Dishwasher 101

by admin on September 19, 2006 · 23 comments

Is there a proper way to load a dishwasher? Apparently.

I’ve always been a practical loader, unafraid to wedge and cram, but still with a certain belief system in place, certain assumptions about how to control the chaos. What did I know? Here are five things that, until this morning, I was doing wrong:

1) I’ve always been inclined to put all the used ends of utensils face down in the silverware basket. However, the used ends of forks and spoons should face up and benefit from the full force of the spray, while the knives — for safety reasons during the unload — should face down.

2) I’ve always tried to segregate spoons from forks from knives to make the unload easier. However, utensils should be mixed in together in different silverware baskets. This prevents utensil “nestling” whereby spoons spoon and don’t get clean.

3) I’ve always preferred to order plates and boards according to size on a large-to-small scale from the outside in. Cutting boards on the edge, then large plates, then medium plates, smaller plates and so on. I was right about cutting boards (where else would they go, though?); however, plates should not be clustered according to size. Instead, a staggered, Manhattan-skylinish arrangement apparently allows better circulation of the cleaning solution.

4) I’ve always tended to wedge normal bowls on the bottom shelf alongside the plates. I resort to placing bowls on the top shelf only when the bottom’s full and there’s space up top. However, in most dishwashers the middle section of the top row is designed for bowls. I can see this now, though to be fair, some deeper bowls won’t fit in our top-middle row.

5) I’ve always woven each glass around one prong so that the two surrounding prongs could keep pressure on the glass and keep it stable. Adjacent glasses would be right up against each other and therefore keep each other even more stable. However, glasses should go in the rows demarcated by the prongs. Glasses should not touch. They may break.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

MMiegs September 19, 2006 at 1:46 pm

i also load glasses into the prongs. a lot of my glasses won’t fit into the rows between prongs, so i have to.

Metrocurean September 20, 2006 at 6:06 pm

I’m very particular about dishwasher loading – I’ve been known to rearrange other people’s not-so-handy work. I must have inherited some anal retentive gene. Apparently my relatives have had fights over dishwasher loading.

Stop the prong people!


Anonymous November 14, 2006 at 1:37 pm

Ack! Gnnn… *cough* so… boring… can’t… breathe…

Anonymous November 14, 2006 at 2:06 pm

Great, now can somebody please tell me how to eat this damn bowl of soup?!

Anonymous November 14, 2006 at 3:13 pm

I just throw everything in without looking, turn it on and hope for the best. I buy a new set of dishes every week. This is the best way to do it.

Anonymous November 14, 2006 at 6:40 pm

My home has a 40 year old KitchenAid dishwasher. I just recently came across the owners manual–classic. The manual offered loading instructions, same given here pretty much. More importantly, it offered cleaning instructions. After a pretty disgusting 15 minutes, it washes like the day it was born…I presume, it was born a decade before me.

MegaGreg November 14, 2006 at 6:49 pm

Another thing many people do wrong is use too much soap. It ruins your glasses. I’m not exactly sure where to find out how to determine how much to use, but the info is out there somewhere I’m sure.

Anonymous November 14, 2006 at 8:59 pm

Who doesn’t know these tips already? Someone that doesn’t own a dishwasher…

Rio November 14, 2006 at 9:35 pm

Yes, there are folks that don’t know how to load a dishwasher: my roommates. They’re always putting the forks and spoons utensil side down, butting large bowls on the bottom rack , which occupy space that could otherwise fit 4-5 plates or they put plate sideways.

I wish there were someway to subtly hint that this is the way it should be done.

Anonymous November 14, 2006 at 11:01 pm

Ok, but what about the paper plates? They seem to fly around.

Anonymous November 14, 2006 at 11:13 pm

It’s also redundant to rinse dishes before loading them into a dishwasher.
Let the dishwasher do the work!

You can also wash your best china with gold edges, if you turn off the heated dry. It’s the extreme heat that removes the gold eventually

kathaclysm November 15, 2006 at 11:27 am

I think I’ve heard you can wash silver utensils too, as long as the silver doesn’t touch other metal, because the heat & water will allow the silver to migrate to other metals. So you gotta be most careful with the knives that are 2 metals.

susan December 11, 2007 at 1:24 am

I have always been taught that you put in all utensils in eating side down..and knives down too becasue its dangerous. if youdo this then htey are clean after you grab them to pu taway..other wise if they are put upright..fork,spoon and knife upward and then grab them it defaces the purpose.. why is that so hard. common sense. some people do fight over this….or just do it I have been doing fo years. I use rubber gloves. i used to have a dishwasher..headache. they r nice.

Bex April 4, 2008 at 4:49 am

WHY is it such a chore to empty a dishwasher? It’s the job everyone hates to do in our house. WHY IS THAT???? Another of life’s mysteries …

Robert September 9, 2008 at 11:28 pm

Placing fork and spoons and even knives with the handles down is the cleanest way for these items to be washed. This is because water drains down and carries away debris as it drains down. So the cleanest portion of any item washed in a dishwasher will always be at the highest point of the item dish fork whatever in the dishwasher. Learned this in clean room taining where metal parts had to be scrupulousy cleaned prior to processing.

Catlin Humes January 17, 2009 at 12:01 am

I usually just throw them in haphazardly as well…who knew there were actual rules! lol.

Jeanette January 23, 2009 at 9:07 pm

when my dishwasher has stopped I have all kinds of food particles stuck inside every glass, inside and out..

Karen April 21, 2009 at 9:39 pm

I always put the cutlery in handle up. That way, when I am unloading, I touch the handles only. When I eat, my fork will have never been touched, except by the handle.

Robert May 1, 2009 at 3:55 am

karen – you’re silly

Bada bing pizza May 4, 2009 at 4:02 am

According to foodsafe regulation, you should not handle the “business end” of the utensil. Good on you karen for thinking foodsafe first. However, in a restaurant situation, you must either use the three sink system or a commercial dishwasher. Home dishwashers are not allowed. This is mainly because its not just you and your family eating off those dishes.

Jeanette, if you are loading your glasses upside down(which it sounds like you are) you may want to try rinsing your dishes before dishwashing them. In addition, you should get a dishwasher with a sprayer not only on the bottom but on the top as well. What a difference.

dishwasher June 20, 2009 at 7:00 pm

make sure you use liquid dishwasher detergent and not the dry one

Fish October 20, 2009 at 5:46 pm

I always load utensil-side up – that way, after I blow my nose, scratch my butt and cough I can spread germs easier on the eating surfaces while I unload the utensils, saving me from the aggravating task of simply spitting on my underwear and rubbing them in peoples faces directly – this way they never knew where that flu came from!

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