When it comes to dishwashers, there are a lot of myths and misinformation out there. So, we’re here to set the record straight with this easy guide on how to load a dishwasher. By following these simple tips, you can ensure your dishes come out clean and sparkling every time. Ready to get started? Let’s go!
How to Load a Dishwasher Properly
Learning how to load a dishwasher comes down to knowing what goes where and why. The upper and lower racks of your dishwasher are designed specifically for specific items, and utilizing them correctly will leave your dishes sparkling clean.
Where Do Dishes Go in a Dishwasher?
The general rule of thumb is that the upper rack is for smaller items like cups and bowls, while the lower rack is for larger items like plates and pots. However, it’s always a good idea to consult your dishwasher’s manual to see how your particular model should be loaded.
- Small Bowls
- Dishwasher-safe plastics
The upper rack is designed for cups and other small items. Arrange cups, glasses, and bowls facing down and leaning slightly. Ensure the openings face inward so the water can reach the inside and drain. Avoid overcrowding, so dishes don’t break against each other. Plastics should go on the top rack, so they don’t melt from the heating element at the bottom of the dishwasher.
- Serving bowls
- Dishwasher-safe cutting boards
The lower rack is designed for larger items, such as plates and pots. Arrange plates in the slots on the bottom rack facing the same direction, preferably toward the center leaning in. If you’re washing platters or cutting boards, place them in the back or on the sides to avoid blocking the spray arm. Items with baked-on food should be faced down, so it gets the closest contact with the spray arm.
What is the Correct Way to Put Utensils in Dishwasher?
Place forks and spoons facing up (handles facing down). Knives and other sharp utensils should be placed face down, so they don’t injure anyone. Don’t organize the utensils by type; in fact, dishwashers are designed to clean better with the silverware all mixed up, as long as it’s not overcrowded. High-quality knives or other potentially dangerous objects should never be cleaned in the dishwasher to avoid dulling. Instead, clean them by hand the old-fashioned way to keep them sharp.
Do you Rinse Dishes Before Putting them in the Dishwasher?
The only preparation necessary before loading your dishwasher is to scrape large pieces of food into the trash, so it doesn’t clog the dishwasher. Some newer dishwasher models have sensors that can detect the dirtiness of the dishes and adjust the cycle accordingly. If your dishwasher doesn’t clean dishes thoroughly unless you rinse them, you may need to clean your dishwasher.
What NOT to Put in the Dishwasher
While dishwashers are designed to clean dishes, some items should never go in the dishwasher. These include:
- Non-dishwasher safe plastics
- Wooden utensils
- Cast iron pans
- Delicate china
- Antique silver
If you’re unsure whether an item is dishwasher safe, it’s always a good idea to consult the manufacturer’s instructions.
Exceptions to These Dishwasher Loading Tips
As with most rules, there are a few exceptions when it comes to how to load a dishwasher correctly.
While most cups and bowls should always go on the top rack, bigger, sturdier glasses like mugs or even heavy-duty mixing bowls can be placed face-down on the bottom rack. Use the dish tines to hold them in place if possible.
Conversely, while most utensils belong in the cutlery rack, longer items like ladles, mixing spoons, and spatulas can be laid flat in the top rack. Just be sure they’re not covering the opening of any cups or bowls.
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