Careful placement—combined with using an enzyme detergent and a rinse aid—can make the difference between your getting glistening dishes and grungy ones. Note that you can skip prerinsing your dishes. This step wastes time and energy and uses as much as 6,500 gallons of water per year. You can save even more water by running only full loads.
Follow our expert advice to help your dishwasher perform its best and keep your items from getting damaged:
1. Load large items at the sides and back of the dishwasher, so that they don't block water and detergent from reaching other dishes.
2. Place the dirtier side of dishes toward the center of the machine to provide more exposure to the spray. Don’t let dishes or utensils nest, or rest side by side, which can prevent water from reaching all surfaces.
3. Use the top rack for plastic and delicate items that are dishwasher safe.
4. Rest glassware on prongs to prevent breakage. And to prevent chipping, make sure that china, crystal, and stemware don’t touch other items. Don’t machine-wash brass, bronze, cast iron, disposable plastics, gold-colored flatware, gold-leaf china, hollow-handle knives, pewter, tin, or anything made of wood or with a wood handle.
5. Load silverware with handles down but place knives with the handles up. If your dishwasher has an open basket, mix spoons, forks, and knives to prevent them from sticking together.
6. Place items with baked-on food facedown and toward the sprayer in the bottom rack.
Essential information: Read our latest dishwasher report and visit our dishwasher page for expert advice on how to choose the right model and to check out our Ratings (available to subscribers). Continue reading this blog to find out which models we've tested.
What’s in our Ratings
The listings here include the dishwasher models we tested for our March 2008 report. Note that the models are in alphabetical order, not Ratings order. (Models in italics in parentheses after a tested dishwasher are similar to the model we rated.)
Asko Encore D3531XLHD[SS] • Bosch SHE33M0UC (SHX33M0[ ]UC) • Bosch SHE45C0UC • Bosch SHE58C0UC • Bosch SHX98M0UC (SHE98M0[ ]UC) • Dacor Epicure ED24[S] • Fisher & Paykel DD605[W] • Frigidaire Gallery GLD2250RD[S] • Frigidaire Gallery GLD4355RF[S] • Frigidaire GLD2445RF[S] • Frigidaire Professional PLD2855RF[C] • Frigidaire Professional PLD4555RF[C] • GE GLD4600N[WW] • GE GLD5900N[WW] • GE GLD6700N[WW] • GE Monogram ZBD0710N[SS] • GE Profile PDW7800N[WW] • GE Profile PDW8600N[WW] • GE Profile PDW9900N[WW] • Haier ESD310 • Hotpoint HLD4000N[WW] • Jenn-Air JDB1105AW[W] • Kenmore (Sears) 1359 • Kenmore (Sears) 1373 (1383[ ]) • Kenmore (Sears) 1374 (1384[ ]) • Kenmore (Sears) Elite 1334 • Kenmore (Sears) Elite 1378 (Elite 1379[ ]) • Kenmore (Sears) Elite UltraWash HE 1312 (Elite UltraWash HE 1342[ ]) • Kenmore (Sears) Elite UltraWash HE 1315 • Kenmore (Sears) Pro 1387 • KitchenAid KUDK03CT[WH] (KUDK03FT[ ], KUDK03IT[ ]) • KitchenAid KUDS03CT[WH] (KUDS03FT[ ], KUDS03ST[ ]) • KitchenAid KUDT03ST[WH] (KUDT03FT[ ]) • KitchenAid KUDU03ST[SS] (KUDU03FT[SS]) • LG LDF7810[WW] (LDF7811[ ]) • LG LDF9810[ST ] • Maytag MDB5601AW[W] • Maytag MDB6601AW[W] • Maytag MDB8751BW[W] • Maytag MDB8951BW[W] • Miele Inspira G2120SC[W] • Thermador HD Series DWHD64EM[SS] • Whirlpool DU1055XTS[Q] • Whirlpool DU1100XTP[Q] (DU1145XTP[ ], DU1148XTP[ ]) • Whirlpool Gold GU2455XTS[Q] • Whirlpool Gold GU2700XTS[Q] • Whirlpool Gold GU3600XTS[Q]
When I was a kid, and it was my turn to do the dishes and load the dishwasher, I used to ram the dishes in there any way possible. Now, that I'm older and wiser, or just older, I have learned there is a "proper" way to load the dishwasher. Who knew?
