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How To Load A Dishwasher For Dummies

How To Load A Dishwasher For Dummies

How To Load A Dishwasher For Dummies

For as long as dishwashers have been around people have been arguing over the proper way to load them.

We’re going to settle this dispute once and for all by showing you the best method for most machines.

How you load your dishwasher up can mean the difference between chipped glasses and dirty plates.

Here’s the proper way to load a dishwasher.

Step 1 – Do Not Place These Items Inside Your Dishwasher

There are some things that are not meant to be put in a dishwasher.

Wooden utensils, non-dishwasher safe plastics (they warp from the heat) and reactive metals (bronze, pewter, copper, or iron) can corrode or tarnish.

things you should not put in the dishwasher

Step 2 – Wash These Items By Hand

It’s best to handwash your sharp knives so that the blades don’t become dull rubbing against other silverware.

Handwash any delicate glassware to eliminate the possibility of breaking once inside your dishwasher.

hand wash sharp knives

handwash delicate glassware

Step 3 – Scrap Off Large Food Scraps

If you’re rinsing your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher you’re not only wasting water but you’re also wasting energy.

You’re also preventing your dishwashing detergent from doing its job.

Dishwashing detergent is designed to cling to food particles, separate them from the dish surface and break them down.

If you’re not providing particles for the soap to cling to it will attack the materials within your dishes causing them to wear down, crack or break.

Without enough food particles for the detergent to break down you’ll end up with excess residue on your dishes which creates spots and that cloudy look.

Just be sure to scrape off any large food scraps.

prerinse dishes is not necessary

Step 4 – What To Place In Bottom Rack

Never overcrowd your dishwasher. All of your dishes need to have a clear path to the water jets.

When loading, make sure you consider where the spray arm, soap dispenser, and water jets are located.

It’s not the same in every dishwasher.

It’s important that your dishwasher’s spray arm can circulate fully and that the soap dispenser is not blocked.

Your plates should go in the lower rack all facing the center with the large and small plates staggered.

When loading your larger items like your pots, pans, or casserole dishes make sure you are loading them into the back or side of the bottom rack.

load pots and pans to back of dishwasher

load pots and pans on bottom rack

Step 5 – What To Place In Top Rack

Your cups and glasses should be placed on the top rack. They should go between the tines never over them.

By placing them between the tines this can help prevent cracks and chips while they rattle or bump against each other during your wash cycle.

Also, make sure they aren’t touching so they don’t vibrate against each other.

Smaller bowls go on the top rack. They should be facing down at a slight incline so that they don’t fill with water.

You can also place your extra-large utensils on the top rack laid on their sides with the spoons facing down for the same reasons.

Finally, dishwasher safe plastic should be placed on the top rack to keep it away from the dishwasher’s heating coil which might warp it.

smaller bowls should be placed on top rack facing down

large utensils go on top rack

dishwasher safe plastic top rack

Step 6 – How To Load The Silverware Basket

Today’s silverware baskets are a little more advanced than the old baskets.

Today many of them come with cell covers which space your forks, spoons, and knives for you.

If your silverware basket does not have cell covers you’ll need to make sure you are placing the silverware in alternating directions.

Spread them out throughout the basket and make sure they aren’t nesting against each other.

When the silverware “spoon” together this prevents access to the dishwasher’s soap and water.

For safety reasons always place your knives faced down.

dishwasher cutlery basket

forks and spoons on bottom

Step 7 – Time For Dishwashing Soap

Once your dishwasher is fully loaded it’s time for the dishwasher soap. Never use regular dishwashing soap unless you want your kitchen filled with soap suds.

A rinse agent is a good idea especially if you are challenged dealing with hard water. This will also help you achieve fast and streak-free drying.

load dishsoap into dishwasher

rinse agent

Step 8 – Run Hot Water and Garbage Disposal

Before running your dishwasher through a wash cycle it’s a good idea to run hot water and the garbage disposal in the kitchen sink first.

This will help ensure that the dishwasher starts with hot water and that the drain is clear of any food debris.

run hot water

run garbage disposal

Now you are armed with a guide on how to load a dishwasher for dummies, you should be able to get sparkling dishes every time you wash.

sparkling dishes

Other Important Dishwasher Loading Tips

Stainless steel and silver should never be loaded into a dishwasher next to each other.

If the two different types touch during a wash cycle a reaction may occur and your silver could pit.

pitted silverware

Always make sure your plastic is dishwasher safe before placing it in your dishwasher.

If your dishwasher has an exposed heating element the plastic should be placed on the top rack to prevent it from melting.

If your dishwasher has a concealed heating element then your plasticware can be placed anywhere inside the dishwasher.

plastic labels and their threat level

All dishwasher detergent can clean well but it won’t clean well if it isn’t fresh.

A good rule of thumb is that you should only buy what you reasonably expect to use in a two-month span.

So those large size containers that you can buy at Costco are a bad idea.

Your dishwashing detergent should also be stored in a cool and dry area of the home.

Placing the detergent under the sink may cause it to clump due to moisture.

We hope you were able to resolve any lingering questions you may have had about how to load a dishwasher or least settle a few arguments.

dishwashing liquid top brands

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