher quality) than it would if you saw them on their own. That's the same reason red is chosen when making bags for fruits like grapefruits or tangerines, which are also orange in color.

For lemon packaging, green is more commonly chosen to make the yellow rind stand out. If lemons were sold in the same red bags as other citrus, the red and yellow hues together would actually make the fruits appear orange. Lemons can also come in yellow mesh bags, and the bags for limes are usually green to match their color.

Next time you visit the supermarket, see if you can spot the many ways the store is set up to influence your buying decisions. The items at eye-level will likely be more expensive than those on the shelves above and below them, and the products near the register will likely be cheaper and more appealing as impulse buys. Check out more sneaky tricks used by grocery stores here.

[h/t Reader's Digest]