The best way to load a dishwasher is to carefully sponge the dishers down before putting them in the dishwasher SEPERATELY so they get clean.
You should load forks handle up just like knives. If you fall into an open dishwasher, you want to reduce the number of objects that can cut/pierce you to as low a number as possible. I have seen the results first-hand in college.
Wolf, did you even read the report? FYI, if you're carefully "sponging" dishes BEFORE putting them in the dishwasher, you might as well just carefully sponge them clean and skip the dishwasher step entirely.
Yes, wolves should be "careful" with dishes, since they don't have opposable thumbs.
And have fun with those diseases you'll get from using a sponge.
Silverware, aside from other reasons( cited above, safety) is properly loaded with handles up. If you pick them out of the silverware basket by the "part that goes into someones mouth" you have just contaminated it. In commercial facilities,governement facilities, educational instutions,and schools; you are required by law; county, State or local Health departments; to maintin silveraware so that the "business end" is not touched-until whoever is eating with it uses it, or servers wipe with hopefully a clean napkin before they are placed or rolled up for the guest to use.
The recommendations come from the FDA at the federal level, written at the state level, and enforced at state county and local levels.
Of all the crazy things a marriage turns on...this article is one. The proper placement of silverware in the basket! Who knew that it would be such an issue. Our "basket" is removable from the dishwasher and has ten divided sections. I have placed salad forks in one divided section, spoons, soup spoons, forks, knives, serving flatware, etc. respectfully in each of the other sections taking care that utensils don't "spoon" each other (so they don't stick together during washing--they are as free standing as possible to have the circulating dish washing water rain on them and their entire surfaces as much as possible). Separating them in this manner makes it easier to put them away when dry (again, prior to washing, I insure that the individual sections look like little bouquets of fork tines, and spoon bowls, and not a tight, uniform efficient group.) My better half insists that your article says mix them up and put them in the divided sections scrambled--even if four or five of the divided sections are empty during the wash cycle. She swears I am wrong (the A in my name stands for Always). Please elaborate on your technique--using multiple styles of flatware holders--even have pictures so that the most efficient solution is fixed in my organized mind. I am a man, and I can take being wrong; however I don't think that I am on this one. If it is written in your magazine, it will be the final word--just make sure it is specific. Thank you.
Under #5, only SHARP knives need loaded upside down for safety. It is so the person who unloads the dishwasher does not get stabbed or cut when reaching to remove flatware. Common butter knives are not going to cut someone who accidentally brushes against them or hits the top of them.
It should read "Load silverware with handles down, but place SHARP knives with the handles up for safety."
Regarding the FDA and loading handles up, that protects the public from food service workers that can't wash their hands properly or keep their fingers out of their eyes, nose, or mouth. The solution is a compromise to help control an issue they can not otherwise regulate. Plus, it makes sense there where they have higher pressure sprayers (to better move flatware around in the baskets), regulated higher temperatures, and strong cleaners.
So, at home, place the handles down for better cleaning and wash your hands properly just before unloading. All common sense, for best cleaning of flatware.
Having worked in a restaurant, I learned to load silverware with the handle up. I follow this rule of thumb at home, and when the dishwasher is loaded properly, the water temp is right, and I use a good brand of detergent, the silverware always comes out clean. I refuse to unload clean silverware if I have to touch the "business end".
On a side note, in my area we have terribly hard water and neither my wife nor I like softened water. Our appliance repairman introduced us to LemiShine. Its a lemon based powder that you add (approximately one tablespoon) to the final rinse cycle. All of our glasses and silverware come out sparkling, with no water spots. We buy LemiShine at our local WalMart.