How to Effectively Load a Dishwasher (Part 5)

The final part of our 5 part series on how to effectively load a dishwasher.

Place the various pots and pans open-side down in the bottom section of the dishwasher.

  • Do not crowd or overload the dishwasher.
  • If necessary, hand wash large items or run the dishwasher a second time.

Load the cutlery basket.

  • Place knives, forks and spoons in the cutlery basket, handle down. Warning: Sharp knives placed upright in the cutlery basket may be a hazard. Consider placing utensils point down into the cutlery basket or laying these items in the upper basket.

Distribute the cutlery loosely, and position the soiled surfaces of the spoons and forks apart so that the water can reach them.

Long pieces of cutlery can block the spray from tubes, nozzles and rotating devices. These items should be laid down in the upper basket.

Teaspoons should be put into a special spoon compartment if available.
Lay larger serving utensils in the top section of the dishwasher. Arrange serving spoons with the bowl facing down so that water does not collect in them.

  • Do not wash good cooking knives in the dishwasher. Sharp knives are often dulled by the washing cycle by rubbing against other items. There is an exception to this rule. Sharp cooking knives can be loaded: If the dishwasher has a rack that holds and separates the knives; and, if the knives do not have laminated handles (bone, wood, plastic or composite). Wash good knives by hand, especially if those having wooden or laminated handles.

Mix up different kinds of utensils in the utensil baskets to prevent several of the same item from nesting in one another and blocking the water.
Place cutting boards on the very outside of the bottom section of the dishwasher if they will not fit in the slots designated for plates. It may be better to just hand wash your cutting boards though as the heat form the dishwasher often warps cutting boards.
Fill the soap container on the bottom section of the dishwasher or the dishwasher door with powdered dishwasher detergent. Fill to the designated line.

  • If you use pellet-style detergent, simply use one pellet by placing it on the bottom edge of the dishwasher door before closing, Depending upon the temperature of the water and the length of the washing cycle, some of the wrap from the pellet bag may not completely dissolve which eventually plugs the drain. For this reason, some dishwasher manufacturers may not recommend the use of pelletized soap.
  • Fill the soap container with the door, first. It is timed to open after the dishwasher does some pre-rinsing to soften up the dirt on its own.

Filling the second soap container (often an open one) may not be necessary. The dishwasher manufacturer and detergent companies usually recommend it, but if your results are satisfactory without it, save yourself the extra detergent. You can also try using less soap in each container; or, only filling the second cup if the dishes are very dirty. Try all these ways to find the best methods for your dishwasher.
If your dishwasher has a feature for a rinse agent such as “Jet-Dry” or vinegar, fill with rinse agent to designated line.This will help to reduce water spots, especially if you have hard water. The rinse aid may not need refilling every time you run the dishwasher, but do top it off every couple of weeks to a month, or according to the instruction manual.

  • Some dishwasher detergent has rinse aid in it. Read the label.
  • If you have a water softener, or if your water is reasonably soft to begin with, you may find that rinse aid is unnecessary.

Make sure breakables do not touch each other, since the dishes can vibrate during the washing cycles.
Check that spinning arms and rotating devices spin freely and that there is nothing obstructing tubes or sprayers before each run. Also, make sure that the detergent cups can open fully.
Run the garbage disposal before running your dishwasher.Dishwashers often drain into the same pipe as the sink, so it’s important that the pipe be clear. If you don’t have a garbage disposal, use a strainer in the sink drain to stop crumbs and debris from accumulating in the pipe.

Run hot water into your sink until the water coming out of the tap is hot before starting the dishwasher. Dishwashers can heat up the water somewhat, but they usually work best when the water starts hot. If water is scarce, run the water into a container and use it to water plants or other purposes.

Close the door to the dishwasher and start the dishwasher, using the instructions for your particular dishwasher.Generally, you must select a cycle and fully close and latch the door.