Clean Every Dish by Loading Your Dishwasher Right

If your dishwasher is not cleaning every item thoroughly and consistently, your problem may not be that the appliance is broken.  Poor performance could be due to the fact that you are not using good strategy when arranging dishes in the machine.  It is not enough to just toss items into your dishwasher haphazardly and run a cycle.  You must understand how your machine distributes water so you can ensure that every piece of tableware is adequately washed.

How Does Your Dishwasher Operate?

It is a common misconception that the dishwasher fills entirely with water, so every item will be cleansed no matter which direction it is facing.  This is not so.  In fact, only the basin at the bottom is flooded.  Here, an element heats up the water, and a pump pushes water though a twirling sprayer that vigorously flings the hot water upward and outward.  Sprayer arms are always positioned at the bottom of the dishwasher; sometimes additional arms are placed at the top or center as well.  Dish detergent is added to the water.  It uses enzymes that will only be activated in the presence of food, so do not completely rinse your dishes before running the dishwasher.  With all of these things going on inside your machine, you must think carefully when loading it up.

What is the Best Way to Arrange Your Dishes?

You can orient your dishes in a way that takes advantage of this environment.  The dirtiest side of each dish should face toward the center and be tilted downward when possible.  Put the largest items along the back and sides of the machine so that they do not shield the smaller item from the sprayer.  Situate your cups and bowls at an angle so that water will trickle off instead of forming puddles.  Dishes will remain dirty if they are stacked directly onto each other.  Even the tips of the prongs that support your glasses can create water spots.

Bear in mind that lot of motion takes place within your dishwasher as it operates.  Powerful jets of water rock the dishes as sprayer arms spin round and round.  Fragile items adjacent to rattling tableware can be smashed.  Sometimes objects are carried away upon surges of water.  If pieces of plastic drop onto the floor, the heating element can melt them, so be sure to secure plastic items well.  Fallen objects can impede the rotation of the bottom sprayer arm.  Likewise, large plates or long utensils can block the upper sprayer arm.

So where do you put each specific item?  While to some degree the structure of the dishwater racks answers that question for you, there is a wide range of adjustments that must be made by you.  For example, face the dirty side of each place toward the sprayer when placing it in its slot.  Large pans and sheets can block the torrent of water, so position them around the outside edges.  Tilt bowls and cups when placing them in between the prongs.  Avoid cramming items tightly together even if they seem to fit better that way, as they might break.  If your bin for holding silverware has a special closeable compartment, store all your plastic belongings in there lest they fall onto the heating element at the bottom.

The matter of arranging silverware deserves special attention.  When two similar pieces of silverware are set next to each other, they often “spoon,” or stick together.  This is a frequent cause of silverware remaining dirty at the end of the cleaning cycle.  The best way to resolve this problem is to both alternate spoons and forks and also alternate placing them upside-down and right-side up.  Knives should be planted with blades down so that you never fillet yourself.

Should Some Items be Washed by Hand?

                Some things simply should not be put anywhere inside the dishwasher.  Delicate items such as china, crystal and collectibles will likely be marred in the tumultuous environment.  Wooden objects will sometimes swell and crack or absorb cleaning chemicals when machine washed.  Corrosion and abrasion can form pits in a multitude of metals including silver, aluminum, tin, pewter, brass, bronze, cast iron, and gold leaf.  Quality blades will be dulled over time by relentless grinding against neighboring items.

While exquisite tableware can be damaged through machine washing, do not be afraid to pop in normal everyday items.  A well-loaded dishwasher can do a better job of cleaning dishes than you could with your own two hands.  Each and every one of your dishes will be cleansed for the entire time that the appliance runs. The heating element raises the water’s temperature above that of normal hot water to better sanitize your dishes.  For your convenience, you can fill up the dishwasher gradually, inserting dishes as they become dirty.  It is worthwhile to know how to correctly load your dishwasher because having a predictable supply of well-cleaned dishes adds to your peace of mind.