Now that we've covered the question of what is dishwasher-safe, I thought I'd move on to an equally important subject: how to load your dishwasher. The task may seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised by how many people earn a capital F in Dishwashing 101- I'm talking to you, roommate. It also may seem like a trivial matter to some of you; as long as you can fit all the dirty plates in, it's OK, right? Err - no. The way you arrange your pots and spoons not only affects how well they're cleaned, but can be a deciding factor in whether they become tarnished, chipped, or even broken. So here's the lowdown on loading:
- Arrange your dishes by height, placing the larger ones on the outside. Turn all of your plates and bowls to face the middle of machine/dish drawer.
- Put wine glasses and other delicate glassware and dishes on the top rack. Face glassware downward if they fit, and leaning diagonally across two rows if not.
- Place small, round cereal bowls face-down on the top rack.
- Put pots, pans, and other heavy-duty dishes (like serving platters) on the bottom rack, where the water pressure and temperature are higher.
- Separate stainless steel and pure silver; if they touch, a chemical reaction can cause pitting and tarnishing.
- Aside from very sharp knives, place silverware in the basket handle-first, so knife blades and fork tines are pointing upward.
- Within each basket, separate knives, forks, and spoons - utensils of the same shape (i.e. two knives) can become stuck and won't be cleaned.
- Make sure there are no large pots or dishes blocking your machine's water source.
- Set your glassware and mugs in the top rows between the prongs, rather than over them.
- On the same note, place all items between the prongs, making sure they don't touch to prevent chipping.
And here's some bonus advice for unloading the dishwasher:
- After the cycle completes, leave the dishwasher open for a few minutes to let it completely air-dry before you unload.
- Unload the silverware first, pulling the caddy out of the dishwasher if possible - this is safer!
- Next, empty the bottom rack, followed by the top rack, which may still have slightly wet dishes, like tall wine glasses.
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