Loading a dishwasher is something we’ve all probably had to do in our lifetime. And chances are, if you do this chore often, you’ve probably established some kind of routine to loading it.

Maybe you put all the plates on the bottom, stacked neatly next to each other. Maybe you’re particular about putting all your cups and Tupperware on the top racks only. Do you always need to put forks with other forks and spoons with other spoons? Do you place your utensils right side up or down?

It turns out there are a lot of preferences to loading a dishwasher. But above all, one of the most common pre-loading rituals is to rinse off the dishware before placing it in the dishwasher.

Pretty harmless, right? Necessary, even? You probably haven’t really even thought much of this common practice before. But actually, pre-rinsing your dishes in the sink before loading them in the dishwasher could potentially be doing more damage than good to your dishwasher.

“Believe it or not, it’s actually more beneficial to not rinse your dishes before putting them into the dishwasher,” said Morgan Brashear, a Cascade scientist with Procter and Gamble.

The dirtier the dish, the better the clean

The rule about not pre-rinsing is all about the advancement of dishwashers. In this day and age, dishwashers contain sensors that are able to determine how long of a cycle needs to run—and that’s a conclusion the machine makes based on how dirty the dishes are.

That means, when you don’t rinse off your dishes, and leave a little bit of food residue on the plate or bowl, the sensors actually are able to detect the food and therefore know to perform a more thorough wash.

According to Consumer Reports, if you bought your dishwasher for more than $500 during the last five years, this applies to you. It sounds kind of backwards, but thanks to dish washers becoming so much more improved over the years that, we’re able to eliminate this extra step.

Now, on the other end of the spectrum, this doesn’t mean you should leave hunks of spaghetti and meatball on your plate and then put that in the dishwasher either. You don’t want too much food left on the dish or utensil—that risks the food particles getting itself stuck in the system, especially if your dishwasher lacks a filter or internal garbage disposal.

The perfect pre-dishwasher clean is to scrape off the big chunks of food and then place it in the dishwasher. You might be surprised at how shiny and clean those babies will come out!

This isn’t the only dishwasher debate. In fact, experts have determined three different personality types based off how you load a dishwasher. To find out which one you are, check out this video below. You’ll also learn a bit more about why pre-rinsing dishes can be so detrimental to the cleanliness of your kitchenware.

What are your “rules” to loading the dishwasher? Do you usually pre-rinse your dishes, or place them on the racks, food residue and all?