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#1
Old 07-07-2013, 01:52 PM
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Do dishwashers actually work?

My sister and I want a dishwasher installed, but my stepfather and mother keep trying to talk us out of it, saying it's pointless because you have to wash dishes before putting them in the dishwasher anyway, so what's the point.

Is that true, or do modern dishwashers actually work, and if so how would we find one that does or that doesn't. And I understand the enviromentalists got all the detergent that worked decent banned, have they come up with anything decent yet for detergent?

Last edited by Mdcastle; 07-07-2013 at 01:52 PM.
#2
Old 07-07-2013, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdcastle View Post
My sister and I want a dishwasher installed, but my stepfather and mother keep trying to talk us out of it, saying it's pointless because you have to wash dishes before putting them in the dishwasher anyway, so what's the point.
Where, in instructions for dishwashers, does it say that?

And there's no law that says you have to use soap or detergent. You'd be surprised how clean they come out without it.

Last edited by Musicat; 07-07-2013 at 01:55 PM.
#3
Old 07-07-2013, 01:56 PM
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You have to rinse off the big chunks. The dishwasher still does the actual washing.
#4
Old 07-07-2013, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Mdcastle View Post
Is that true, or do modern dishwashers actually work, and if so how would we find one that does or that doesn't.
I'm not sure why you'd want a dishwasher that doesn't work, but if you do, go to the town dump and look for one that someone is throwing away because they needed a new one.

But in general, yes, dishwashers work quite well.
#5
Old 07-07-2013, 02:07 PM
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I tend to prewash, even though supposedly, it is not necessary..Those that don't tend to lose their pumps. And that is expensive. For many a pump replacement really means new dishwasher time, unless you do it yourself ... And it is a tricky job.

I think the real reason they say it is unnecessary to pre wash dishes is they want to sell you a new dishwasher every few years.

And doing a little precleaning of the worst of the stuck on crap really doesn't take much time.

Last edited by ombre12; 07-07-2013 at 02:10 PM.
#6
Old 07-07-2013, 02:08 PM
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OK, this is a bit "IMHO," but here's my story.
I never had a dishwasher that worked worth a damn, so I never used mine. When I got married, my wife asked why I never used the dishwasher, and I told her that they don't work. She made it clear that she wasn't going to wash dishes by hand, and we should get a new one. So, to humor her (and prove to her that dishwashers simply don't work), we went out and bought a new one. It was a mid-range GE, and cost around $500, 10 years ago. Well, surprise, surprise - it works!
We still pre-rinse the dishes, and it occasionally fails to remove things like peanut butter from spoons, but by and large, it works very well. We also found out that we need to use a specific type of detergent, or hard-water scale ands up building up on our glasses.

After getting everything figured out, I can confidently say that, yes, dishwashers do work - as long as you have a good one.
#7
Old 07-07-2013, 02:12 PM
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They've either never used a good dishwasher or their dishwashing skills are so bad they fail to make the distinction between rinsing and washing.

Either way, they're wrong: A functional dishwasher will take a dish with grease or other stuff you'd have to scrub off by hand and remove it for you using jets of hot water and steam. (This reliance on hot water is why dishwashers have their own water heaters. Otherwise, they'd be liable to use up all the hot water for the rest of the house.) You do have to remove all of the chunks, usually accomplished by running the dish under running water and, in extremis, picking off chunks with your hands. None of that is anywhere near as much work as scrubbing dishes with a rag in hot water and soap, putting yourself at risk for the dreaded dishpan hands. That's the value proposition of dishwashers, and why people buy them.
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#8
Old 07-07-2013, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
You have to rinse off the big chunks. The dishwasher still does the actual washing.
My cheap old dishwasher had a built-in disposal, and could handle chunks quite well. My new, expensive one has a screen and a filter, and does not do well with big chunks. Go figure.
#9
Old 07-07-2013, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
... using jets of hot water and steam. (This reliance on hot water is why dishwashers have their own water heaters. Otherwise, they'd be liable to use up all the hot water for the rest of the house.)
Dishwashers use very little water, less than a few sink fulls for hand washing. There's no way they could drain a typical water heater in a cycle. But because they recirculate the water, which can cool off, heating it internally is a good idea, and potentially allows for heating to a greater temp than the inlet value. You don't want to scorch your hands under a faucet, but you are glad if the dishes are (almost) sterilized.
#10
Old 07-07-2013, 02:26 PM
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I always rinse. But that is a lot less work than actually washing the dishes. I use these cubes that Costco sells and it all seems to work quite well. If only, the dishwasher could empty itself.
#11
Old 07-07-2013, 02:30 PM
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I like to keep my water heater shut off until about a half hour before I need hot water..Amazing how much that saves in electricity.

