Dishwashers have two obvious advantages over hand washing – they save us work and they save us water. This second advantage may not be obvious, but dishwashers are designed to be very efficient with their water usage. A typical machine uses only about 10 or 11 litres, an when you’re washing by hand it’s very easy to use more than this.
But they have another advantage that is a little less obvious – they are very good at cleaning even heavily soiled items. This goes against many people’s experience for one simple reason – they are not using their dishwasher efficiently.
Who’s to blame? That’s easy – it’s the detergent companies that sell us detergent tablets that supposedly do it all. They don’t, and the dishwasher manufacturer knows this because there are three compartments for three different jobs.
Here’s how it works:
Stage 1: This is the rinse cycle. The machine blasts water across your dishes to remove caked on stuff. During this process it goes looking for some detergent in the first compartment. This is normally a small compartment next to the main compartment. If you have some detergent in there it will aid this process. What that means is that you don’t need to rinse the dishes before you use the machine.
Stage 2: Main wash. This will use the tablet in the main compartment.
Stage 3: This will rinse the dishes using the rinse aid in the third compartment. This means that the cutlery and glassware don’t have water or mineral stains on them afterwards.
So here’s how to use a dishwasher:
1. Put your dirty dishes and so on in the machine without rinsing them
2. Fill the first compartment with some powdered detergent. Fill the second compartment with powdered detergent or a tablet. Fill the third compartment with a rinse aid.
3. Run hot water through your kitchen tap to fill the pipes with hot water. This means that when the machine draws in water for its first cycle, it’s drawing in hot water.
4. Press the start button.
5. Take your surprisingly clean dishes out