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best way to load a dishwasher

What is the Best Way to Load a Dishwasher?

Though everyone thinks their method is best, there are dishwasher loading truths that result in cleaner dishes. What is the best way to load a dishwasher? Facing dishes toward the spray arms and positioning bowls and cups upside down make for better cleaning, rinsing, and drying. Learn how to load a dishwasher correctly to end the debate and improve performance.

How to Determine the Best Way to Load a Dishwasher

The best way to load a dishwasher not only means dishes are cleaner but also drier and streak-free. We’ll break down how to load each rack and specify some common loading mistakes to avoid. But, first, here are some pre-loading tips that set the stage for success.

Pre-Loading Tips

Some of the most essential dishwasher loading tips specify what to do before a single dish is loaded. Prepping your dishes and dishwasher properly can ensure that it functions optimally with better results.

Follow these pre-loading tips for cleaner dishes:

  • Scrape off large food particles: Bones, seeds and peels can clog the dishwasher’s filter and pump, resulting in puddles and leaks.
  • Add rinse aid: Rinse aid alters the structure of water droplets so they run off dishes and glassware with ease, improving drying. If your dishwasher leaves dishes wet, consider adding more rinse aid.
  • Turn on the garbage disposal: If you have a disposal, it likely shares a common drain with the dishwasher. Running the disposal before starting a wash cycle clears the drain of food particles so the dishwasher can adequately drain.
  • Run the hot water: Before starting a wash cycle, run the hot water in your kitchen sink for 1-2 minutes. Hot water is more effective at removing stains and this ensures it’s readily available to the dishwasher.

Loading the Upper Dish Rack

The upper dish rack is designed to hold bowls, cups, glasses, and small plates. It’s also recommended for plastic items, as it’s the furthest rack from most dishwasher heating elements.

Here’s how to load a dishwasher top rack correctly:

  • Place cups and glasses upside down, at an angle, along the perimeter of the rack.
  • Position bowls and small plates upside down, between the tines, in the middle of the rack.
  • If possible, raise or lower the upper rack to accommodate taller items below. Some upper racks can be removed completely to maximize space for large cookware.

Lower Dish Rack Loading Tips

Reserve the lower rack for dinner dishes, cookware, and serving platters. However, avoid putting wooden cutting boards or dishes embellished with bronze or gold in the dishwasher to prevent warping and other damage.

Follow these tips to best load the lower rack:

  • Place each dinner dish between the tines, facing them inward toward the spray arms.
  • If dishes come out dirty, try alternating large and small plates to prevent nesting.
  • Position larger cookware and serving platters along the back and sides of the rack so they don’t block the spray arm’s rotation. Many user manuals have a dishwasher loading diagram that specifies how to best position these items.

How to Load the Silverware Basket

The silverware basket securely contains eating utensils so they’re sufficiently cleaned. However, they must also be loaded properly to remove stains and food particles.

These tips detail the best way to load a dishwasher silverware basket:

  • Alternate forks, knives and spoons next to each other or when placing them in individual slots to avoid nesting.
  • To prevent injury, place knives upside down.
  • If your dishwasher has a 3rd rack for cutlery, place one utensil per slot. Larger serving utensils can also be laid flat on this rack.

Avoid These Common Loading Mistakes

Sometimes, the best way to load a dishwasher is knowing what not to do.

Steer clear of these common loading mistakes:

  • Skip the pre-rinse: Most dishwasher detergents work better when combined with some grease and grime.
  • Avoid overloading: Placing too many items too closely together restricts their access to water, detergent and air, impairing cleaning and drying.
  • Add the right amount of detergent: Using too much can leave residue on dishes, while too little leaves them dirty. Follow the detergent recommendations in your model’s user manual for detergent measurements specific to different wash loads.

What if your dishwasher isn’t cleaning properly even after using these loading tips? It may be time for a dishwasher repair service to have a look. Call Appliance King of America for any kitchen appliance concern!


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