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Dishwasher Do’s and Don’ts

    In every modern kitchen, a dishwasher stands as a beacon of convenience and efficiency. This wondrous appliance often seems straightforward, but understanding the proper practices (the do’s) and the missteps to avoid (the don’ts) can significantly increase its effectiveness and lifespan. This article will provide readers with the essential tips for using their dishwasher to ensure spotless dishes.

    Dishwasher Do’s

    Here are a few of the essential practices for getting the most out of your dishwasher:

    Load Correctly


    Proper loading of a dishwasher might seem trivial but it’s a critical aspect that contributes to the optimal cleaning of dishes. Utensils, plates, and glasses should be placed thoughtfully to allow water and detergent to circulate freely. Silverware should be mixed up in the cutlery basket, with some handles facing up and others down, to avoid nesting. Plates are best loaded in the bottom rack, leaning forward, to enable water to slide off.

    Large pots, pans, and bowls belong on the lower rack, positioned at an angle for better water reach. Glasses and cups should be placed on the top rack, between the tines, not over them to avoid cracking. For plastic items, the top rack is best as the heating element located beneath the bottom rack can warp them.

    Regular Maintenance And Cleaning


    Beyond loading, a dishwasher demands regular maintenance and cleaning to continue its stellar performance. Buildup of food particles, hard water deposits, or grease can hinder the appliance’s efficiency. Running an empty cycle with a dishwasher cleaner every month can help keep the machine spotless and smelling fresh.

    In addition, checking and cleaning the filter and spray arms routinely can prevent clogs that reduce cleaning efficiency. Hard water can leave mineral deposits, which can be mitigated by using a water softener. Regular maintenance also helps identify potential issues before they become significant problems.

    Use The Correct Detergent


    The choice of detergent plays an instrumental role in achieving sparkling clean dishes. It’s essential to choose a detergent specifically designed for dishwashers. Regular dish soap or hand soap can produce too many suds, causing the dishwasher to overflow.

    Furthermore, each dishwasher might perform best with a particular type of detergent – tablet, powder, or gel. It’s advisable to check the manufacturer’s recommendation. For hard water, detergents with water softeners can give better results. Remember, too much detergent can leave a residue on dishes, and too little might not clean effectively.

    Rinse Cycle Selection


    Selecting the appropriate rinse cycle contributes to the efficiency of a dishwasher. Most modern dishwashers offer various cycles to suit different dish loads. A heavy cycle is ideal for pots and pans, while a light cycle works best for glasses and less soiled dishes. Auto or sensor wash can adjust the cycle based on the load’s soil level.

    Moreover, some dishwashers offer an eco or energy-saving cycle, which uses less water and energy. It’s perfect for lightly soiled dishes and environmental enthusiasts. Understanding and utilizing these settings can enhance cleaning results and save energy and water.

    Dishwasher Don’ts

    Here are some tips to keep in mind while using a dishwasher:

    Running Half Loads


    Operating a dishwasher half-loaded is a common pitfall leading to excessive water and energy waste. This appliance consumes the same amount of water and energy, irrespective of a full or half load. Therefore, to optimise resource usage, waiting for a full load before running a cycle is ideal. This practice is not only environmentally friendly but also kind on the pocket, reducing the overall energy and water bills over time.

    However, if the situation arises where only a few dishes need to be cleaned immediately, utilising the rinse and hold cycle can be an effective strategy. This specific cycle can prevent food residues from hardening on dishes, without the resource-intensive nature of a complete wash cycle. Hence, in the world of dishwashers, patience often proves to be a virtue, saving both resources and money, while promoting sustainable use of the appliance.

    Don’t Ignore Signs Of Malfunction


    Keeping an eye out for unusual dishwasher behaviour is key to the appliance’s longevity and effectiveness. Unusual sounds, half-clean dishes, or water failing to drain are all indications of potential issues within the machine. Ignoring these signs can exacerbate the problem, leading to costly repairs or, in severe cases, a need for complete replacement.

    Instead of turning a blind eye, addressing the issue promptly can save money and prolong the dishwasher’s life. Professional repair services or manufacturer’s support can be crucial in resolving these issues. A dishwasher in peak running condition not only ensures cleaner dishes but also operates more efficiently, promoting longer-term savings.

    Loading Items That Aren’t Dishwasher Safe


    Not all kitchen items are suitable for dishwasher cleaning. Certain items can cause damage to the dishwasher, to themselves, or to both if loaded improperly. Items such as wooden utensils, non-stick pots and pans, crystal glassware, and many plastic items can get damaged in the intensive environment of a dishwasher.

    Before loading the dishwasher indiscriminately, it’s prudent to verify whether the items are dishwasher safe. This information is typically found on the bottom of the item or in the product manual. Proper consideration prevents damage and maintains the integrity of both the dishwasher and the dishes.

    However, it’s important to note that dishwashers are designed to simplify cleaning, but they are not suitable for every type of kitchenware. Keeping this in mind, checking the dishwasher compatibility of an item before loading can save a lot of heartache down the line.



    Contrary to popular belief, dishes do not necessarily need to be pre-rinsed before loading them into the dishwasher. Pre-rinsing often leads to unnecessary water waste and may even reduce the cleaning effectiveness of the dishwasher. Modern dishwashers are designed to handle food residues, making this pre-rinsing practice redundant.

    Instead of indulging in this unnecessary step, a simple scrape-off of large food pieces from the dishes before loading them would suffice. Modern dishwashers are equipped to handle the rest, breaking down and washing away residual food particles with ease. So, let the appliance do the job it was designed to do, and save both water and time in the process. This change in routine might seem minor but can have a significant impact in terms of water conservation and efficiency of the dish cleaning process.


    In conclusion, understanding the do’s and don’ts of dishwasher usage can enhance the performance and lifespan of this valuable appliance. Proper practices contribute to cleaner dishes, efficient operation, and long-term cost savings. Avoiding missteps helps to avert damage, inefficiency, and unnecessary repairs. Treating the dishwasher right allows it to return the favor with years of clean, sparkling dishes.