Using a dishwasher to wash your dishes doesn’t only save you time and minimize the effort you need to put into this chore, but it can also help your household save water and energy. Not many people are aware of this, but a dishwasher is actually a green and energy-efficient alternative to regular hand washing. However, if you want to get the most out of your dishwasher, it’s essential that you know how to load it properly. That way, you’ll have your dishes pristine clean and minimize the puddles and possible dish damages as well.
Depending on what kind of dishwasher you own, you may have to prerinse some dishes in case you don’t plan to run a cycle immediately after loading. Prerinsing is not necessary if you have a top quality Maytag dishwasher or if you plan to run the cycle right away. Another essential practice when loading a dishwasher is to never stack items. For instance, plastic items may flip over and end up on the heating element of the dishwasher. What’s more, if the items are stacked on one another, the water spray won’t be able to reach them, resulting in still dirty dishes.
Start with the bottom rack
When loading your dishes in the dishwasher, it’s always better to start with the bottom rack and items that should be placed there. This will make things easier and more efficient for you. So, the bottom rack is reserved for bigger dishes such as plates, bowls, pots, pans and casseroles. When you load these items, make sure that they are placed on the side, with their dirty surface turned towards the water spray as much as possible. Of course, it would be best if there’s a tiny bit of space left between the dishes.
There are a couple of tricks when it comes to loading the bottom rack. For starters, flat pans and platters should be placed on the sides or the back of the rack. This is due to the fact that their shape and size can block the detergent in case they are placed at the front of the rack, right by the door. Moreover, when loading forks and spoons, you can use the silverware rack, but don’t forget to alternate the handles up and down in order to achieve the best cleaning results possible. As mentioned, never stack your spoons and forks! Finally, in case you own both stainless steel and silver/silver-plated flatware, make sure to separate the two materials so they don’t touch during the cycle.
Fill up the top rack
If bigger dishes go into the bottom rack, the top rack is reserved for the smaller ones. This is where you want to load your smaller plates and bowls, as well as cups and glasses. Glasses and cups should always be placed between the tines, with just enough space between them to prevent damage. This is especially important for wine glasses and similar items. Just like you angle the bigger dishes in the bottom rack, don’t forget to properly angle the glasses and cups as well, so that the detergent and water spray can reach them and wash them effectively.
There are things you should remember when using your dishwasher on a regular basis. Most importantly, the detergent has to be fresh; otherwise it won’t really do much. Keep the detergent somewhere dry and cool. Also, there are certain dishes you should never load in a dishwasher. Don’t forget – wooden, pewter, brass and bronze items, china and crystal, as well as cast iron, tin, gold-plated items and knives of any kind are not dishwasher-safe!