LONDON — A new survey warns that pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher is not just a waste of time but also a costly practice. It turns out that this common habit is costing people in the United Kingdom an unnecessary $241 million in water each year.
According to the survey commissioned by energy experts Utilita, 62 percent of dishwasher owners admit to washing their items before putting them in the machine. This leads to a staggering 95 million liters of cold water being poured down the sink every single day, totaling 7.6 billion gallons annually.
“Knowing what our habits are costing us can encourage us to reconsider our behaviors, and in this case, the savings are significant, so should hopefully make households think twice,” says spokesperson Archie Lasseter in a statement.
Many who rinse their dishes believe they are preventing their dishwashers from clogging up. According to the survey, 59 percent justify their pre-rinsing because they think it prevents long-term machine issues. However, 53 percent of those who don’t pre-rinse counter this by arguing that dishwashers are designed to wash dishes thoroughly, making the step unnecessary.
Scroll down for the top 5 reasons people don’t rinse dishes
Notably, 42 percent of respondents only load their dishwasher when their dishes are “sparkling clean.” Yet, 39 percent of rinsers confess their dishes come out of the machine in the same condition they went in, raising questions about the need for pre-rinsing.
The habit also has a personal cost. People who rinse with hot water spend an average of $46.54 per year doing so, while those who use cold water spend about $13.70. Among those in the survey carried out by OnePoll, 31 percent run their dishwasher more than once a day, which would double these costs.
The survey also revealed that household debates over whether to rinse or not are common, affecting 27 percent of respondents. Additionally, 62 percent have never used their dishwasher’s “eco” mode, a setting that could save each household $42.02 per year, according to experts.
“Dishwashers are designed to provide a full dishwashing function, which includes rinsing, so we must put our trust in them to save time, money, and the environment,” says spokesperson Paul Hide.
Experts hope that these startling findings will encourage more people to skip the pre-rinse, trust their dishwashers more, and ultimately contribute to both saving money and protecting the environment.
Top 5 Reasons Why People Rinse Their Dishes:
- Concerned about clogging the dishwasher
- Want to keep the dishwasher clean
- To avoid breaking the machine
- It’s a force of habit
- To avoid the dishwasher smelling
Top 5 Reasons Why People Don’t Rinse:
- It’s a waste of water
- Pointless when the machine rinses them
- My dishwasher has a rinse on the cycle
- My dishwasher tablets advise not to rinse
- Can’t stand touching dirty plates
South West News Service writer Lucy Brimble contributed to this report.