Reasons Why People Might Run an Empty Dishwasher

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Dishwashers, huh? For someone like me, who’s always been a bit behind the tech curve, these kitchen wizards are relatively new territory. Sure, they’ve been a staple in modern homes for decades, but I’m the type who finds solace in the sudsy embrace of hand-washing dishes. It’s meditative, in a way. But every so often, life throws a curveball that makes you question everything you thought you knew about kitchen appliances.

Take, for instance, a recent visit to my husband’s relatives. Amid the usual familial chaos, I noticed his aunt doing something that baffled me: she ran the dishwasher when it was, I kid you not, completely empty. Now, I pride myself on not being the nosiest guest in the room, so I bit my tongue. Asking her about it seemed like admitting to some sort of domestic ignorance I wasn’t ready to confront. But you better believe that piqued my curiosity. Why on Earth would someone run an empty dishwasher?

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After returning home, my curiosity got the better of me, and I dove headfirst into some research. And, oh boy, did I uncover a trove of surprising reasons that make a lot of sense now that I think about it.

First off, running an empty dishwasher isn’t as odd as it seems. It’s actually a smart move to maintain the dishwasher’s cleanliness. Think of it as giving your dishwasher a spa day, flushing out any lingering gunk or odors and keeping it smelling fresh. It’s a bit like how you’d clean a coffee maker to ensure every brew tastes as good as the first.

Then there’s the whole maintenance routine aspect. Running it empty can help prevent the buildup of debris and minerals from hard water, which, left unchecked, could turn into a bigger headache down the line. It’s kind of like preventive care but for your kitchen appliances.

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Another reason that caught my eye was to keep the seals moist. If you’re like me and don’t use your dishwasher often (or, ahem, at all), running it empty can prevent the seals from drying out and cracking. Who knew appliances needed hydration, too?

And here’s a clever one: using residual heat for drying other dishes. If you’ve just run a hot cycle and have a few hand-washed items lying around, popping them in can help them dry off without using extra energy. It’s like getting a freebie from your dishwasher.

Testing the dishwasher also makes a lot of sense, especially if you’re trying it out for the first time or troubleshooting potential issues. It’s the appliance equivalent of a test drive.

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Preparing for a large load is another reason. Running an empty cycle with a cleaning agent can prime your dishwasher for optimal performance, ensuring it’s ready to tackle whatever mountain of dishes comes next.

Lastly, I stumbled upon energy-saving strategies that involve running an empty cycle during off-peak hours to save on utility bills. It’s a savvy move for the environmentally conscious and budget-savvy alike.

So, there you have it. What initially seemed like an eccentric quirk of my husband’s aunt turned out to be a series of practical, smart reasons that had me reevaluating my own kitchen routines. Maybe it’s time to give my dishwasher a chance to shine—empty or not. Who knows? This old dog might just learn some new tricks yet.