How to Win the Pre-Wash Battle

Hubby and I have a blast together.  We’re both humor-addicts and generally even our disagreements are kind of fun.  We’ve been told on more than one occasion that we’re an amazingly well-matched couple.  Gag-worthy, I know. 

Anyway, I’m going to share a little on-going fight argument playful-banter thing we have. 

A little background:

My mother-in-law doesn’t use her dishwasher.  She’s had two, and I don’t think she ever used either one. 


But, just to be clear, I’m not knocking her, because her kitchen is always clean and her dishes never pile up.  Really, before I started this blog, I had considered stopping the use of my dishwasher, thinking maybe that would help me be like her. 

Okay, so like I said, she has never used her dishwasher.  This was what my husband grew up with.  He’s all for using the dishwasher, but is big on pre-washing the dishes.  No leaving chunks of things that will “surely come off” on the dishes for him.

I, on the other hand, grew up with a mother who is willing to put ANYthing in the dishwasher.  She can arrange that thing to wash every dish in her kitchen in a single load. 



“If it doesn’t come off in the dishwasher, at least you know the dish is sanitized and you can flick off the egg/spaghetti-sauce/peanut-butter/whatever with your fingernail!  I mean, why do you think God gave us fingernails, anyway?!?!?!?!”

So, though our love has carried us through many kitchen trials, hubby and I have long disagreed about the pre-wash issue. 

You know how hard it is for couples who come from such drastically different backgrounds . . .

But . . .  hee hee . . . I think I’ve won the battle.  Know how?  By washing the dishes every night and emptying the dishwasher every morning!!! 

Did you know . . . that many foods which don’t come off of dishes in the dishwasher after those dishes have been left on the counter for days-on-end, actually DO come off in only one wash . . . if washed within a few hours of suppertime? 

I know, I’m a genius!  I’m sure it’s a scientific discovery of some sort!

AND, if they happen to not come off (like peanut-butter) . . . if I’m the one emptying the dishwasher every morning, I can do the crust-flicking, or the by-hand-re-washing . . . and hubby will never know! 

Until, of course . . . he reads this post. 

Please note that certain, though not all, mother/mother-in-law traits/statements in this post may have been exaggerated slightly for dramatic effect.   



  1. 1

    LOL You are too funny! My dishwasher isn't the grfeatest so we have to rinse everything when we put it in the sink. That way if the dishes are done soon…or not…it's okay 🙂

  2. 2
    [email protected] Diversions says:

    Our dishwasher manual actually says not to pre-wash the dishes. Gotta love that! (I do rinse the worst ones before they go in. But no scrubbing before they've had at least one go 'round in the dishwasher.) 🙂

  3. 3

    My hubby aunt got a new dishwasher. She always rinse her dishes making sure all food was off. Well it back fired on her. Her dishwasher won't work so she had to call the repairman. He told her by rinsing her dishes off. The dishwasher assume they were clean. She doesn't rinse her dishes anymore.

  4. 4

    You are so right about washing the dishes every night……..if you leave them overnight they are always harder to get clean. I know this but sometimes am guilty of doing it anyway. Nothing is worse than getting up to start your day and see those dirty dishes staring you in the face! I don't have a dishwasher but when my kitchen remodel is finished, I will.

  5. 5

    I just cannot put unfinished dishes in the dishwasher. Not only can I not justify a two to three hour wash cycle to get all the food off, more times than I can count I have been to someone’s home and the dishes, straight out of the cupboard, have things stuck to them. I have compromised by filling a sink with hat water and setting the dishes in to soak while I do other things. Once I get back to it all I have to do is put the dishes in the dishwasher.

  6. 6

    I have tried to put unrinsed dishes in the dishwasher because I’ve been told multiple times that I don’t have to wash them before I wash them. However, I ALWAYS wind up pulling dirty dishes out of the dishwasher. I don’t know if it’s because all the dishwashers I’ve tried this with have been old or what. Plus, I grew up having to prewash everything anyway. My rationale is that dishwashers don’t have sponges.

  7. 7

    I used to live in an apartment where the dishwasher would deposit ground dirt on the dishes. When the maintenance man came to take a look at it he told me that I needed to wash the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher! Isn’t the whole point of the dishwasher that it WASHES the DISHES?! Humph.

  8. 8

    But if you don’t let the dishes go through the dishwasher first, how will you ever know what would have and wouldn’t have come off in the dishwasher? I use the dishwasher first, but if it doesn’t come clean after the first time I’ll wash it again with a washcloth. To do otherwise feels like I’ve given up hope on the appliances.

  9. 9

    Those of you who have to rinse, clean the filters in your dishwasher. You’re supposed to do that every couple months anyway. Older dishwashers, you’ll still have to rinse, but new ones, just shake off the big pieces.

    If you soak your dishes in hot soapy water for 20 minutes, all you have to do to most of them is rinse in hot water, and set them to dry. It’s not much to wash the rest and you’ll be amazed how much less your water bill is.

  10. 10

    The dishwasher repair man told us that modern (less than ten years old) dishwashers work by steaming the dishes an only spraying a little water. His advise for perfect dishes:
    1. Make sure the water is running hot from your kitchen sink before starting the dishwasher.
    2. Use the detergent tablets because they have the correct formulation for the way water saving dishwashers work.
    3. Don’t pre-wash the dishes just scrape off the big chunks not only does the dishwasher work better this way you can actually damage your dishes because the detergent won’t have anything to clean off and will etch the finish instead.
    4. It is really important to get your dishes correctly positioned not blocking the spray or stuck together if you aren’t pre-washing.

  11. 11

    Our dogs prewash peanut butter dishes for us.

    I love the tablets and have found they work better than either the powders or the gels. We also had a repair man explain that the powder builds up in the hoses if you use too much, while the gels don’t clean as well. The tablets are a nice mix, getting the dishes clean and making sure the amount of powder is just-so and will fully dissolve.

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