Your Place: Just don’t mess with our dishwashers

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Starting with a debate years ago over whether knives and forks should face up or down in the silverware basket, dishwashers have been an integral part of this column.

Case in point: I reported a few weeks back about appliance manufacturers’ opposition to proposed federal standards requiring that dishwashers’ energy use be cut by 24 percent and water use by 38 percent, leaving 3.1 gallons of water to clean an entire load of dishes in a normal wash cycle.

I added a link to the proposed rules, so you could make up your own minds.

This came from Bernadette Freedman: "I put the page next to my computer to get to when I had time. I tried reading that link. I have a science graduate degree. No one should be allowed to write like that.

"I will be babying my vintage 2000 dishwasher. It doesn’t have a heavy workload, so I hope I can avoid needing a new one ever.

"I, too, am a rinser (I rinse dishes off because of shredded Parmesan melting syndrome) because it takes this small household days and days to fill the dishwasher. All pots and pans are done by hand, so I don’t need the dishwasher to melt and stick the cheese — plain old sloth can do that quite well.

"Heck, these ridiculous new standards might spark a brisk market in used dishwashers that are known to actually clean."

Betty Baker of Homewood, Ill., sent me a letter she had forwarded to the Department of Energy:

"I suggest that consumers be reminded to ‘wipe, not rinse’ dishes before loading into dishwasher," she wrote.

"Having grown up in a rural area with a well, water conservation was always taught in our home. Unfortunately, most people seem to have a different attitude.

"If one has cooked, there are usually pots and utensils that need hand washing. The soapy water that goes into the cooking pot becomes my ‘dishpan,’ and plates and tableware get a ‘once over’ with a dishcloth to remove any stuck-on food before going into the dishwasher. The only elements needing rinsing are the cookware items that don’t go into the dishwasher."

Forks and knives face downward, don’t they?