How to Load a Dishwasher

You open the dishwasher, pull out a rack, and drop a dish into a slot. You keep doing that until there is no more room and push “start.”

Is that the best way to load a dishwasher?

Loading a dishwasher may seem like a simple task, but doing it right means sparkling clean dishes, and doing it wrong means scraping the crud your dishwasher missed and then just redoing a load.

There are a few easy, expert tips you can implement to get the most from your faithful dishwasher.


You don’t need to do this with a modern dishwasher. They are designed to remove food residues, and they do it well. While you should scrape large food particles from your dishes, put them in the dishwasher dirty. Give your dishwasher a chance.

Dish Placement

If you want hot water to spray easily on all surfaces, put large items on the bottom rack, as the directions should say. Face them inward toward the spray jets, but leave room for water to spray up and past those, reaching other dishes. Your dishwasher may have more than one spray arm, but it doesn’t hurt to leave gaps between dishes so more water flows throughout the interior.

The Top

The top rack, that is. All your smaller items go here, including cups and glasses. Place everything so dishes won’t tip over. If you have plastic dishes to wash and are concerned about the high heat and possible warping, those should go right at the top. If you are really concerned, you know what to do: Wash by hand.


Your dishwasher has a special place for utensils, and you might think, “I’ll just put them all in there, and all good.” That might work, but some utensils, such as forks and spoons, can stick together, limiting cleaning. Put some upright, some upside down, and leave room for water circulation.

The Right Stuff

When choosing a detergent for your dishwasher, do your research. Look at the reviews. If your dishwasher has a prewash option, use it. It’s there for a reason.

While you may do your dishes, you should leave some cleaning for the professionals, such as your carpet, furniture, and hard floors. Those are tougher than dishes. After all, it pays to call a pro!

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