Loading dishwashers may seem like one of the easiest kitchen tasks, but there is an art to it. The following strategic tips will help you load your dishwasher so it cleans your dishes in the most efficient way possible.
Remove Leftover Food
Before you even start thinking about loading dishwashers, you need to take a look at your plate. Unless you’re winning the Clean Plate Award, it’s a good idea to rinse off large pieces of loose or leftover food.
Start at the Bottom
Start loading the dishwasher with the bottom rack. Put your big items in the back and smaller ones closer to the front. Having bigger items in the back will ensure that the water and detergent will reach the smaller ones in the front. You should put the dishes that need the most attention in the middle of the bottom rack so they receive the most direct attention during washing.
Move to the Top
Once you’ve filled your bottom rack, you can move to the top one. When it comes to loading dishwashers, the top rack is reserved for cups, bowls and plastic containers. Angle your bowls so you can fit more in and put your cups in the side areas specially designed for them. You need to keep your plastic containers away from high heat so they don’t melt or warp, which makes the top rack the perfect place for them.
Many newer models now come with a third rack that can be used for silverware and larger kitchen utensils. Throw your whisk, turners or serving spoons on the top rack and forget about them. By removing them from the bottom rack, it frees up your space for larger dishes and stops the worry that your utensils will get caught on or between the racks as you slide them in and out.
Don’t Run on Empty
One of the best things you can do to make sure your dishwasher is running efficiently is to run it only when it’s full. Make sure your top and bottom rack are full but not overpacked. If they’re overpacked, the water and detergent won’t be able to clean the dishes properly and you’ll have to run the cycle again or, worse, wash them by hand.
If your dishwasher is a model that allows you to choose to only wash the top or bottom rack, be sure the rack is full before you start the cycle.
To prevent water stains and help dry off the dishes, use a rinse aid.
Now that you know about loading dishwashers, you can begin to load yours more efficiently and save both time and money.