Project Guide

How to Load a Dishwasher

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Load the Bottom Rack
an open dishwasher showing the bottom rack full of dishes

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 have 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 Top Rack
a person loading glasses into the top rack of a dishwasher

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 serving 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
the utensil basket in a dishwasher
  • Cutlery and serving utensils should be placed in the designated divider basket.
  • Position them with the handle down and the serving side up for a thorough clean.

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
an open dishwasher full of clean dishes
  • 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