There are many benefits to using a dishwasher — you'll save time, use less water, and get your dishes cleaner than you might washing by hand. Take full advantage of those benefits by loading your dishwasher to maximize soil removal and ensure dish safety. While your owner's manual will offer recommendations specific to your model, you can improve the performance of any machine with these general guidelines:
You'll save time and a lot of water if you don't rinse your dishes. Simply scrape off large food items such as bones and large, unfinished portions, instead. The dishwasher will handle both rinsing and cleaning. That's its job, not yours.
Put it in its place
Dishwashers are designed with a general loading order in mind. It will benefit you to follow this plan for a few good reasons. Small, lightweight and delicate dishes are better protected and held secure in some parts of the machine than in others. More importantly, you'll expose the right size dish to the right pressure spray, and get a cleaner wash as a result. Keep in mind that just because the dish fits into an opening on the rack, doesn't mean it's going to get the cleanest there.
- The top rack: designed for cups, glasses and smaller items. Many items, including those larger than 9 inches tall, will fit up top.
- The bottom rack: designed for plates, pans, casseroles, pots and utensils. A dishwasher with a tall tub design will accommodate more tall and odd-shaped dishes on the bottom rack than a standard tub.
- The silverware basket: No surprises here—designed for silverware and small utensils. Restrict silverware to this designated area where it won't come loose.
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