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How to Load a Dishwasher Correctly


By learning how to load a dishwasher correctly, dishes and silverware will come out cleaner and keep their original luster longer. Manufacturers include recommendations for loading their dishwashers based on configuration of the appliance.

Is Pre-rinsing Necessary?

Scraping dishes has proved effective in most cases by both manufacturers and consumer testing groups.  [Consumer Reports]

Though it is not necessary to prewash dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, studies have found that up to 93% of dishwasher owners perform this task prior to every load.  Running water to rinse dishes prior to loading them in the dishwasher consumes up to 25 gallons of water. [Journal of Extension]

Many dishwashers have a ‘rinse-and-hold’ cycle that uses only a few gallons of water.  If you aren’t going to run your dishwasher for a few days, you can run this cycle to rinse the dishes, which will help to eliminate odors and crusted food particles that may make it more difficult for the dishwasher to clean.

How to Load Silverware

The key to loading silverware for the best results is to stagger the pieces facing both downward and upward.  You want to ensure that the pieces do not ‘nest’ together, which prohibits the water from fully cleaning them.  Alternate up and down and combine the types when loading.  Knives should always be loaded with the blades facing down to avoid injury.

Loading the Lower and Upper Racks

The top racks of most dishwashers have prongs for holding glassware. Placing the cups and glasses at a slant, on the prongs, will keep water from accumulating on the bottoms. Delicate items and most plastic should go on the upper rack of the dishwasher as well.

If the heating element of the dishwasher is not exposed, plastic containers may be placed on the lower rack. Check the dishwasher manual for specific plastic recommendations and also confirm that the plastic item is dishwasher safe.

The lower racks is designed for plates as well as pots and pans. Plates should face the middle of the dishwasher, where the water flow is greatest. Place plates on either side of dishwasher, facing in. Pots, pans, and baking sheets should be placed in an upright position to maximize exposure to water. The same goes for bowls.



“Bosch Dishwasher Tips #1: How to Load a Dishwasher- Bosch Dishwasher Tips #1: How to Load a Dishwasher.” YouTube . N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2010.

“Stop pre-rinsing and let the dishwasher do its job.” Consumer Reports. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2014. <>.

“Dishwashers, proper loading = cleaner dishes.” Consumer Reports: Expert product reviews and product Ratings from our test labs. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2010.

Berkholz, Petra, Rainer Stamminger, Gabi  Wnuk, and   et. al. “Manual dishwashing habits: an empirical analysis of UK consumers.” International Journal of Consumer Studies 34.2 (2010): 235-242. Print.

Emmel, Joanne, Kathleen Parrott, and Julia Beamish. “Dishwashing and Water Conservation: An Opportunity for Environmental Education.” Journal of Extension 41.1 (2003): n. pag. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

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