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Why the Hell are there Soap Suds on the Washed Dishes?!


Mjx
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I grew up in an area where the water was so hard it ran a protection racket. Everyone rinsed.

Maybe it's more to do with historical access to hot water for rinsing? Don't a lot of European homes have very small hot water systems still? I spent time living in a house with such a small system you had to turn off the water while soaping up in the shower, or you'd end up doused in cold water. And I'm always seeing old films where houses have a separate, tiny boiler for the kitchen.

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Having lived in a lot of really old homes, older than 100 years, that often had single sinks, I still don't get the no rinsing thing. I always had two dishtubs: one with hot soapy water, and one with hot water. I washed the dishes in soapy water then rinsed them in the second tub, then stacked them in the dish drainer. If the water got too soapy in the second tub, I dumped it out and refilled it. I also dried my dishes and put them away as per the way my drill sargeant of a mother raised me immediately after I was done washing them.

And Snadra, our water can beat up your water, that's how hard it is.

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You all need to get dishwashers!

Yeah, no kidding.

I had an argument with a former landlord who wanted me to run the dishwasher in my apartment less to reduce the load on the septic system.

For the life of my I couldn't convince her that modern dishwashers use less water and energy than handwashing with warm water...my current machine uses ~2.5 gallons per full load, and less than 1 kilowartt hour of electricity.

Even with the highest electric rates in the country, and the cost of dishwashing tabs, my cost per load is about $0.50. Except for stuff that can't be run in the dishwasher, I don't understand why some people who have them handwash anyway, only running the dishwasher when entertaining.

Edited by GlowingGhoul (log)
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Soap in its crudest form is only fat mixed with an alkali.Bodies animal and human can deal with a great many potentially harmful things,think chemotherapy and cancer.I well remember feeding large quantities of arsenic to pigs to try to cure a disease they would stagger around as if drunk and sometimes be cured.,there is not much new in this world.

Sid the Pig

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I have to say that in Political Chat if you mention you use a dishwasher or watch TV , you are looked at as an uneducated git.

When they banned phosphates and Cascade Complete stopped getting my dishes clean, and I admitted to buying blackmarket Dishwasher Detergent, I was lambasted as a hater of the earth and wildlife!

I cant win...

BUT I must say that you MUST rinse the soap off the dishes, thats just nasty not to. I know people (primarily women) who wont take baths cause they say that its like sitting in your own filth in the dirty soapy water...

/stirring up trouble

Edited by GlorifiedRice (log)

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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The ability to survive noxious substances isn't a compelling argument for ingesting them, but far be it from me to argue with people who want to do so.

Getting back to the underlying reason for leaving soap suds on washed dishes, the two people I asked today said they had no idea, but 'people just do'. Research continues tomorrow. Makes me kind of wince though, I get such odd looks, when I ask.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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OK, colour me horrified (I think it's a shade similar to rotten okra...)!

I live in a cold-water flat, which common across Latin American countries, but everybody I know, me included, rinses their dishes in hot water! That's what kettles and lpg burners were invented for.... We've also got cream soaps formulated especially to rinse in cold water, then use boiling water to sterilize because the tap water might have any number of weirdnesses in it that aren't fit for human consumption.

It's either that or do a violent parasite purge every 3 months. I think I'll stick with the boiling water!

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I quit drying the dishes when I moved to southern California. The air is so dry here that they dry on their own in no time. I sometimes don't even bother to wipe up spilled water. Look away, look back, and it is gone.

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If I'm going to leave dishes to air dry I have to rinse them. If I'm going to dry them there and then I'm not so bothered about a small amount of leftover suds and I'm less likely to rinse. The dishwasher does the honours most of the time anyway.

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I like the rack of clean soapy dishes in the sink, pour kettle of hot water over, leave to dry method.

The stuff dries faster from having gotten good and hot too.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Does nobody dry dishes after washing them any more?

I often do.

apparently airdrying is actually the more hygenic option.

FDA recommendation for manual dishwashing is airdrying.

Fresh clean towel, and you're good.

Today, I asked a couple more people about the suds on the dishes thing. Got the sort of looks normally reserved for asking a question such as, 'Is the noise in my head bothering you?'. Also got replies to the effect that It's tradition, and Why not. All I could think of was Despair, Inc's poster for Tradition. and that I wanted to get some inkling of the reason behind the tradition.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Fresh clean towel, and you're good.

