How to load a dishwasher the right way?

Loading a dishwasher might seem simple right? Dump in all the dishes in it, sprinkle some detergent and plug it in. Dishwasher saves about 3.5 times the water it takes to wash them by hand and also the manual labour with it. But what is the point in saving that if the dishes are not properly cleaned or the machine itself ends up getting damaged in a while?

Because loading the dishwasher makes all the difference in determining the life of the washer and also the quality of washing.  Load them right and you will have clean and clear dishes and load them wrong and you will have dishes that are not well washed or consume a lot of water or damaging the machine altogether.

In this article, we will be discussing or rather, lay down the proper steps that will help you load and place and use your dishwasher to its prime. Read on and you can follow these steps as your basic guidelines to washing your dishes using a dishwasher.

Pre-Guide: Checklist to follow before loading your dishwasher

While loading your dishwasher, make sure you follow the laid out rules to avoid improperly washed dishes. These are not exactly a pre-loading checklist but a list of rules that you would comply to load them efficiently.

Rule #1: Remove food fragments. This does not mean that you have to pre-rinse the dishes but just scrub off any food or grease present on the dishes before hand. This will make it easier for the detergent to capture dirt and remove it away smoothly

Rule #2: Make sure that you are placing the curved dishes at an angle.Dishes like bowls need to be placed with their surface facing downwards as this is where most of their dirt is accumulated. This rule is for both dishes in the top rack and also the lower rack. Make sure that you are allowing some space for the water to go around flowing about the surface with freedom.

Rule #3: Glasses with concave or improper bottoms, cups with certain angles or so should be placed such that water can drain off their surface with ease. 

Rule #4: Mix up the silverware in the holder to alternative spoon placements. With one handle up and the other way down, it will prevent the spoons from clubbing together and this makes sure that all the spoons are washed thoroughly. Otherwise, the spoons club together and only the first and last spoon get cleaned neatly

Rule #5: Make sure that all the spray arms have freedom of spin movement when you close the door and they are not hitting any of the surfaces.

Rule #6: Do not block the detergent dispenser with a large dish or an item. This will cause the dispenser not ejecting the detergent and thus the dishes get improper cleaning. To make sure that the dispenser is not being blocked, look at the residues of the dispenser after the cycle. If any detergent is left, then it means that the washer’s dispenser has obstruction issues.

Loading dishes into the Dishwasher:

Of the two significant racks present in a dishwasher. Let us discuss each of the racks and how to load onto each of them separately.

Top Rack of the dishwasher

Mostly designed for placing cups, glasses, saucers and such smaller items, the top rack is to house the angled dishes. Make sure that you are placing them at an angle with their dirt filled surface is facing down. Also, in order to prevent any damage or chipping to the dishes, make sure they do not touch each other. Spoons to spoons or similar sized cups side by side.

Also, all the plastic items (Dishwasher friendly) and light in weight storage containers should also be placed only on the top shelf. This is to ensure that the plastic items or other thin material is placed at a distance from the drying element’s high temperatures which is present at the dishwasher’s bottom.

The tines present in the dishwasher are mostly easily adjustable. Analyze and properly adjust these tines to make room for more dishes. Large dishes first and small dishes next. You can also adjust the height of the racks so it is important to explore such features as well.

By adjusting these, you can even accommodate glasses and other narrow – hollow utensils that are typically hand washed. Sometimes when we feel like washing too big of utensils, remember that you can also remove the entire rack. This way you can place large pots and get them washed as well. 

Bottom Rack of the dishwasher

The bottom rack is mostly for pans, plates, casserole dishes or other bakeware. These too have tines that help you adjust the rack shelves and separate. Here, make sure that the dirty and soiled surfaces are faced towards the spray arms and not towards the side walls of the machine. Unlike the top rack, the bottom rack is much closer towards the spray arm water streams.

Similar to the top rack placement, the bowls should not be in a nesting or clubbed position and should be placed upside down with the soiled surface pointing to the down. This will make sure that the water jet can reach to the soiled up dirty surfaces and clean better. You can place tall and items of height to the side of the dishwasher as they do not necessarily block detergent dispenser. 

Tips on loading dishes to the Dishwasher:

  1. Do not place all of the spoons or forks at the same place. If you need to do so, as mentioned before, change the direction of each fork or spoon so that they do not club to each other and water can reach every surface of the spoon. 
  2. Also, make sure that all the spoons and forks are loaded with the scoop ends pointed towards the up so they receive more water
  3. Cooking ladles or Large Spatulas can be placed on the top rack for easier water reach
  4. Load knives or other sharp bladed utensils with their blades facing towards the bottom of the dishwasher. Better yet, wash knives by hand than with the machine
  5. Learn a little about your particular dishwasher. There are somethings that certain dishwashers cannot clean. Learn which material your dishwasher cannot clean. 
  6. Use pre clean liquids if available. These help you have shinier and glossy dishes.
  7. Make sure the water heater in the dishwasher is functioning at the right temperature (48 degrees Centigrade). 
  8. For better saving of electricity and the heater, turn in hot water from the tap if you can. This way, you are directly providing the washer with hot water instead of the device heating up cold water.
  9. Make sure that the detergent you are using is not lumpy and is powdery. If it is lumpy, break it to proper powder before pouring it in. This will prevent detergent lump formation or marks on the clean dishes
  10. If using liquid detergent, shake up the bottle before using it to prevent liquid marks on the dishes
  11. Do not use a lot of detergent. Only use the required amount.
  12. Use more than the required amount of detergent only if your water is hard in nature or is known to contain a lot of minerals.
  13. Never put the following items in a dishwasher
  14. Never load glasses or glassware in the bottom rack
  • Wooden items such as boards, large pots etc.,
  • Cast Iron based dishes
  • Aluminum Cookware.
  • Copper dishes
  • Non-Stick cookware (hot water may damage the non-stick nature)
  • Non-Micro safe friendly Plastic Items
  • Crystal or china dishes
  • Painted Plates.

Do’s and Don’ts of using a Dishwasher

Do’s

Don’ts

Loading up cups onto the sides Don’t place cups to the centre 
Bowls on the top shelf Never place bowls to the bottom shelf
Placing ladles and other utensils between the cups and ladles Never stack up spoons and ladles that might nest and club together
Place all small glasses onto one side and Large glasses and other stemware on the backside Never place glasses horizontally
Large Plates should be placed in the front facing inwards towards the water spraying arm Never club plates
Always scrub away heavy food particles Never add more detergent or liquid or on the dishes directly as it will clog the spray arms and drains
Give the spray arm a test spin to check if it is spraying correctly or if it is being blocked by something or some particles Never block the arm with heavy dishes
Put the most dirtiest and the strongest dishes at the bottom of the rack No need to pre-rinse dishes
Knives, Brass, wood, china and non stick items are always better hand washed than machine washed Never stack everything at random
To be sure if you can dish wash a utensil, check for the dishwasher safe icon 

In Conclusion

Cooking is fun. But cleaning the dishes is never fun. Hence if your dishwasher breaks down, doing the dishes might be a nightmare. Hence always treat it with utmost care. Place dishes with care and where they are supposed to be. Do not overload your dishwasher nor place anything in the machine that is not supposed to be there.

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