May 17, 2007

Using Your Dishwasher? TANG and More


Okay, using a dishwasher may not be the simplest of things. You're using electricity and water that washing by hand avoids.

However, simplicity is a continuum -- we are all on different points on the line. And, for those still using their dishwasher, here are some handy hints:

1. Don't pre-rinse the dishes with a running tap. Take a bowl; fill it with hot, soapy water; use a sponge and wipe the dishes using this water. Tell yourself you're being European if this helps. Studies show that running a tap to pre-rinse the dishes uses 25 gallons per meal. Appliance manufacturers suggest that you just scrape and load: as we all know, this doesn't work well - which is why pre-rinsing continues.

2. If the dishes come out spotted, or worse yet, with a soap film - try Tang. There are those vinegar stories out there, but a half-container of Tang run thru a full cycle in an empty dishwasher gives a better result. (It's the citric acid in the Tang that helps to clean the dishwasher itself.) For a really good cleaning, after the Tang run, try a run of vinegar and baking-soda combo -- the dishwasher will run as good as new.

3. Run the hot water in the tap till it's hot, before you turn on the dishwasher. Hot water is essential for a good dishwasher result. Hey, and use the water you ran for something: make tea, water a plant, refill the dog bowl.

4. Always run the dishwasher when the load is full.

5. Don't use the dishwasher's "dry" function. Once the rinse is done, let the machine's work be done. Crack the door open, and air dry.

2 comments:

Andrew Kardon said...

Good tips here. We've had a few issues with our dishwasher and more than 1 service repairman has mentioned the Tang tip to us, as well as running the water in the tap till it's hot before starting the dishwasher. Though make sure it's REALLY hot.

One other thing most are saying is NOT to rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Instead, just scrape them in the sink (or garbage), and then put them in. The dishwasher's sensors will pick up the food particles and work harder in areas that have food, as well as adjust itself when particles fling off. If you rinse them, the dishwasher's going to think everything's already clean and not do as good a job.

susan said...

Funny how people assume things about water and energy use, and usually the convenient way is thought to be the wasteful way. Well, just as showering uses far less water than taking an old-fashioned bath, you might be surprised to learn that using the dishwasher (yes, always fill it before running it - ) is actually much more efficient:

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/08/dishwasher_vs_h.php