SAN ANTONIO – It's a question debated in kitchens -- Should you rinse dishes before loading them into the dishwasher?
The answer is just one of many secrets to getting your dishwasher to last a long time.
Tip No. 1: Only put things in the dishwasher that are supposed to go in it.
"You might think it's simple and want to put that glass jar with the label on into your dishwasher to clean it, but the label can come off and either clog the filter or jam the pump," said Consumer Reports home editor Haniya Rae.
Be sure to only load dishwasher-safe plastics and place them on the top rack. Some plastics can melt or break and can clog your filter.
Don't use strong chemicals such as bleach and degreasing agents.
Tip No. 2: Show your dishwasher some TLC with regular cleanings.
"If you have a manual filter on your dishwasher, you should regularly take it out and rinse out any food or debris caught in it," Rae said. "You can also wipe down the space between the door and the gasket."
Rae said run only full loads because that cuts down on the number of cycles the dishwasher has to run.
"Dishwashers have mechanical parts, and the more you run the dishwasher, the faster those parts wear out," she said.
Tip No. 3: Don't rinse dishes prior to loading them into the dishwasher. Just scrape.
"Today's dishwashers have soil sensors. If you load your dishes and there's no detectable soil or debris, your dishwasher may set itself to a lighter setting and it won't wash your dishes as well," Rae said.
Consumer Reports' latest survey about dishwasher reliability and owner satisfaction showed Bosch and Thermador got the highest ratings.