How my dishwasher’s rinse-and-hold cycle saved my marriage

Consumer Reports News: August 27, 2010 05:27 PM

Okay, maybe that’s going too far. But my wife and I have had our share of disagreements over her penchant for pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. I’m from a family of pre-rinsers, so I understand the urge. But working at Consumer Reports has helped me break the habit, since I see firsthand how even today’s most basic dishwashers are often very good, if not excellent, at cleaning dirty dishes. And our test dishes don’t just contain a few scraps of food. They’re smeared with a mash of 20 different foods, including peanut butter, preserves, and corn flakes, and then left to sit overnight.
 
All of which I’ve told my wife (We also watched the episode of Stephen Colbert visiting the Consumer Reports dishwasher lab). To her credit, my wife now does less pre-rinsing, which our analysis shows can waste up to 6,500 gallons of water a year. But whenever we eat smelly food, fish for example, the tension returns. And not without reason, I’ll admit, since these food scraps can get fetid fast.
 
In my convert’s fervor, I’m willing to tolerate the smell. My wife, not so much. They say a happy marriage is all about compromise, which takes me to the rinse-and-hold cycle. On fish night, we’ll now load the dishes and run the shortened cycle, which rinses the dishes in a couple of gallons of water, far fewer than if we pre-rinsed. When the dishwasher is full, we then run it on the normal wash cycle. 
 
Rinse-and-hold cycles are fairly common on dishwashers, including many of the nearly 50 models listed in our Ratings. If your marriage is like mine, it’s a feature to have and to hold.
 
—Daniel DiClerico

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