Dishwasher Do’s & Don’t’s

Loaded Dishwasher

The dishwasher is an incredible device. Sometimes I wonder how much collective time this machine has saved families across the globe. I have to admit that after living in an apartment without a dishwasher my Junior year of college, the following year I refused to live in a place where I had to wash cups by hand. Plates and silverware I can tolerate, but cups are the bane of my existence. But the dishwasher, as with any other tool, needs to be used properly to ensure the longevity of your dishes, utensils and cookware.

Dishwasher Do’s

  • Do remove large particles of food, before loading into the dishwasher. Our Labrador retrievers are always able and very willing to help with this task.
  • Do load utensils handles down, allowing for better cleaning. This is with the exception of knives, as this is an unloading hazard.
  • Do mix flatware to avoid nesting of like utensils (i.e. spoons nesting with other spoons).
  • Do load plates, ceramic cookware and large bowls on the bottom rack with the dirty surface facing inward.
  • Do load smaller bowls, cups, glasses and plastic containers on the top rack; plastic will melt or warp on the bottom rack, as this is normally where the heating element is located for the drying cycle.
  • Do check with the manufacturer of your pots and pans to ensure that they are dishwasher safe.
  • Do place cups and glasses in the rows demarcated by the prongs; placing each cup on a single prong wastes space and could lead to glasses banging into one another during the wash cycle, which could lead to chipping or breaking. The prong will also leave a water spot on the bottom of glasses.
  • Do place all containers (bowls, cups, glasses, etc.) facing down.
  • Do lay large utensils, such as tongs and large serving spoons, horizontally on the top rack.
  • Do place non-wooden cutting boards on the outside of the lower rack, if they do not fit in any of the slots.
  • Do use powder detergent. This isn’t to say that liquid doesn’t work or is bad for your dishes, but from my own experience it does a better job of washing and doesn’t leave a film on the dishes.

Dishwasher Don’t’s

  • Don’t overcrowd your dishwasher.
  • Don’t put cutlery in the dishwasher; this will dull sharp blades.
  • Don’t put wooden utensils in the dishwasher; wood will warp in dishwasher. Wooden utensils should be washed by hand.
  • Don’t load utensils, cookware or dishes that are labeled unsafe for the dishwasher; they are labeled this way for a reason.
  • Don’t load non-stick pots and pans; the dishwasher will erode their non-stick surface. These can be easily cleaned by hand.
  • Don’t stack items; water will only reach the bottom item.
  • Don’t load anything that is made of aluminum, silver, silver-plated, cast iron or other reactive metals in the dishwasher; they will corrode.
  • Don’t load any delicate glasses or crystals and china, such as hand-painted or antique dishes; they are more likely to lose color and rattle during wash cycle, leaving them prone to breaking. It is better to wash these by hand.
  • Don’t use anything other than dishwasher detergent; this may damage your machine or lead to a big mess.
  • Don’t use lemon-scented dishwasher detergent; it contains citric acid, which will corrode metallic flatware. Furthermore, what is the point of lemon-scented dishwasher detergent anyhow? The goal of washing dishes is to remove any soapy residue and the idea of eating off scented plates with scented utensils is asinine.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Leah Mahoney says:

    King…I have a question for you!

    I’m moving into a new apartment that has a dishwasher, and I couldn’t be more excited. However, since I am a bit of a germ freak with things in the kitchen, I was wondering if you think it is necessary to sort of clean out the dishwasher, or if it is a good idea or even necessary to run a cycle by itself just to flush it? Thoughts?!

    Thanks, and I miss you dearly!

  2. The King says:

    Thanks, Leah, and great question! You most certainly can wash your dishwasher if you feel so inclined. You can do one of several things. First, make sure your dishwasher is empty. Sprinkle a cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and run your dishwasher through a full cycle with the hottest water. A cup of white vinegar will also clean your dishwasher, when run through a full cycle. A tablespoon of bleach and a full cycle will also do the trick, although, from what I’ve gathered, you should avoid this technique if any of the inside of the dishwasher is stainless steel.

    1. Leah Mahoney says:

      : ) Thanks!

  3. shamtest says:

    I can’t seem to fully load this page from my droid!!

  4. Bob Picciano says:

    why do dishwashers corrode silver ?

    1. The King says:

      From what I’ve seen online you can wash them in the dishwasher. However, you cannot let your silver touch any stainless steel, as it causes an electrolytic reaction that will discolor your nice silver. At this point I don’t own any silver, but if I did I would probably just wash it by hand like anything else I have that is not used on a regular basis. Also, be sure to rinse silverware as quickly as possible, as food particles left on silver for long periods of time can lead to corrosion and pitting. I hope this helps!

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