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The right way
— to load a —dishwasher

Yes, there is a correct way to load a dishwasher. The next time your spouse or in-laws instruct about the proper way to load a dishwasher, you can politely set them straight with the facts - courtesy of our appliance-repair specialists:

Three basic rules for loading dishwashers

  • No need to pre-rinse.
    Pre-rinsing is unnecessary for modern dishwashers, unless dishes were left sitting overnight.
  • Don't overload dishwasherMake sure exposed surfaces (areas that touch food) face the center of the dishwasher and toward the spray arms as much as possible.
  • Don't overload.
    Cramming two loads into one load will restrict the water spray patterns, which will prevent proper cleaning and require a water-wasting rewash.

What goes in a dishwasher, what shouldn’t

In
  • Items with a dishwasher-safe imprint. Pay particular attention to plastic food storage containers. Not all may be able to withstand your dishwasher’s high temperatures. They may melt if they are too close to the heating element in the bottom of the dishwasher. If you're not sure, wash them by hand. If a piece of plastic melts to the heating element, it can be tough to remove it.
Out
  • Items with wooden features are best washed by hand because over time, the detergent and hot temperatures can cause wood to warp and crack.
  • Items with embellishments such as rhinestones, gold or silver.

What goes where in a dishwasher

Lower rack
    What goes where in a dishwasher
  • Plates: Leaning toward the center near the spray arm. Make sure the surface is exposed.
  • Pots: Upside down.
  • Cutting boards: The outer-most parts of the rack.
  • Cutlery basket : Manufacturers advise that cutlery be loaded with the "business" end facing up, a.k.a. the end that touches food. The reason? Better water circulation. Facing the business-end down in the basket restricts water flow. However, sharp knives and utensils should always face down to help prevent injury when unloading the dishwasher. Care should be taken, of course, when removing all utensils from the basket.
Upper Rack
  • Plastic, glassware, mugs, cups and smaller items. Make sure to leave space between each item to reduce chance of breakage.

How to care for a dishwasher: Maintenance and cleaning tips

Monthly
  • Use a drop-in dishwasher cleaner to clean and deodorize.
  • Tip your dishwasher's door down and spray cleaner or degreaser along the edge and lip area. This area is generally home to mold growth. Let this sit for a moment and then run a hot, wet rag over it to remove mold.
  • Clean the spray arm: Food particles can collect in the spray arm's water holes. Use a pipe cleaner or paper clip to loosen particles or other debris from the holes.
Every three months:
  • Clean or replace the filter: If your dishwasher has a filter in the center of the tub, remove it and brush away food. A torn or damaged filter should be replaced.
  • Use vinyl touch up to cover any damaged dishwasher rack tines and prevent rusting. Tine tips work better than the vinyl touch up for the tips of the dishrack tines and can prevent further rusting.

Dishwasher broken?

Visit our Dishwasher Help for free troubleshooting and DIY how-to repair help.

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