I know, I know. It seems entirely counterintuitive. It seems a bit lazy. Perhaps even unsanitary.
But the reason your dishwasher isn't getting all your flat- and serveware entirely clean?
Pre-rinsing it. Huh.
" 'Pre-rinsing dishes is a big mistake,” said John Dries, a mechanical engineer and the owner of Dries Engineering, an appliance design consulting company in Louisville, Ky. “People assume that the dishwasher will perform better if you put in cleaner dishes, and that’s not true. Just scrape. Pre-rinsing with hot water is double bad, because you’re pumping water and electricity down the drain.”
It’s actually triple bad, according to Mike Edwards, a senior dishwasher design engineer at BSH Home Appliances in New Bern, N.C. “Dishwasher detergent aggressively goes after food,” Mr. Edwards said, “and if you don’t have food soil in the unit, it attacks the glasses, and they get cloudy,” a process known as etching that can cause permanent damage."
The New York Times entry also recommends powder detergent over liquid, tips for proper loading, and suggests to just simply leave it on normal cycle.