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How can you know when washing something with soap is a waste of time?

If a quick rinse removes all residue - is water needed?

  • the short answer : (1) it's a function of what's being washed off the dishes, (2) even in those cases, you need water hotter than you get from a home tap, and (3) it also needs mechanical action (spray or being wiped down); just soaking in boiling water isn't enough. – Joe Jan 8 '16 at 15:01
  • Just run it though your electron microscope to verify that there are no bacteria or other biofilm on it. Perhaps you don't have an electron microscope? Wash it with soap and rinse; or don't if it's your personal kitchen and you are OK with that. Home kitchen and foodservice standards are different... – Ecnerwal Jan 9 '16 at 3:47
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Not using standard practice might violate safety standards in a professional context.

Technically, the important factor is whether the residues are made of something perfectly water soluble (sugar, salt, fat-free watery or alcoholic solutions, insoluble but not sticky solid particles...) or of something that is not water soluble and that will adhere to the dishes (about anything containing oils/fats). If you couldn't properly get it off your hands without soap, you won't get it off the dishes without soap.

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