August 28


How To Use a Dishwasher Properly

By Robin Hatch

August 28, 2022

A dishwasher is a convenient appliance that allows you to clean your dishes without all the hard work. They use minimal water at high temperatures to ensure your dishes are appropriately disinfected.

If you are unsure how to use a dishwasher, this article will help provide you with some tips and information to ensure you get the best results and get sparkling clean dishes each time.

Even if you’ve been using a dishwasher your whole life, you can still benefit from this helpful information.

Reasons for Using a Dishwasher

using a dishwasher

There are a few great reasons to use a dishwasher instead of washing your dishes by hand. The most notable reason is convenience. Using the dishwasher takes much less time and effort than doing it by hand. You clean the solid foods off the dishes you wash and turn on the dishwasher. 

Not only is it faster to use, but it also saves on energy costs. The average dishwasher can help you save hundreds per year on utilities such as water and electricity.

Finally, a dishwasher can disinfect the dishes because it uses hot water. Use one if you have baby bottles and related equipment to ensure they are sterile for each use.

You can also ensure you get any bacteria and other dangerous substances that can cause lines with a dishwasher cycle. 

Getting To Know Your Dishwasher

Before you begin using your dishwasher, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with its basic function. The best source of information is the manufacturer’s customer guidebook and product information packet. There is usually step-by-step information that guides you through all the controls and how to use them properly.

It’s also a good idea to take an inventory of all the controls and knobs to get familiar with how they work. Before using dishwashing detergent, learn which trays and holes hold which cleaners.

There are usually two ports for dish detergent and a drying and anti-clouding liquid. It’s also essential to know how much detergent to use in the particular dishwasher you have. 

Things to Consider

There are some things to consider when you use a dishwasher, such as the level of dirt or stuck-on food. When it comes to the particular level of cleaning for each dishwasher, it depends on the type of dishwasher, its features, and its age. 

Naturally, the newer dishwashers with more features are the ones that can get the dishes cleaner. However, you can still get a good cleaning from an older dishwasher if you take a few extra precautions before loading it and starting the cycle.

The first thing to remember is to remove all stuck-on food if possible. This can be accomplished by thoroughly scraping your food into the garbage or down the garbage disposal.  

For stubborn messes or dishes with an abundance of grease, you’ll want to pre-wash them for the best results. Keep in mind that the water in the dishwasher recycles, and you want to keep as much grease and food out of the water as possible. 

How To Properly Use Your Dishwasher

The first thing you want to do is understand how to load the dishwasher properly. This process is imperative to the final results after the cycle.

If you load the dishwasher incorrectly, there can be dishes that aren’t fully clean, which can block the flow of water from reaching other dishes. 

Load Plastic Items First

This is an excellent place to start your loading process if you have plastic to wash. If you have light plastic cups, containers, or dishes, you’ll need to put them on the top rack away from the most direct heat – on the bottom of the dishwasher. If you put them on the bottom rack, they can warp and melt. 

Separate Any Stainless Steel and Silver

Few people realize that silver and stainless steel silverware need to be separated when they can’t touch them during the cycle. This is because they react when they touch while in the dishwasher running a cycle, and the silver may pit.

Load Plates and Bowls

If you have plates and bowls to wash, you need to put them on the lower rack where the water spray is more potent. Avoid stacking and blocking the concave areas so the water and detergent can effectively clean them. 

Gather Your Utensils

Always use the built-in basket for silverware and various utensils. This basket may be located on the door or an upright basket on the bottom shelf. Don’t just lay the silverware or utensils flat on the rack. 

Load Glasses 

Any cups or glasses should always be placed on the top rack. This keeps them from breaking under the water’s high pressure and securely in place. 

Fit Your Pots and Pans

Pots and pans are usually placed on the bottom rack, but you may use the top shelf if there is adequate space for smaller pans. Frying pans and stock pots typically do best on the bottom. 

Although each dishwasher is different, these general guidelines give you the best results in most cases. Just remember to avoid over-filling or stacking the dishwasher. 


If you follow these tips for using your dishwasher, it provides the best results. You may need to try a few different arrangements to see which works best.

Some dishwasher loads need a second cycle. This is especially true for heavy loads and when there are challenging items in the dishwasher. If you have any issues with your dishwasher, contact the manufacturer or consult a qualified repair expert. 

Robin Hatch

About the author

For over a decade, Robin has been a real estate agent, interior design specialist, and mother. Through her trials and tribulations, she wanted to create the perfect website to help you save money and make your home look beautiful.

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