Under 2 hours
Part of knowing how to use a dishwasher correctly is learning the proper way to load a dishwasher. Learning how to load a dishwasher can help you get the most out of its space and get your dishes clean. There is no right way to loading a dishwasher, but there are a few trusted methods for maximizing the wash cycle. Whether you have a built-in dishwasher or a smaller portable dishwasher, this guide will offer tips on how to load a dishwasher properly for sparkling clean dishes every time.
Load the Bottom Rack
For ease and convenience, load the bottom rack first. There are a few main items that always belong on this rack:
- Pots, pans and large serving bowls should be placed with the serving side down along the outer perimeter of the bottom rack, where there’s typically extra space to accommodate their size.
- Cutting boards also go on the outside so they don’t block the spray arm.
- Plates should go in the designated slots so they don’t hit against each other and allow enough space for adequate airflow during the drying cycle.
Tip: Wooden cutting boards and serving bowls should not be placed in the dishwasher. Wash those by hand to preserve their lifespan.
Load the Upper Rack
After loading the bottom rack, move to the top rack:
- Cups, mugs and glass drinkware should be placed along the sides in the prongs or dividers. Angle them slightly so water doesn’t pool in the concaved areas.
- Small bowls, storage containers and lids should be placed in the center with the open side down.
Tip: To prevent cracks and chipping, don’t stack glass items on top of each other. Space them far enough apart so they don’t tap against each other during the wash cycle.
Load the Utensil Basket
Cutlery and serving utensils should be placed in the designated divider basket.
- Position cutlery with the handle down and the serving side up for a thorough clean.
- If the handle of the cutlery is slim enough to slip through the grid of the silverware basket, reverse the position so that the serving side is down instead.
Tip: Lay longer utensils flat on the top rack instead of placing them in the basket. Otherwise, they may obstruct the spray arm during the wash cycle.
Dishwasher Loading Tips
- Keep stainless steel and silverware separate.
- When placing larger spoons on the top rack, position the bowl of the spoon downward so water doesn’t pool in the center.
- Put smaller plates in between larger ones on the bottom rack to help promote airflow.
The following items do not belong in the dishwasher:
- Carving knives
- Cast iron skillets
- Delicate china
- Brass or bronze utensils
- Wooden cutting boards and utensils
There is often disagreement, even in the same house, on the best way to load a dishwasher. However, using a few of these basic techniques will help you find the quickest way to cleaner dishes. After loading your dishwasher, make sure to add your choice of dishwasher detergent to get your dishes as clean as possible.
Whether you need a new dishwasher or new dishes to put into one, The Home Depot has a wide selection to choose from. Snap a picture using image search in The Home Depot Mobile App to find more of what you want.