No problem with the dishwasher, since it has its own heater that heats up the water much higher than the 120 degree setting on my water heater.

It does make the running time of the dishwasher much longer....while the element heats up the water.
#12
Old 07-07-2013, 02:41 PM
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No. It's all a scam.
#13
Old 07-07-2013, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Ambivalid View Post
No. It's all a scam.
How are you on showers, refrigerators and flush toilets?
#14
Old 07-07-2013, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdcastle View Post
My sister and I want a dishwasher installed, but my stepfather and mother keep trying to talk us out of it, saying it's pointless because you have to wash dishes before putting them in the dishwasher anyway, so what's the point.
I bet they also keep batteries in the fridge (which they refer to as the "icebox") and have one of those cars with a crank on the front, right?
#15
Old 07-07-2013, 03:02 PM
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Why in the world would anyone wash the dishes and then wash the dishes? I got a very very good dishwasher and never pre-rinse or pre anything. Been using it 8 years and even the worst pots come out spotless every time.
#16
Old 07-07-2013, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ombre12 View Post
I tend to prewash, even though supposedly, it is not necessary..Those that don't tend to lose their pumps. And that is expensive. For many a pump replacement really means new dishwasher time, unless you do it yourself ... And it is a tricky job.

I think the real reason they say it is unnecessary to pre wash dishes is they want to sell you a new dishwasher every few years.
WTH? I never do anything other than make sure the big chunks are off the dishes, and I can assure you, I do not buy a new dishwasher or replace the pump every few years. Nor do my parents, or anyone else in my family.

I don't think I've ever replaced a dishwasher because it didn't work; I've replaced them during kitchen upgrades or to match new appliances, but that's about it.
#17
Old 07-07-2013, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
How are you on showers, refrigerators and flush toilets?
Come on over to my place some time and I'll show you.



















they're all scams

Last edited by Ambivalid; 07-07-2013 at 03:09 PM.
#18
Old 07-07-2013, 03:25 PM
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For all but the very bottom of the dishwasher barrel all you need to do is scrape sticky stuff off w/ one of those hard plastic scrapers. It seems handier and cleaner to use water to do that but it's a waste of water. You still have to rinse the scraped off stuff down the disposal, but you can do that w/ far less water than rinsing uses.

Though the detergents have been reformulated, you can still get good results using a rinse aid and filling the open detergent cup w/ white vinegar (along w/ the usual detergent in the lidded cup). Some folks add TSP instead but I'm happy w/ the result I get from vinegar, plus it's cheaper.

*We're a chapstick-wearing family, so I find I must go around the edges of glasses w/ a wet scrubber before they go in the dishwasher or residue remains. YMMV
#19
Old 07-07-2013, 03:36 PM
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Many modern dishwashers have both grinders and screens that handle larger chunks. Obviously, you wouldn't want to leave half a uneaten hot dog on there, but knocking off the big chunks is usually adequate with a modern dishwasher.

What happened with the detergent is that the phosphorus was removed, which made many people with hard water start experiencing a lot of issues with their dishwashers, since the phosphates in the water minimize the effects of the minerals in hard water, and let the detergents do their thing better.

Once they were removed, the manufacturers have to figure out a way to get similar performance without them; most of the big-name premium brands are decent these days.

However, washer design & performance is a big deal; my wife and I got a GE in about 2011 that sucked entirely- we had to preclean everything, and even then it didn't do a very good job.

We got a Maytag JetClean earlier this year, and that thing would probably clean dishes well without detergent- it's truly an awesome appliance. Everything that comes out is sparkling clean, regardless of what detergent we use- Cascade Complete all the way down to generic Target brand.
#20
Old 07-07-2013, 03:41 PM
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Even big chunks aren't really a problem. They either get filtered out or ground up and drained away (depending on what kind of dishwasher you get). The only pretreating I do is to wipe off egg yolks and other things that tend to harden, and I only do that if I don't expect to start the dishwasher before the yolk dries.
#21
Old 07-07-2013, 03:46 PM
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I never had a problem with dishwashers, but I never really challenged them hard... until one day many years ago.

I saw a Consumer Reports video clip where they were talking about how they tested dishwashers. They were putting in the absolute gunkiest items, and everything was coming out spotless.

So, I decided to start upping the challenge for my own (well, my landlord's ) dishwasher. By the end, I was just shaking any large debris into the trash and sticking the dirty items straight in. I never had any problems with stuff not getting clean. I continue this rapscallion attitude toward dishwashers to this day, and I'm happy for it.

