5 Tips for Loading Your Dishwasher Correctly

Dishwashers are excellent timesavers — unless they’re not working. What that happens, they double your washing time as you rinse the dishes before loading them and re-wash them once you’ve run the cycle.  

Dirty dishes can signal your dishwasher’s broken — specifically, dirty dishes can indicate a clogged inlet valve or broken sprayer arms. But before you replace the appliance, make sure you’re loading the dishwasher correctly. Doing so could have a much larger impact than you think.

Follow our tips below to load your dishwasher correctly. If your dishes are still dirty after you try these tips, you can call in a professional repairperson.

1. Silverware

Don’t drop your forks, knives, and spoons in the silverware basket haphazardly. Instead, place each fork and spoon with the handle down. Don’t group all the spoons together — mix the forks, knives, and spoons at random. Otherwise, similarly shaped pieces of silverware can nestle together, which keeps the spray from reaching each side of the silverware.

Make sure to place knives with the handles facing up — less to create an even spray and more to ensure you won’t cut yourself once the dishes are done.

2. Glassware and Plates

Always place glassware on the dishwasher’s top rack. The mouth of the glass should face down, slightly angled so the sprayer can reach deep inside the glass.

Plates should go on the bottom rack. Position the plates so the dirty side tilts towards the center of the dishwasher, giving it maximum access to the sprayer arms. As with the silverware, make sure similarly sized plates don’t fit so tightly next to each other the water can’t reach the surface.

3. Bowls

Smaller bowls can go on the top rack while larger bowls should go on the bottom rack. While you can keep similarly sized and styled bowls together, make sure to avoid nesting or stacking bowls on top of each other: each bowl needs to be completely exposed to the water spray, no matter which rack it’s on.

4. Pots and Pans

Pots, pans, and any heavier objects like baking dishes should always go on the bottom rack. Placing heavy objects lower down avoids straining the top rack, which wasn’t meant to hold heavier objects, and gives some of the dirtiest dishes full access to the water sprayer.

Always check for a “dishwasher safe” mark on the bottom of a pot or pan before you put it in the dishwasher; in general, wash non-stick pans by hand.  

5. Other Tips

Along with loading the dishwasher correctly, try these simple tips to make the most of your dishwasher:

  • While you should run a full load to save water and energy, don’t crowd the dishwasher. Don’t stack dishes on top of each other just to create a full load: make sure each dish’s dirty side is completely exposed to the sprayer.
  • Use the right kind of detergent. Today’s best detergents are usually small, plastic-wrapped packets, not gels or powders.
  • Try turning the kitchen sink on before you start the dishwasher, running the tap until the water gets as hot as possible. This action preps the dishwasher to start with hot water, not cold water, which can get you a deeper clean.
  • Periodically clean your dishwasher. Check the drain and sprayer arms for clogs and place a bowl with several cups of vinegar on the bottom rack. Run the dishwasher sans detergent to cycle the vinegar through and scrub the dishwasher’s interior.

Still ending up with dirty dishes at the end of every cycle? If you’ve tried all these tips, it’s time to bring in the professionals. Live in the Columbus area? Give Capital City Appliance Center a call for fast, simple dishwasher repair.

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