Some time-worn habits are hard to break like rinsing your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. But stopping this ritual pays off in time and money. Not only will you save water but the energy it takes to heat it as well. Dishwashers are made to do dirty jobs so just scrape the excess food from the plates and let the machine do the rest of the work.
Pre-rinsing your dishes in the sink can easily waste more than 6,000 gallons of water per household each year. If you want to wash your dishes before the machine is full, use the rinse-and-hold cycle, which uses about half the water you'd consume hand washing them. And to get the dishes their cleanest, load large items at the side and back so they don't block the water. And face the soiled surfaces inward so they're hit by the spray.
When Consumer Reports tests dishwashers it puts the dishes in caked with foods such as peanut butter, tomato sauce, oatmeal and egg yolks, some of the toughest to remove. Dozens of the models we tested were excellent at washing and dozens more were very good. So tonight after dinner, put a load of unrinsed dishes in the dishwasher and then take a load off your feet.
—Mary H.J. Farrell