It is important, of course, to load the dishwasher in a sane way. A good dishwasher is pretty close to magic, but it's not entirely magic.
#22
Old 07-07-2013, 04:38 PM
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Sorry, but your parents are completely wrong...

I like something (or someone) to do household chores for me.

If there's any chunks left on a plate (not often - I'm a voracious eater ), I scrape and hold it briefly under a running cold tap. Then (along with the rest of he crockery) it goes in the dishwasher.

This has worked perfectly for 23 years (I bought a decent machine. )
#23
Old 07-07-2013, 06:00 PM
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Hand washed dishes don't get a good steaming cycle at the end, they just cool down and collect bacteria and mold spores on their surfaces. Even crappy dishwashers get the dishes wet and hot enough to kill stuff off. I rinse the dishes off thoroughly before they go in the dishwasher, but they come out a heck of a lot cleaner then when the go in. Plus, when you go to sell the house, one with a dishwasher has one more thing the house without doesn't.
#24
Old 07-07-2013, 06:19 PM
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My wife has a dishwasher that she bought into our marriage which seems fairly not-new. I've no idea of its age, but I would guess at least 5 years (she's not home right now so I can't ask her). We don't rinse unless the dish is unusually crusty, and the dishwasher cleans them fine. Most of the time (99%). Once in a great while I'll find a little tiny speck of food on a dish that didn't get washed off. We do use the "extra hot" and "heated dry" settings, along with those little plastic cubes of detergent. If the dishes seem especially dirty I'll throw an extra cube in the "pre-wash" section. It works great and saves us a lot of work.

We do hand-wash our cooking pots and frying pans though. I am not sure if there's a specific reason for that - i.e; harder for the dishwasher to get those clean - I'll have to ask my wife. She never put those in the DW so I never did either.
#25
Old 07-07-2013, 06:30 PM
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I've never prewashed, just scraped the plates into the trash. And both of my dishwashers (he first one lasted over 20 years) had grinders for for any food residue left after scraping.
#26
Old 07-07-2013, 06:43 PM
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Many people do not put non-stick pans and seasoned pans in the dishwasher because the detergents sandblast them and the steam removes the seasoning. Find china is not put in the dishwasher by some people because it is supposedly too rough. Wooden spoons and old style rubber (not new silicon) spatulas can also be deteriorated by the heat.
#27
Old 07-07-2013, 06:50 PM
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The biggest problem is that they don't put the crocks away when they are clean.
#28
Old 07-07-2013, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by The Second Stone View Post
Many people do not put non-stick pans and seasoned pans in the dishwasher because the detergents sandblast them and the steam removes the seasoning. Find china is not put in the dishwasher by some people because it is supposedly too rough. Wooden spoons and old style rubber (not new silicon) spatulas can also be deteriorated by the heat.
Same w/ the crocks for slow cookers.
Know what you CAN put in the dishwasher? Up to 20 lbs of potatoes that all need scrubbing. Make sure there's no rinse aid in the reservoir and of course no detergent, run them through the Rinse cycle. This is helpful when you have a bunch of people to feed or have tendinitis/carpal tunnel inflammation, like me; they don't get cooked this way, so they'll keep happily in the bottom drawer of the fridge, ready for prep b/c they're already clean.
#29
Old 07-07-2013, 08:47 PM
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Actually, I remember someone suggesting preparing a fish fillet in a foil packet, putting it on the top rack and running it through a cycle, to steam cook the fish.
#30
Old 07-07-2013, 09:37 PM
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There was a recent Mythbusters episode where they cooked a lasagne in a dishwasher. It worked, but required more preparation than an oven would.
#31
Old 07-08-2013, 10:06 AM
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My dishwasher is pushing 20 now. I never prewash and I routinely overstuff it full of grimey stuff. Everything still comes out spotless. Anyone who says dishwashers don't work had never had a dishwasher.
#32
Old 07-08-2013, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by tellyworth View Post
There was a recent Mythbusters episode where they cooked a lasagne in a dishwasher.
You can steam a lasagna?
#33
Old 07-08-2013, 01:48 PM
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Some TV prog here - they cooked fish on a car engine and in a DW. It worked but not worth the trouble.
#34
Old 07-08-2013, 04:34 PM
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Dishwashers made in the 1960s were so crappy you really did have to pre-wash dishes if you wanted them to come out clean. I know because we had one like that when I was growing up. It was almost exactly the same amount of trouble as washing by hand, so we hardly ever used it. Dishwashers made since the late 1980s are much better, and pre-washing or even pre-rinsing isn't really required, but I know people who still do it because that's the way they've always done it. I find the only things that need pre-treatment are burnt-on/stuck-on pots and pans, and for some reason, anything that has egg on it.
#35
Old 07-08-2013, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bibliophage View Post
and for some reason, anything that has egg on it.
Proteins are long, strong, and sticky molecules, and eggs have a lot of protein in them.
#36
Old 07-08-2013, 07:23 PM
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Eggs and soft vegetable material like guacamole or pureed vegetable/fruit drinks. Gotta rinse them off first otherwise they're getting baked on.
#37
Old 07-08-2013, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Ambivalid View Post
You can steam a lasagna?
I'm not sure that steam is the right word - it's just heat. See for yourself.
#38
Old 07-08-2013, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Ambivalid View Post
No. It's all a scam.
11 years ago, I asked about cooking a turkey in the dishwasher. You can't, but some things come out nicely.
#39
Old 07-08-2013, 09:59 PM
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My family has replaced, or had major repairs done to the dishwasher, about every five years. Same for our washing machines. Our dryer, though, has lasted 30+ years!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena View Post
I don't think I've ever replaced a dishwasher because it didn't work; I've replaced them during kitchen upgrades or to match new appliances, but that's about it.
If you've replaced a working dishwasher every few years, then you simply never owned one long enough to kill it.
#40
Old 07-08-2013, 10:29 PM
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I love that the last post in that thread is by Threadkiller.


