If you think dinner conversations can be tough, just wait until it’s time to load the dishwasher. Something so simple has been dividing couples, families, and roommates since its invention more than 130 years ago by Josephine Cochran, who said, “If nobody else is going to invent a dish washing machine, I’ll do it myself.”
While everyone has their own ideas for the proper way to load a dishwasher, leave it to a professional cleaner to swiftly settle the debate once and for all. Housecleaning expert Diane Regalbuto, owner of Betty Likes to Clean, is so good at what she does that she’s cleaned the homes of celebrities and professional athletes, and now she’s sharing her secrets to navigate your favorite kitchen appliance.
The proper way to load a dishwasher, according to a professional cleaner
Long gone are the days of all your dishes facing the same direction in the dishwasher. Instead, Regalbuto says all plates should face the center of the dishwasher on the bottom rack. “That’s where the powerful water sprayer/hose is located,” she says. Line up some plates on the bottom right and some on the bottom left so they’re facing each other.
Believe it or not, there’s a method to placing your silverware in the container on the bottom rack. In order to ensure they get super-clean during the dishwashing cycle, Regalbuto says all silverware handles should be at the top. While there’s a huge debate between the handles-up and handles-down method, putting them in handles-up keeps them cleaner after the wash, too. Because you’re grabbing the silverware handles when you unload the dishwasher instead of the parts you put in your mouth, you’ll keep germ transfer to a minimum.
If you’re a bowls-on-top girl, it’s time to change your method. Regalbuto says bowls should be on the bottom rack with the dishes because that’s where the spray is the strongest. When you pull them out of the dishwasher, they’ll actually be clean—there’s no longer any dinner leftovers still clinging on for dear life.
4. Pots and pans
Your pots and pans should also go on the bottom rack of the dishwasher in order to get the most clean. Since they’re the biggest things you’ll be loading, keep them toward the sides of the dishwasher so the sprayer isn’t blocked. Also, whenever possible, place them on their sides and angle them downward, which helps with drainage and allows them to be cleaned properly.
5. Glasses and mugs
All of your glasses and mugs can be cleaned together on the top rack. “It’s easier to unload them that way,” says Regalbuto. Make sure they’re always facedown in order to get the insides of your cups and mugs just as clean as the outsides. That also helps you avoid unloading cups that contain water you have to dry out with a towel before placing them in your cupboard.
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