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How to Load a Dishwasher Correctly

open dishwasher with top shelf open slightly with blue mug and small bowl in it

We all know how time-consuming it can be to load a dishwasher, but do we really know how to load a dishwasher properly? Some of us are going straight from hand washing our crockery to using a dishwasher to get sparkling clean dishes. If you are not sure how to load a dishwasher correctly, or what the benefits of doing so are, then this blog post is for you. We will discuss how to correctly load dishes in order to save water and energy costs while maximizing cleanliness.

Dishwasher vs handwashing

Dishwashers tend to boast more space than a regular hand washing draining board. If you properly load your dishwasher, you will find that you are able to tackle all of your dirty dishes without having to dry the other dishes as you go.

It is thoroughly important, however, that all of the items within your dishwasher are separated sufficiently. Without enough space between your dishes, they will not get a proper cleaning! There can never be too much room left over within a dishwasher, so don’t feel the need to overcrowd when you load a dishwasher. If you are lacking a little space, make sure you pre-rinse your dishes before loading your dishwasher.

Some plastic items cannot be placed in the dishwasher. Certain dishwasher models are more prone to warping plastic items if they are too close to the heating element. It is always wise to be cautious of your dishwasher-safe items after washing. Check for chips and any misshapen dishes.

How to load a dishwasher for optimal cleaning

The first thing you’ll notice when operating a dishwasher is both the top rack and the bottom rack. These aren’t just here for more space, but to also optimise the way certain dishes are cleaned.

Loading all your dishes without much care or thought can lead to numerous issues. If you overload your dishwasher, you may find your dishwasher door may not close. If you try to slam this closed, you are likely to break your fragile dishes!

What goes on the top rack of a dishwasher?

It’s just as important to know where to put our dishes within the dishwasher also. The top rack and bottom rack are designed to clean certain dirty dishes more than others. Loading your dishes in the correct places will also help prevent breakages of your crockery and other delicate kitchenware.

Generally in the form of a sliding shelf, the top rack of a dishwasher can slide in and out past the dishwasher door, with ease. They are also fairly close to the top of the dishwasher, which does prevent you from loading certain larger items on the top rack.

Small bowls: small bowls are ideal for the upper rack. Without taking too much space for other dishes such as mugs, they are thoroughly cleaned when loaded into the top of the dishwasher.

Large utensils: serving Spoons, spatulas, and wood utensils are properly cleaned at the side of the upper rack. This keeps them away from the smaller cutlery, as not to hinder their cleaning process.

Dishwasher-safe plastics: should be placed away from any heating element to prevent them from warping. Things like plastic containers, plastic utensils, fine china and other plastic items are all prone to warping and breaking, and should be placed in the safest area of your dishwasher. By placing them on the top rack, you are keeping the dishwasher safe plastic away from the hottest parts, and you delicate dishes are less likely to have things fall on them.

Wine glasses and mugs: Place mugs on the top shelf of your racking. Most likely, you will find that the top shelf fits them almost perfectly. The same goes for a wine glass. The shelf may just be tall enough to stand several wine glasses. This is the safest place for your drinkware to go in the dishwasher and will help prevent dishes from breaking.

What goes on the bottom rack of a dishwasher

It goes without saying that your bigger items should go on the bottom rack of your dishwasher. Your heavier flat pans, cutting boards, and other dishware may not fit on your top shelf. Generally, most dishwashers do not leave enough space for you to place larger items on the top shelf, anyway. IF any of these were to fall on any dishware below, you are sure to see disaster!

Plates: Plates have their own slots within the dishwasher. On the bottom shelf, there are generally slots for plates to sit by the spray arm. Sitting the plates upright allows them to be cleaned more efficiently.

Frying pans: Placing frying pans on the bottom of the shelf keeps them close to the spray arm. If they are caked in baked on foods, then they are more likely to be cleaned first time on the bottom shelf. By loading them behind the plates, and at an angle towards their side, they are both space conscious whilst also in the optimum position for cleaning.

Large bowls: Mixing bowls and other large bowls will take up a lot of space in the dishwasher. To obtain clean dishes, large bowls should be placed to the side of the plates on the bottom shelf, angled so that they do not obstruct too much of the spray arms.

Silverware basket: Most dishwasher manufacturers have a specific space for the silverware bake on the bottom shelf of the dishwasher. If you are looking to properly load your dishwasher, then keep this basket in place. Being close to the spinning arm allows the water to blast the cutlery so they each article can be cleaned evenly.

That being said, it is worth knowing how to place your cutlery specifically. It is best to mix and match different types of cutlery, so that knives, forks, and spoons are all mixed into the same compartments. Also, ensure that they are placed in a mix of handle up and handle down. This allows the water spray to interact with each piece of cutlery differently. By separating pieces of cutlery, they have a better chance of being cleaned properly.

Do you put sharp knives in the dishwasher?

You might be wondering where your sharp knives should go in your dishwasher, also. The truth is that they should be completely avoided when it comes to loading your dishwasher. Knives collect a tonne of bacteria, and so proper requirement is essential for food safety. Do not soak your blades, but rather hand wash them straight after use.

It is also worth noting that sharp knives in the dishwasher can be dangerous to the user. If you are still washing your sharp knives in the dishwasher, you should handle them with care. Never point them upwards in the silverware basket, as this can lead to serious injury. It is always best to hand wash your knives for safety and hygiene.

Now that your dishwasher is properly loaded, you can enjoy thoroughly clean dishes and kitchenware. We all know how much easier having a dishwasher can be compared to handwashing. Those of us fortunate enough to have the space for a dishwasher would never go back! Keeping on top of your dishwasher loading habits will not only keep your dishes cleaner than ever before, but will also make your dishwasher more energy efficient. We hope you found this article helpful!

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