My last dishwasher was original to the house - 1989 construction. I replaced it in October as part of my remodel.
#41
Old 07-08-2013, 10:45 PM
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Oh, and my current dishwasher(came with the house) is quite old and works fine. Would a new one work better? Probably, but I really don't care and it works fine. We rinse the guck off, stick stuff in, and it cleans it.
#42
Old 07-08-2013, 11:16 PM
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My first job was as a dishwasher (really) in high school, and I worked pretty damned hard.

But for the mechanical kind, we don't have one, but my family did back in Texas, and it worked well. My understanding was the detergent used in those things will burn pretty much anything off the dishes.
#43
Old 07-08-2013, 11:19 PM
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You can also wash baseball caps (and probably other hats) on the top rack.
#44
Old 07-08-2013, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Ambivalid View Post
You can steam a lasagna?
I steam a good ham.
#45
Old 07-08-2013, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Alice The Goon View Post
You can also wash baseball caps (and probably other hats) on the top rack.
While my husband was deployed in 2011 I had so few bleachable clothes to wash I ran it w/ them on the top rack and the dishes on the bottom. (In lingerie bags firmly attached to the rack.)

I forgot to mention upthread that you're not supposed to put nice knives in the dishwasher, they'll get dulled.
#46
Old 07-10-2013, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Nawth Chucka View Post
I forgot to mention upthread that you're not supposed to put nice knives in the dishwasher, they'll get dulled.
Knives also dull when you drag them through the flesh of animals or drag them across surfaces such as wood, granite, or porcelain.
#47
Old 07-10-2013, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by moriah View Post
Knives also dull when you drag them through the flesh of animals or drag them across surfaces such as wood, granite, or porcelain.
And the bones of animals as well; but one can still use knives yet AVOID putting them in the dishwasher. "One of these things is not like the other, one of these things is not the same..."
#48
Old 07-10-2013, 12:20 PM
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My understanding is that knives aren't particularly dulled by dishwashers but that the harsh detergents tend to pit the carbon steel of good knives.
#49
Old 07-10-2013, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Alice The Goon View Post
You can also wash baseball caps (and probably other hats) on the top rack.
And bicycle chains (and other parts) come up a treat in the cutlery rack. (Don't tell my wife this.)
#50
Old 07-10-2013, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
Many modern dishwashers have both grinders and screens that handle larger chunks. <snip>

What happened with the detergent is that the phosphorus was removed, which made many people with hard water start experiencing a lot of issues with their dishwashers, since the phosphates in the water minimize the effects of the minerals in hard water, and let the detergents do their thing better.

Once they were removed, the manufacturers have to figure out a way to get similar performance without them; most of the big-name premium brands are decent these days.
If the dishwasher has a grinder is usually clear when buying one... most of the "European" versions like Bosh do not... most of the "American" versions like GE do.

As far as the non-phosphate detergents go... I'm still not happy with the new versions of Cascade, etc. (we have hard water). If you have soft water you will be fine, but if not... I'll just mention that commercial detergents can still contain phosphates. These can be picked up on the internet very easily. "Bubble Bandit" has kept us in nice spotless dishes for the last few years.

Not like I would encourage anyone to skirt local regulations, but it isn't like they require you to show your "I own a restaurant" id to buy it. There are also many people who will argue that the impact from home use dishwasher detergents is basically non existent.
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