Knowing how to properly load a dishwasher can mean the difference between pulling out sparkling plates, bowls, and silverware and dealing with caked-on food, water spots, and grime. When you open your dishwasher and find that it hasn’t really cleaned the dishes, the problem isn’t the machine, it’s you. “The dishwasher uses a series of spray arms to spin and disperse water jets throughout a wash,” says Richard Tarrant, senior vice president of dishwasher maintenance at Bosch. “Keep the path clear and leave space between dishes to ensure the arms spin properly and water can reach all surfaces.”
The good news: once you learn how to load a dishwasher properly, dirty dishes are a thing of the past. Here’s what you need to know to get pristine silverware and sparkling pots and pans.
Step 1: Find out what’s dishwasher safe and what’s not
Before operating the machine, make sure your loaded dishwasher is full of dishwasher-safe items. While it’s always best to check the specific product, there are a few kitchen utensils that are generally never dishwasher safe. You should hand wash antiques like china and fine china, hand painted dishes, acrylic trays, bowls and cups, cast iron, non-stick pots and pans, wooden cutting boards and sharp knives. If you’re unsure whether something is dishwasher safe or not, washing dishes by hand will always be the safest option.
Step 2: Determine where each item fits in the dishwasher
“All dishwashers will have the same basic layout, so it’s important to make sure you’re loading your dishes in the right place,” says Leanne Stapf, COO of The cleaning authority, a nationwide professional cleaning service. As a general rule, pots, pans, plates, and other large items should go in the lower rack due to their size, while glasses, cups, saucers, cups, small bowls, and dishwasher-safe plastics go in the top rack. superior.
“The dishwasher’s spray arms clean dishes by shooting powerful, upward jets of water,” says Tarrant. On the top shelf, load your glassware and cups from bottom to bottom so water can squirt into the cup. Due to the placement of the jets, Tarrant also recommends loading the glasses at an inward angle for best results.
Silverware goes in the utensil basket – forks and spoons should be placed with the handle down and knives with the handle up. When loading silverware, it’s also a good idea to mix up your utensil collection to avoid nesting (i.e., don’t put all the forks together, all the spoons together, and all the knives together ). This makes it harder for the hot water to properly clean the cutlery from all sides. If you don’t have a cutlery basket, place your utensils flat on the upper basket. “Large serving spoons and spatulas should not be placed with other cutlery,” adds Stapf. “I usually place them flat on the top rack.”
Step 3: load from back to front
You don’t usually need to pre-rinse dishes, although the instructions may change depending on the make and model of your dishwasher. Instead, scrape all solid waste into the trash can or compost bin, then place the dishes in the dishwasher. “Most dishwashers, including Bosch, have sensors that detect and adjust to the level of soil in the load,” says Tarrant.