Have You Stayed Current On Your Dishwasher-Loading Methods?

Image courtesy of Anne Makaske

We’ve long emphasized the importance of not pre-rinsing dishes for your newer dishwasher, since modern appliances now assume that you don’t. What else has changed since you first learned how to line up plates facing the water jets and place knives facing down in the basket? A surprising amount, actually.

The dishwasher experts down the hall from us at Consumer Reports know how to load the appliances: for them, testing dishwashers means scientific rigor and careful loading. Here are some highlights from their recommendations for modern appliances. You can find the rest of their dishwasher loading advice over at their site. They also have suggestions about the best detergents to use when you’re cleaning up after a large holiday gathering.

  • Read the manual for tips specific to your dishwasher’s model. Really, this is important, since the setup of racks and location of water jets differs across brands and models.
  • Glasses go on the prongs, which tilts them at an angle and keeps water out of many glasses with concave bases.
  • Scrape big food chunks off, but don’t pre-rinse.
  • Instead of pre-rinsing, run the water in your kitchen faucet until it becomes hot before starting the dishwasher, to make sure the water doesn’t start flowing in while cold.
  • Put the heaviest and most soiled items on the bottom rack, keeping them in range of the spray arm. Arrange pots, pans, and plates however your dishwasher’s manual tells you to. If you’re a renter and don’t have the manual, you may be able to find it on the manufacturer’s website, or from a third party somewhere online.

New Rules for Loading New Dishwashers [Consumer Reports]
Best Dishwasher Detergents for Big Dinners [Consumer Reports]

PREVIOUSLY: Consumer Reports Battles The Prerinsing Menace