The first useful dishwasher was invented—by a woman, no less—in 1886. Since that time, people around the globe have been wondering: Is there a right way how to fill a dishwasher?

Why How to Fill a Dishwasher Matters

Maybe you’re quite particular and feel there definitely IS a right way how to fill a dishwasher. Even if you don’t really care, how to fill a dishwasher matters in how clean your dishes are. No matter what brand of dishwasher you have, it won’t clean if it’s improperly filled. And then you’re left washing dishes by hand, running the dishwasher again, and wasting a lot of water and detergent.

Work from the Top

There are two racks in your dishwasher for a reason. They really are for different things, and what you put on them matters. The top rack is farther from the heating element at the bottom of the dishwasher, which affects why you put things where.

Consumer Reports suggests that cups, glasses, and small bowls belong on the top rack. In addition, that plastic dishware that would melt if put too close to the heater also goes on the top rack.

The direction in which your dishes face matters. The bowls in the back should face forward, and the ones in the front should face backwards.

The Bottom Rack

Use the bottom rack of the dishwasher for plates and serving platters. This is the hottest part of the dishwasher, and plates and pans tend to be the dirtiest, so they’ll get cleaner here.

Again, direction matters. Plates get cleanest when they all face the center, according to Reader’s Digest. For large casserole dishes, place them on the outer perimeter. There’s usually more room, and they won’t block water flow when they’re out of the way.

Remember the Utensils

Avoid nesting silverware together, since spoons that are stuck together won’t get clean. Some dishwashers have compartmentalized utensil areas, and if yours does, use them. When it comes to direction, the debate rages on. GE suggests placing forks and knives in the dishwasher handles up to avoid injury. Spoons can go in handles down.

When thinking about how to fill a dishwasher, avoid putting sharp, large kitchen knives in the machine. They should be carefully hand washed to protect the blades’ integrity. Also leave wood and nonstick pans out of the dishwasher.

Tips to Get the Cleanest Dishes

In addition to mastering how to fill a dishwasher, there are other tricks you can use to maximize your machine’s power. Reader’s Digest and Consumer Reports suggest that pods are preferable over liquid or powder detergent. They have been designed to do this job—and they do it well.

Be sure to use the hottest water possible. The optimal temperature to clean dishes is 120ºF. This is also true when hand washing dishes, if that’s your preference. You can test the temperature of your water with a thermometer. If it’s not hot enough, check your water heater. Remember to keep the highest temperature at 120ºF; hotter than that puts your family at risk for burns.

To Pre-rinse or Not to Pre-rinse?

Debates rage on in homes around the globe about whether or not pre-rinsing should occur before dishes are loaded into the dishwasher. Some people even pre-wash their dishes, using the dishwasher as more of a sanitizing element.

Most of today’s dishwashers are made to handle food that is left on dishes, even dried egg yolks. In <i>Consumer Reports’</i> dishwasher tests, they allowed food to stay on the dishes overnight—and still the machines cleaned everything just fine. Remove chunks of food, which should be scraped off dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Believe it or not, you don’t need to pre-rinse.

Of course, the trick is to get it right in how to fill a dishwasher.

Leave the Cleaning to the Pros

Learning how to fill a dishwasher is one thing, but what about your whole house? Cleaning is one of the big points of contention in many relationships, but there’s a way to avoid that: hire a professional house cleaner! Carnation Home Cleaning has been cleaning homes across the Valley for more than 25 years. We know how to do it! Contact us today for a free estimate.