How to Properly Use a Dishwasher

Believe it or not, your dishwasher came with an owner’s manual, but if you’re like most people, you never took the time to read it. How difficult could it be, right? You put the dishes in, add the soap, close the door, and turn it on. Easy-peasy!

If you’re not getting sparkling clean dishes from your dishwasher, it’s probably because you’re using it wrong, despite the ease in which it works. No, you don’t have to go back and read the manual from cover to cover. Instead, take a few minutes to read this article full of tips to help you use your dishwasher better. You’re welcome!

1. Stop Rinsing the Dishes 

You’ve probably heard that you should rinse the dishes before placing them in the dishwasher, right? Well, according to Consumer Reports, there’s no need to rinse your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher, especially if you’re going to run it immediately after eating a big meal. 

Turns out that most dishwashers do a fine job of removing debris from dishes, so save time and water and stop rinsing the dishes beforehand. 

2. Use Hotter Water

120 degrees is the optimal temperature for a dishwasher to do its best work. Anything cooler than that and the water won’t be hot enough to break down food stains. 

To check your home’s water temperature, fill a glass with hot water from the tap. Use a meat thermometer to measure the water’s temperature. If it’s cooler than 120 degrees, consider adjusting your hot water heater to get the most out of your dishwasher. Just don’t turn the water heater above 120 degrees as you will increase your risk of getting serious burns from your hot water. 

3. Don’t Put Plates on the Top Rack

If you make a habit of placing plates on the top rack, stop. Your dishwasher is designed to hold certain types of dishes on the top and bottom racks. For example, the tines on the bottom rack are made to hold plates upright for optimal water flow. If you place the wrong dishes on the top rack, it blocks the water flow, making it difficult for your dishwasher to get the dishes clean. 

4. Use Dishwasher Soap Pods or Tabs

If you’ve been using powdered or liquid dishwasher soap, that could be the problem. These soaps simply don’t break down food as they should, and they leave behind residue that makes dishes look cloudy.

For sparkling clean dishes, switch to pods or tabs, which use advanced technology to leave dishes sparkling clean while helping your dishwasher to stay clean and fresh, too. 

5. Don’t Place Dishes All in the Same Direction

We know it makes sense to place all the bowls and plates facing the same direction, but did you know that for the best clean possible, they should all be facing the center of the rack? 

Bowls go on the top rack, with the ones in front facing backward and the ones in back facing forward. Plates go on the bottom rack with the left ones facing right and the right ones facing left. The reason this makes sense is that the water spray is coming from the center of the dishwasher, so situating your dishes this way allows the water to hit the front surface of every dish equally.