You Are Loading Your Dishwasher the Wrong Way!!

Silverware up or silverware down? That’s just one question to ask about loading your dishwasher. How about whether to pre-rinse or not? What do you do, and why? What the heck is rinse aid for?
On the silverware question, I agree with the segment on the Today Show. You can watch it here: They say to put the silverware with the handles up. The reason is two-fold 1) It’s just safer. When either loading or unloading you are far less likely to poke or cut yourself and 2) It actually gets them clean (or even cleaner) than handle down. The only caveat I have is to make sure your spoons don’t ‘spoon’, so that their surfaces can get hit by water.

Whether to pre-rinse or not is a good question. A few years ago there was a Maytag dishwasher commercial that made us Appliance Technicians at, very nervous. It showed a consumer putting a WHOLE cake into the dishwasher! Say it ain’t so, Joe! IMHO, they went way overboard in trying to let you all know that it’s ok to leave some food on your dishes, but keep in mind that dishwashers can only handle so much, before it causes a functional problem. A lot of engineering has gone into making dishwashers wash satisfactorily, while using less and less water and energy. To accomplish this, the major detergent manufacturers have spent a lot of money researching effective ingredients. Currently the multi-layered or multi-ingredient dishwasher detergents do the best job. Modern dishwasher design is only part of that. Back around 2014, Phosphates were removed or banned from both dishwashing and laundry detergents, due to the pollution caused when they were sent down the drain. Phosphates did the ‘heavy lifting’, so manufacturers had a lot to work on. So, pre-rinse???? Mostly. It doesn’t hurt, by the way, to have your dog help out with pre-rinsing.

Some bits of food on the dishes gives the cleaning enzymes something to attach to, so that they stick around and do their job. I generally give the dishes a really quick shower, just to knock off the globs, then let our dogs, Cassie, Lucy, or Auggie do their thing, and this seems to work well.
Another tip: One of the critical things in dishwashers cleaning well is water temperature. Make sure you have hot water at your sink faucet, before you start the dishwasher (you know how long it takes for hot water to show up, if it hasn’t already been running). Next, use the option for “high temp wash”. It may be labeled differently on your dishwasher, but it’s usually pretty obvious. This will not be effective if you didn’t get hot water at the faucet first, but it will make a big difference in how well your dishwasher, well…washes. You may notice it increases the total run time, but it works.

At this point, I need to touch on rinse aid. You know, that extra compartment that you are supposed to (and may or may not) keep filled. In today’s dishwashers it is a critical element. It’s chemical makeup allows the water to “sheet off” the dishes, so that they dry properly. If you’ve had a problem with dishes drying, this would be the first step to solving that issue.

Thanks for taking the time to come to Dishwasher Enlightenment. If your dishwasher needs real help, contact us at Please Lin and Share if you think it might help others.
Rich Johnson
Feb 2017