How to load your Dishwasher for Maximum Efficiency!


Did you know that there is actually a right way to load your dishwasher, versus a wrong way? Is this really something that anyone actually even thinks about?!

Well after my brand-new dishwasher, was doing about as good of job as my old dishwasher that I had just replaced, for not doing a good enough job, I started thinking, “Ok… I must be doing something wrong.”

I started trying out different detergents. Although I found that liquid detergents work one hundred percent better for me than powdered detergents, I also found that my dishes still weren’t coming out as clean as they should be. (This is the brand that I prefer: Finish All In 1 Gelpacs – Orange Scent 84 Tabs, Dishwasher Detergent Tablets)

What happened next really frustrates me… Sadly, I became one of those people who washes their dishes, before washing their dishes.

After doing this for a short period of time, mixed with constantly complaining to my husband about my dirty-dish woes, and begging for another new dishwasher, (obviously, my husband completely ignored my slightly ridiculous request – and yes, we did have some good fights about the dishwasher… Like, really??! Really!), I finally decided that enough pre-washing was enough!

I started to tap into that teeny-tiny little portion of OCD-ness that just barely exists within my brain, and started experimenting with different ways to load the dishwasher. I mean, like I already wasn’t busy enough, right?!

Well it turns out that through trial and error, I learned that there actually is a right way to load your dishes, and it really does make all of the difference! No. More. Prewashing. Woohoo!!!!! (Life back!)

Now that I look at it, it really seems so obvious, but there were a few things that I was overlooking…

A good basic rule to start with is, load similar objects together. Aka, big plates with the big plates, bowls with the bowls, mugs with the mugs. This rule goes especially for silverware! Forks with the forks, knives with the knives and spoons with the spoons!

Make sure that when you are loading any cooking utensils into the silverware rack, that they are short enough that they will not impede the propeller that spins at the bottom of the top rack.

I was actually super surprised when I realized that a couple of my utensils that surely looked short enough to fit under, actually were not! This means that there were surely times when my upper propeller was not spinning, and completely affecting a large portion of my dishwasher’s overall function and efficiency!

A good rule of thumb is to make sure that your utensils aren’t any taller than your big plates!

Anything that doesn’t properly fit under without impeding the top rack, simply move it to the top rack and lay it down.

Also, when it comes to loading the silverware rack, see this little hinged-lid-flapper-thingy, with all of the holes? Well that actually has a purpose! It keeps your silverware separated so that it can’t stick together, and all of the food residue can be properly washed away!

[Psst! My dishwasher kind of looks like it could use a little cleaning in this photo… Check out how to clean and maintain your dishwasher for a long and healthy life!]

As for the bit about keeping your forks with your forks, spoons with spoons, and so on, this is because when you go to unload your dishwasher it takes about two seconds to put your silverware away! Much quicker and easier than standing there and pulling your silverware out one by one to sort it!

I also use the silverware compartment to hold tiny things, like bottle nipples, toddler utensils, or pacifiers.

[Please excuse my poor, dark and blurry photos! I took these photos way too early in the morning, before the good lighting, and before I finished my cup of coffee! That explains the shakiness — Oops! At least now I know for next time… Sit and chug the coffee first… Wake up, and then get into my work mode for the rest of the day!]

When it comes to the bottom rack, keeping your big and little plates together seems rather self-explanatory, however, when it comes to the bowls, there is a little trick.

See these four rows of pegs beside where your plates go?! These are where I like to put my bowls! Your bowls actually sit perfectly in between them, without falling over! My bowls have large rims, so I can fit two in each row.

Notice that I have the two bowls in each row facing opposite directions? This just helps to give you a little more room for leeway, instead of having to jam everything in there together, all touching each other! Plus, I can fit in three smaller bowls by alternating them, as well!

If I have any cutting boards that I want to wash in there, I still have one tiny row left behind the big plates, and also in front of the bowls.

One very important thing that I never really thought of before until it happened to me, is that you have to be careful to not put anything tall in the rack in front of your bowls, that will impede your soap dispenser from opening! (Yep, I did this once, and boy I was mad! What a waste of time that was! LOL)

When it comes to the top rack, I always try my best to keep the mugs with the mugs and the glasses with the glasses… Not because this has any effect on the cleanliness, but because it makes everything easier to put away!

I also keep any plastic bowls, plates, cups and Tupperware in the top rack. This helps to ensure that they won’t melt or become deformed, like they might if placed in the bottom rack… and yes, I have had this happen before!

Now I load my dishwasher exactly like this every time, and my dishes always come out super clean!

It may all sound silly, but when you break it down, it kind of makes sense, and it also actually works!

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8 thoughts on “How to load your Dishwasher for Maximum Efficiency!

  1. Pingback: What to Never Put in a Dishwasher - The Creek Line House

  2. You are my new hero! I am going to reorganize my dishwasher in the morning 🙂
    P.S. Until now I never knew that the little flappy thing was over the utensil compartments.

  3. Use the pots and pans setting if you actually have pots and pans in the dishwasher, and if at all possible, let your dishes dry using the air dry setting, especially if you re letting running the dishwasher at night or overnight.

    • Great tips!! I didn’t even realize that there was a pots and pans setting, as I always wash mine by hand… So great to know! And yes, air-drying definitely helps with saving energy for sure!

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