Have you ever wondered if you’re loading your dishwasher correctly? I’m ashamed to admit that this thought spun around in my head with no resolution for years. It was one of those things where I would remember that I wanted to do some research on the topic right as I was filling the dishwasher with dirty dishes, which is, of course, the worst time to pause what you’re doing to go look up a “how to” article.
Well, today I’m finally fixing this conundrum of mine once and for all by writing my own “how to” article, complete with a full list of tips that will make sure your dishes get their cleanest and that your dishwasher works as efficiently as it can. Keep scrolling for the scoop, and if you want more information about our new smart dishwasher (which we’re still loving, by the way!), click here.
How To Properly Load A Dishwasher:
1. Use the bottom rack for bulky items and everyday bowls/plates. Follow the directions for your own dishwasher, but we have a special zone that’s made especially for casserole dishes and other bulky items that typically sport lots of baked-on food waste. Make sure you’re putting those pieces on the bottom rack so that they have the most direct contact with the strongest water jets along the bottom of your dishwasher (and don’t forget to hit that “boost power” setting on your washer when you power it on if you have that capability).
2. Load dirty silverware business-side-up so that they also have maximum exposure to water jets. I used to put my silverware the opposite way in the basket because it was easier and meant I was less likely to get food smears on my hand, but then I wondered why the items came out only semi-clean. Now I turn them dirty-side-up and have much more success.
3. Dishwasher-safe plastic and other small dishes go in the middle. This helps save room on that all-important bottom rack for everyday plates, bowls, etc. and casserole dishes, but also helps ensure that your plastic items hold their shape for longer. If you put plastic on the bottom, you risk them warping over time due to exposure to the high heat water.
4. Save your third rack for awkward or oversized utensils, like spatulas and pasta spoons. This is a great tip for those of you with a bonus third rack. Our new dishwasher came with this ultra-high drawer, and it has been a game-changer. Now, we’re no longer trying to stuff spatulas and pasta spoons into our cramped second level. If you ever have the chance to upgrade your dishwasher in order to gain that third rack, I highly recommend it.
5. Use the vertical tines on each level to your advantage. For the longest time, I used the tines just as a demarcation for rows in our second rack. Now, though, I slip the edges of our small bowls, cups, and Tupperware containers over a single tine each to keep the items in place during the wash cycle. This minimizes the number of tipped-right-side-up containers that I inevitably have to wash a second time because they end up filled with dirty dishwasher water.
6. Double-check to be sure that your dishes and utensils aren’t in the way of rotating or sliding dishwasher parts. Easy, but crucial.
7. And, finally, pick the right dishwasher setting for the particular set of dishes you’re trying to get clean. The reason we have dishwashers is to make our kitchens energy-efficient, right? Well, using a setting that’s too wimpy for the types of dishes you need to clean means that you have to double your work at the sink after a dishwasher run. And using an ultra strong dishwasher setting when you don’t need to overworks your machine unnecessarily. I know it’s a little extra work, but get familiar with your dishwasher’s manual so you know what setting to pick for each of your individual loads.
I hope that was helpful! As soon as I started doing my own research on how to load a dishwasher, everything sort of clicked and made more sense. My routine feels more intentional now, and I no longer have to think so hard when I put away dirty dishes. It definitely feels more natural, and our dishes come out cleaner, too. I should have looked this info up years ago. Maybe that sounds extreme to you (that I’ve been stressed about loading a dishwasher for years), but such is the life of an over-thinker. Anyway, I hope that today’s post helps dispel kitchen cleanup stress for my fellow over-worriers out there. You’ve got the know-how now, so go forth with confidence!
*I earn a small percentage from purchases made using the affiliate links above. Affiliate links are not sponsored. Rest assured that I never recommend products we wouldn’t use or don’t already love ourselves.