Loading Your Dishwasher Wrong Can Wreck Your Kitchenware! Learn the Surprising Dos and Don'ts from an Expert

As we age, we often look for ways to simplify our daily routines and make household chores as efficient as possible. One of the modern conveniences that many of us have come to rely on is the dishwasher. It's a fantastic appliance that can save us time and effort, but are we using it to its full potential? Surprisingly, the way we load our dishwasher can have a significant impact on the cleanliness of our dishes and the longevity of our kitchenware.

The debate over the correct way to load a dishwasher has been a topic of contention in many households. Thankfully, the breakfast television program 'This Morning' recently shed light on this domestic dilemma. The show featured Katie Mortram from Good Housekeeping, who has spent five years testing dishwashers and has become an expert on the subject. She shared invaluable insights on how to stack items properly and what should never find its way into your dishwasher.

Firstly, let's talk about the stacking strategy. According to Mortram, the arrangement of the tines in the dishwasher should guide you on where to place different items. The closely spaced tines on the bottom rack are designed for dinner and side plates, while the wider-spaced tines accommodate soup plates, bowls, and larger items. Pots and pans should also be placed on the lower level, as the heating element and stronger water pressure there will ensure they come out sparkling clean.

Katie Mortram shared her tips on how to load the dishwasher properly. Credit: Shutterstock

One common misconception is that dishes need to be rinsed before being placed in the dishwasher. Mortram debunks this myth, stating that modern dishwashers are advanced enough to handle greasy residue and sauces without pre-rinsing, making it a waste of water, time, and money.

When it comes to cutlery, the debate over whether to place handles up or down can finally be put to rest. If your dishwasher has a third shelf, use it for cutlery to prevent nesting and ensure thorough cleaning. If using the cutlery basket, Mortram suggests placing knives and forks with handles up but alternating the direction of spoons to prevent them from sticking together.

Spacing is another crucial factor. Ensure there's a little room between items so water can circulate and clean effectively. After loading, always check that the spray arm can rotate fully without being obstructed.

Now, let's delve into the surprising dos and don'ts. While many kitchen items are dishwasher-safe, some should never be loaded into the machine. Cast iron, copper, crystalware, fine china, sharp knives, and cheese graters should be hand-washed to maintain their sharpness and prevent damage. Dishwasher detergent can dull blades, and the harsh environment can cause items like cast iron to rust and wooden utensils to swell and crack.

However, there are some non-kitchen items that can be cleaned in the dishwasher, such as plastic toys and solid plastic combs, provided they are labeled as dishwasher-safe.

In summary, loading your dishwasher correctly not only ensures clean dishes but also protects your kitchenware from damage. Remember to check brand recommendations, give your items enough space, and avoid placing delicate or sharp objects in the machine. With these expert tips, you can extend the life of your kitchenware and make the most of this essential household appliance.

Key Takeaways
  • Good Housekeeping's Katie Mottram shared expert advice on how to stack different items in your dishwasher for optimal cleaning.
  • She emphasised the importance of placing items in such a way that allows water to flow between them, ensuring thorough cleaning.
  • Certain items, such as cast iron, copper, crystalware and fine china, along with sharp knives and cheese graters, should not be put in the dishwasher to protect their quality and the toughness of their edges.
  • Non-kitchen items like plastic toys and combs may be dishwasher safe, but should always be checked against the manufacturer's recommendations before loading into the machine.

We'd love to hear from you, our savvy Seniors Discount Club members! Have you discovered any dishwasher loading tips or tricks over the years? Or perhaps you've learned the hard way what not to put in the dishwasher? Share your experiences in the comments below and let's help each other make the most of our dishwashers!
  • Like
Reactions: Ezzy
ever since dishwashers came out, this is the way everyone in my family friends have done it. I see nothing to learn from this. Maybe if you have just starting using one might be helpful. Her top shelf faces differently to mine completely.
I had to figure things out almost 50 years ago when I got my first dishwasher. I’ve now progressed to one with a cutlery tray which is the best invention ever. I’ve managed to wreck very little. My son shoves everything in his except his Global knife set. He does the same with mine when he’s home & everything comes out clean so that’s all that matters.
  • Like
Reactions: Veggiepatch
We never place saucepans in the dishwasher. Have never found the need to & they use up so much space as well. Just as easy to wash in the sink.
  • Wow
Reactions: PattiB
We were always using the basket for cutlery but had the third drawer at the top which we were using for plastic lids and small containers until a friend showed us to put our cutlery up top and remove the basket which obviously gave us alot more room on the bottom. So being new to having a dishwasher we had not worked that out so these segments might be handy for someone.
  • Like
Reactions: Ezzy and PattiB
Could someone tell me how a dishwasher blunts knives from a scientific perspective?

Dishwashing tablets do not contain abrasives.
I really don’t know Veggiepatch but it’s one of the rare times that I follow instructions & do as I’m told just in case. Our Global knives were way too expensive to possibly ruin.
Just did some checking and none of the ingredients in a typical Finish dishwasher tablet can be considered an abrasive agent.

The only way I can see a knife losing its keen edge is by knocking into other objects during the wash cycle by high pressure water.

So little Miss Mortram is a bit off the mark with knives in dishwashers.

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