Forget what your mother taught you about loading the dishwasher the “right” way. You don’t have to face all of the dishes to the center or do anything crazy to maximize space. Modern models are designed with better circulation and efficiency to get dishes cleaner than ever before. There really isn’t just one way to load a dishwasher correctly—but there are a variety of mistakes you’re probably making when loading it that prevent you from realizing the full potential of your favorite under-the-counter cleaning appliance. Keep these things in mind as you load the dishwasher, and raise your sparkling clean wine glass with confidence next time you make a toast.
Cookie sheets, serving platters and flat pans should be placed on the sides or back of the bottom rack. Placing them in front of the door prevents the detergent from reaching your dishes.
Speaking of detergent, don’t fill your dispenser too full as this leaves a film on your dishes. You shouldn’t buy detergent in bulk either. Fresh detergent does a better job of cleaning dishes than anything that’s been stored for longer than two months. Oh, and don’t keep detergent under the sink. Moisture causes it to clump and deteriorate faster.
Cups and Glasses
Glasses and ceramic mugs should be placed between the tines rather than over them. The tip of the tine often leaves a water spot inside the glass. Placing breakables over tines also allows them to bump against each other, potentially cracking or shattering.
Prevent dirty water from puddling on inverted cups and glasses by angling them as much as possible. If you still end up with small pools, be sure to empty the bottom rack first so that the dirty water doesn’t drip down on clean dishes.
One of the most common mistakes is letting bowls lean together and overlap near the top. Only load bowls between prongs that enable them to stand up straight so that the spray can fully reach the interior.
Have you ever noticed pits on your silver-plated flatware? Keep stainless steel and silver utensils separated in the dishwasher. If they touch, a chemical reaction could cause the silver to pit.
Large utensils don’t belong in the bottom basket, but rather on the top rack where they can’t move around and prevent the arms from circulating properly.
Anchor dishwasher-safe cups and containers so that they don’t flip over and fill with dirty water. Use the handle of the aforementioned oversized or odd-shaped utensil or to accomplish this.
Loading your dishwasher properly not only makes your dishes cleaner, but also saves you the hassle of rewashing dishes.