Use your dishwasher right to save time and money

On a recent CBS News Sunday Morning, an intelligent but little-known magazine show (which is sort of like NPR for your TV), contributor Nancy Giles set out to test a few of those old wives' tales about dishwashers. Like those nerdy goofs on Mythbusters, she put a few old saws to the test and found out that when it comes to cleaning up after meals, most of us are doing more work than we have to.

With the advice of an appliance expert at the Good Housekeeping Institute (yes, it exists -- it's the place that issues that famous seal of approval), Giles reversed a few bits of conventional wisdom about your dishwasher. To do less pre-washing and re-washing, it turns out you just have to use the machine the way it was designed to be used, and not load it the way you usually do.

The biggest revelation is that you don't have to pre-rinse anything. Just dump the big scraps in the garbage and go. To test that one, Giles sent a casserole dish of caked-on mac and cheese and an oatmeal-crusted saucepan into the dishwasher with no preamble. She set the dishwasher to high heat and let loose. Two hours later, they came out fine -- at least, they do in Giles' piece for CBS. What other dishwasher magic tricks are revealed?

* Soiled surfaces should always face the interior of the machine, where the spray is most likely to reach them. (Yes, the photo above is the wrong way to do it.)
* Don't put glasses over the prongs, because that impedes the water's flow. Use the prongs to prop them up from the outside.
* Never overlap pans. Let the whole cooking surface lie face-down on the rack.
* Knife edges should point downward, forks should point upward, and spoons can go either way. (Who knew?)

Sure, some of these tips are probably in your dishwasher's instruction manual, but who among us knows where that is anymore?

And if you're wondering where you've heard Giles' soothing, breathy voice before, pay more attention during the commercial breaks. She also does the voice-over for half the prescription drug ads known to pharmcydom. I won't ever take her advice and buy Boniva, but her tips for wasting less time and money to wash dishes and pots sure are easy to swallow.

Test Your Weird News IQ

1. Where was this mysterious creature reported to have washed ashore in July?

  • Cape May, N.J.
  • Montauk, N.Y.
  • Pacific Beach, Calif.

2. A North Carolina grandfather caught a 21-pound channel catfish -- a state record -- using what?

  • A Barbie fishing pole
  • A Big Mac as bait
  • His bare hands

3. The Telegraph reported that this Indian girl bleeds through her pores without being cut or scratched. True or false: The story turned out to be a hoax.

  • True
  • False

4. In January, this photo taken by NASA's Mars explorer Spirit created a stir, with some suggesting it showed a humanoid. What actually was it?

  • An alien
  • A rock
  • A shadow created by Spirit

5. In August, two men revealed images of what they claimed was the corpse of the legendary Bigfoot. Where did they claim to have found it?

  • Alaska
  • Georgia
  • New Mexico

6. Manuel Uribe, once named the world's heaviest man, did what in Mexico in October?

  • Fasted the entire month
  • Got married
  • Ran a 5K

7. This woman made headlines in September when she vowed to auction off her virginity. Why did she say she was doing it?

  • To pay her school tuition
  • To pay her sister's medical expenses
  • To sell her story to a tabloid

8. Jaci Dalenberg gave birth to her own granddaughters after acting as a surrogate for her daughter. How many did she have?

  • Two
  • Three
  • Four

9. An Indian man rescued an orphaned bear cub and raised the animal as part of his family. Which did NOT happen when authorities found out?

  • They arrested him
  • They put the bear to sleep
  • They sent the bear to a zoo

10. A member of a wealthy Abu Dhabi family paid how much for a license plate with nothing but the number

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