How To Load A Dishwasher: A Guide


Your dishwasher not performing to expectation? Learning how to load a dishwasher guarantees you get clean dishes with every wash.

You performed all the research, asked all the right questions, and purchased the best dishwasher you could afford. However, you are disappointed with its performance.

Never fear! Chance are you don't know how to load a dishwasher the right way for optimal performance.

Getting the Most out of Your Dishwasher

Dishwashers are a vital part of most homes. After all, no one likes washing dirty dishes by hand after every meal. Additionally, using a dishwasher can save you hundreds of dollars a year in water and energy costs.

However, getting the most out of your dishwasher involves more than learning how to load a dishwasher. There are several tips and tricks that, properly used, will optimize your dishwasher's efficiency and cost-cutting capacity.

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Dishwasher tips and tricks

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  1. 1
    Although we recommend scraping large chunks of food, pre-rinsing isn't required for most modern dishwashers.
  2. 2
    Aluminum and stainless steel pots and pans can go in the dishwasher in most instances. If unsure, look for "dishwasher-safe" designation at the bottom of the cookware, the owner's manual, or check the manufacturer's website online.
  1. 3
    Don't pack your dishes too tightly in the dishwasher. Overcrowded dishwashers don't operate efficiently. Additionally, some dishes may require re-washing if you load too many in your dishwasher.
  2. 4
    Regularly clean the dishwasher trap. Located at the bottom of the unit is a small tray that traps large chunks of food that didn't go down the drain. Keeping this trap clean helps your unit run smoothly.
  3. 5
    Likewise, periodically clean the filter at the bottom of your dishwasher. First, remove the washer arm and remove any food debris you find beneath it. Then, remove the filter by pressing down on the pressure lock. Lastly, remove the filter assembly and rinse thoroughly in your sink.
  1. 6
    Turn on your sink's hot water for a couple of minutes before running your dishwasher. Dishwashers require hot water for proper cleaning. Clearing the water lines of standing cold water guarantees your dishes get washed in hot water immediately.

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  1. 7
    Don't add too much soap. It may seem counter-intuitive, but adding too much soap does not get your dishes cleaner. Actually, the opposite happens as too much soap clogs up the unit and prevents maximum cleaning efficiency.
  2. 8
    Lastly, occasionally run your dishwasher for a full cycle with nothing but vinegar. Vinegar helps remove old food particles from the unit. Additionally, vinegar clears out any lingering odors.

How to Load a Dishwasher Effectively

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Even the very best dishwasher cannot overcome improper dish loading methods. For that reason, knowing how to load a dishwasher is key to properly cleaned dishes.

Chances are, you are doing at least one or two things wrong when loading your dishwasher. For example, oversized cutting boards and platters require specific placement. Additionally, dishwasher safe plastics can be destroyed if improperly placed.

Top rack loading

Place dishwasher-safe plastics like food storage containers on your dishwasher's top rack. This placement keeps them away from the heating element, located at the bottom of the dishwasher.

Additionally, be sure to place cups, saucers, glasses, and small bowls on the top rack.

Bottom rack loading

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Place large items like serving bowls, plates, and large saucers on your dishwasher's bottom rack. Additionally, oversized items like pots and pans belong on the bottom rack.

Likewise, large platters and cutting boards belong on the bottom shelf. However, place them towards the back or side of the rack. This placement prevents them from blocking water and detergent from reaching other items.

Lastly, place any items with baked-on food or stubborn stains face down towards the dishwasher's spray arm.

Silverware, knives, and utensils

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Mix forks, knives, and spoons in your dishwasher's basket to prevent them from nesting. Additionally, for safety's sake, place knives with the point downwards to avoid cutting yourself when you remove them.

Likewise, we recommend loading forks with the handles facing downwards to prevent poking yourself. Inversely, place spoons with the handles facing down.

Lastly, place large utensils like spatulas and large serving spoons on the top rack.

What We Learned Today About Loading Dishwashers

We covered a lot of information today about loading dishwashers. First, we covered some tips and tricks for getting the most out of your dishwasher.

Then, we discussed how to load a dishwasher for maximum cleaning efficiency.

What about you? Do you have any tips and tricks for using a dishwasher? If so, please share them with us using the comments section located below this article.

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