Your dishwasher is a handy tool designed to efficiently clean and disinfect your tableware with minimum effort from you. Your dishwasher gets your dishes squeaky clean. Furthermore, it keeps the clutter of dirty dishes off your kitchen counters and out of your sink. However, at times, you may notice that your dishes aren’t as clean as they should be. They may retain traces of food residue or spots. The proper arrangement of dishes can prevent the wash cycle from missing traces of food. Check out these guidelines for loading your dishwasher for the best performance.

12. Avoid Washing Your Dishes Before Loading the Dishwasher

Loading The Dishwasher

You aren’t doing your dishwasher any favors if you wash your dishes by hand before placing them in your machine. Pre-rinsing your dishes wastes water. Furthermore, it signals to your dishwasher sensors that the dishes are already clean. This can trigger your dishwasher to run a shorter cycle. A shorter cycle may leave food particles on that one nasty casserole dish or saucepan. For the best use of energy and water, scrape large food particles from your dishes but leave the rinsing to your appliance.

11. Use the Proper Temperature

Proper Temperature

According to Amana, the best water temperature for your dishwasher is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It is critical to use water that is hot enough to activate your detergent, dissolve grease, and kill germs. Check your water heater to ensure you have set the temperature to 120 degrees. Hotter temperatures can cause burns, while lower temperatures won’t allow for proper cleaning. If it takes some time for your water to run hot, you can clear cold water from the lines. Run water into the sink nearest the dishwasher until it turns hot.

10. Keep Glasses and Mugs on the Top Rack

Glasses And Mugs

You may be tempted to place dishes in your dishwasher willy-nilly, sticking items wherever you find room. However, your dishwasher is designed to treat items on the top rack differently from those on the bottom rack. Avoid placing glasses and mugs in the bottom section of your dishwasher. Instead, load them on the top rack. Some dishwashers provide deeper sections and dividers on one side of the rack for placing wine glasses. Cascade advises placing cups and glasses on the top rack at an angle, so water does not pool on them after the rinse cycle.

9. Arrange Serving Utensils on the Top Shelf

Serving Utensils

Place dishwasher-safe utensils such as serving spoons, spatulas, and tongs on the top shelf of your dishwasher. Avoid cramming them into the utensil basket on the lower rack, as they may block silverware and other dishes from the flow of water. Some dishwashers come equipped with special compartments or racks for these tools. Place them in these compartments, making sure they are not nested together and will receive the full benefit of the water cycle. Place small items such as undersized container lids, baby bottle accessories, and bottle tops in the lidded sections of your silverware basket.

8. Situate Plates and Bowls on the Bottom Rack

Situate Plates

Place plates and bowls in the bottom section of your dishwasher. The bottom rack contains tines situated to hold your plates and bowls where they will not nest against each other. When separated, the dishes can receive the full benefit of the wash cycle. The one exception to this rule is dishwasher-safe plastic items. Place dishwasher-safe bowls and plates in the top section of the dishwasher, where they will be further away from the heating element of the appliance. Keeping them further from the heat source will help prevent overheating them, which can alter their composition.

Related: 13 Things That Don’t Belong in Your Dishwasher

7. Place Plates and Bowls Facing the Center

Plates And Bowls

In older models of dishwashers, it is crucial to place plates and bowls on the bottom rack of the dishwasher with their eating surfaces facing the center. For example, dishes on the right half of the appliance will face toward the dishes on the left. This allows the spray to best reach the dirty surfaces. According to GE Appliances, in newer models, the spray best reaches dirty surfaces when all of the plates and bowls face the same way. Check your owner’s manual if you are not sure which direction your dishes should face.

6. Arrange Large Containers Around the Perimeter

Large Containers

Most dishwashers provide extra space for placing casserole dishes, mixing bowls, and dishwasher-safe pots and pans in the bottom section. Utilize this space for your larger items to prevent their bulk from blocking the spray. Samsung recommends placing pots and pans in the lower half of the dishwasher, facing toward the center. Then, once you have finished loading the dishwasher, give the spray nozzles a spin to make sure nothing is blocking them from spinning.

5. Avoid Allowing Silverware to Nest

Silverware To Nest

Sorting your silverware into dedicated sections of the utensil basket makes for easy dishwasher emptying. However, it can prevent your silverware from being fully cleaned. When your utensils nest against each other, water is unable to reach every surface of each item. If your dishwasher basket contains a lid with slots for utensils, use this feature to keep the items separate. Otherwise, place a mixture of utensils in each compartment, with some pointed up and others pointed down to prevent nesting. Always place knives sharp-edge down to prevent cutting your hand when emptying the dishwasher.

Related: Washing Dishes and 11 Other Activities to Avoid During a Thunderstorm

4. Wash Non-Dishwasher Safe Items by Hand

Dishwasher Safe

Certain items do not belong in your dishwasher. The high temperatures of the dishwasher can damage insulated travel mugs, while harsh detergents and extreme temperatures can etch gilt-edged plates and delicate teacups. Extreme temperatures can also cause leaching of dangerous chemicals from plastic takeout containers. Furthermore, the coating on non-stick pots and pans can become degraded by the harsh environment of your dishwasher. Protect your dishes and your health by washing non-dishwasher safe items by hand in your sink.

3. Refrain from Overloading

Refrain From Overloading

It can be tempting to pack as many dishes as possible into your dishwasher. However, overloading your appliance can result in some dishes blocking others from the cleansing spray of the dishwasher jets. Make the best use of the space in your dishwasher by utilizing the tines and dividers your appliance provides. For the best organization, consult your owner’s manual online for guidelines that pertain to your specific model. You may be surprised at the organizational features your machine contains.

2. Consider Dishwasher Detergent Packs

Dishwasher Detergent Pacs

There are a variety of dishwasher detergents available on the market. It can be challenging to determine whether a powder, liquid, or pod is the best choice for getting your dishes squeaky clean. Luckily, Homethods has done your homework for you. They tested a variety of dishwasher detergents and pronounced Cascade Platinum ActionPacs Dishwasher Detergent as the winner in clearing away grease and food residue from dishes. These little packs contain detergent and a rinse aid to keep your dishes clean and sparkling.

1. Choose the Correct Setting for Each Cycle

Wash Cycle

You may simply choose the same wash cycle each time you run your dishwasher without even thinking about it. However, you can clean your dishes more efficiently by selecting the correct cycle each time depending on the amount of grease or residue on your dishes. Your dishwasher has different settings that optimize energy for scrubbing away debris from heavily soiled pots and pans or gently cleaning fragile glasses and cups. Check out your owner’s manual to brush up on the best cycle for each type of cleaning.

Related: 15 Household Objects You Should Be Cleaning on a Monthly Basis


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