Loading the Dishwasher: You're Doing It Wrong

Jeanne Sager

dishwasherIf which way to load the toilet paper roll is the most controversial question in a household, how to load a dishwasher can't be far behind.

The dishwasher scene in Rachel Getting Married spawned its own loyal fan base -- and foes.

But there are the dishwasher afficionados . . . and then there are the experts. To get the most efficient dishwasher answers, The Stir went straight to the source: Sandra Steward, dishwasher experience expert designer at Whirlpool Corporation.

Her answers are guaranteed to start a new fight in your home. But at least you've got the upper hand now.

  • Always load dishes so that the water from the spray arms can reach the soiled surfaces
  • Load dishes so water can drain off completely for best drying results. 
  • Load items so open ends face down for best cleaning and draining.
  • Load dishes, pots and pans and utensils so that they do not block any of the spray arms. This may require raising the upper rack on models with this feature. Spin spray arms to assure that they can turn freely after loading is complete.
  • Load items so that they do not significantly block or cover another item (this includes nested items and one item being placed over another).
  • Place cutting boards, cookie sheets and platters along the sides or back of the rack so they don't block water flow, which shoots out from the machine's center.
  • Load spoons and forks with some handles up and some down so they don't nest. Load all knives with handles up. Check the manufacturer's instructions for sharp prep knives to determine if they are dishwasher-safe.
  • Small bowls may be loaded so they stand "at attention" in the center row of the top rack. Those in the rear section should face forward and those in the front section should face backward so the center sprayer reaches all of them. 
  • Load breakable glasses and cups in the rows between the tines. Placing them OVER the tines may result in damage and water spots. 
  • Load lightweight items, such as plastics, so that they are held firmly in place
  • To avoid chipping, load china, crystal and other delicate items so that they don't touch each other.

We know you have to do something differently. What do you disagree with?


Image via kevindooley/Flickr

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