Sure, but what's the benefit of drying with a towel? It's more work. I only use a towel when something is too large to fit in the dish draining rack or where I'm really worried about appearance; most of the time, I air-dry stuff upside-down in the drying rack, and it looks fine.

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apparently airdrying is actually the more hygenic option.

FDA recommendation for manual dishwashing is airdrying.

I could only find FDA regs for dishwashing in restaurants/food establishments. For manual dishwashing in restaurants, the FDA requires a 3-step process: wash, rinse, sanitize. It makes sense to let these dishes air-dry after they've been sanitized. Dish towels are less clean and would undo the sanitization.

However, at home people typically don't sanitize after rinsing, so dish towels make sense. Or air-drying, for that matter.

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Fresh clean towel, and you're good.

Sure, but what's the benefit of drying with a towel? It's more work. I only use a towel when something is too large to fit in the dish draining rack or where I'm really worried about appearance; most of the time, I air-dry stuff upside-down in the drying rack, and it looks fine.

Mostly a space limitation/trying to keep good habits thing (although the water here is really hard, and the spots don't look great on the flatware). It hasn't been unusual for me to have more dirty dishes to wash than would fit in the rack at one go (no room for a larger rack, either), so I'd do as many as would fit, and dry them to make room for the remaining dishes. Besides, if I don't put the dishes away, because there aren't more to wash up at the moment, we tend to just let them sit on the rack and use them as we need them, leaving dirty dishes to accumulate in the sink, because... there wouldn't be any place to put them, if I did wash them. And a sinkful of dirty dishes is kind of gross and depressing, not mention peculiarly self-perpetuating.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I wasn't even aware that there were those who don't rinse their dishes. Surely they can taste the soap or detergent.

I am one of those who won't wipe dishes although I have gotten static a few times. They're more sanitary that way.

Fortunately, I have a dishwasher so most of the hand washing is pans and some things that are too delicate to put in the machine. Mine has a stemware rack so I don't have to hand wash that anymore either.

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Are dishwashing liquids in England and Denmark as strongly scented as those in the US?

In Denmark, scented dish soaps are at least as heavily fragranced as any in the US. However, there are at least two or three brands of fragrance- and dye-free detergents readily available, and most of the people I know use these (I almost wish they'd used the fragranced versions, since I doubt they'd tolerate the residual scent they leave behind, when you don't rinse thoroughly).

The most recent responses I've got to my question, 'Why are soap suds left on the dishes' (about fifteen minutes ago) were, 'Well, I don't know..! I guess it's faster and saves water? I don't know, really.'

And I think for non-rinsers in DK, anyway, that pretty much sums it up.

I don't get it, since rinsing suds (as opposed to unlathered soap) doesn't take much time or water, and they tend to run the water, unused, the entire time the dishes are being soaped, but I'll just accept it as one of those 'It's what we do' sorts of things, and continue to discreetly rinse dishes before I use them.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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  • 2 weeks later...

Being Danish, I am pretty much in the 'it is just the way it is'-camp. It never even occured to me to rinse the suds off when I used to dishes by hand (love the dishwasher). My best guess is that the non-rinsing is a leftover from the days of towel drying, where there is less of a case for rinsing. I never noticed smell or taste, and as you should only use a teaspoon of detergent for a full pan of water, it makes a very diluted solution.

On the other hand, I had drilled into me when learning household skills to rinse everything before washing, and to do stuff in a certain order (glasses, cutlery, cups, plates, cooking things) to manage the level of grime in the water. It still drives me nuts when my husband, who is English, does dushes in no particular order. He rinses, though...

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Fresh clean towel, and you're good.

Sure, but what's the benefit of drying with a towel? It's more work. I only use a towel when something is too large to fit in the dish draining rack or where I'm really worried about appearance; most of the time, I air-dry stuff upside-down in the drying rack, and it looks fine.

"I air-dry stuff upside-down in the drying rack," -- My partner and I have a running argument about this. I do the same as you, air-dry stuff upside down in the dish rack, which seems to me the logical thing to do. But he insists on leaving all the dishes, cups, bowls, etc. right-side up because that way they dry better. Drives me crazy!

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