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How to load a dishwasher

Dishwashers are in approximately 89 million homes and are used five times a week on average. It’s one of the hardest working appliances in your home and works overtime during the holidays and social gatherings, but surprisingly many people don’t know how to properly load and unload their dishwasher.


This article will tell you exactly how to properly load and unload your dishes. As always it’s a good idea to check your manual, if you can find it, to help you deliver the best results. If you can’t find it, hopefully you will find the information below very helpful.


Open dishwasher with dishes loaded
A properly loaded dishwasher will save you time and money

Loading the top rack

The top rack of the dishwasher should be used for mugs, cups, wine glasses, and water bottles, loaded upside-down along the side of the top rack from front to back. Small bowls and plates should be placed between the tines, not over them. You also want to angle them toward the center of the dishwasher.



Loading the top rack of the dishwasher properly
Place small items like cups and mugs along the outside. Bowls and small plates go in the center.

Longer utensils, like spatulas or ladles, should be laid flat on the upper dishwasher rack. Dishwasher safe plastic should be washed on the top rack to keep it away from the heating element and prevent warping.


We all want to get as much done in a single cycle as possible, but leave separation between items and avoid crowding the dishwasher for optimal performance.


Loading the bottom rack

On the bottom rack you should have plates, serving bowls and other larger items. Scrape your plates before loading them, but — contrary to popular belief — pre-rinsing is not necessary. Dishwashing detergent is actually specifically designed to interact with food particles on the dirty dishes. Rinsing the dishes beforehand may actually inhibit the cleaning cycle.


Face the dishes with their dirty side toward the center and make sure you are not blocking any of the sprayer arms from moving.



You should put regular forks and spoons in the silverware basket with handles facing down. Knife handles go up so that you don’t need to grab a sharp blade. It is important to mix knifes, spoons and forks to keep them from nesting together (this is actually where the term "Spooning" comes from).


Unloading the dishwasher

Empty the bottom rack first. Otherwise water that collects on the concave surfaces of mugs and glasses on the top rack will spill onto the plates, pots and dishes below.

Only use dishwasher safe items, and be aware of what cannot go in the dishwasher. Hand washing is recommended for nonstick cookware, kitchen knives, fine china, crystal and delicate glassware, wooden or silver dishware, and cast iron pans.


Let us know in the comments if we missed anything!


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