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In the Kitchen: How to Load a Dishwasher

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Did you know there’s a right way and wrong way to load the dishwasher? It seems simple enough, but by avoiding these common mistakes you can actually save energy and enjoy cleaner dishes.

First off, skip the pre-wash. You don’t need to rinse dishes in the sink—that wastes time and water. Just scrape off any food and load them in the dishwasher.

Plates go on the bottom rack facing the middle. If they lean, they should lean forward with the tops of the plates angled down. Pans go on the bottom too. Just make sure all soiled surfaces of pots, pans and plates are facing down with no obstructions between the mess and the sprayer that cleans the mess.

Cutlery goes in the basket. All baskets are different, but in general you don’t want the spoons to spoon each other and prevent the suds from doing their job. Take advantage of spacers to split up the cutlery, or flip every other spoon and fork top-to-bottom so one handle is up and the next handle is down.

The top rack is for glasses, mugs, bowls and plastics. Again, they should be facing down so the spray arms have a clean shot at dirty surfaces from underneath. Place glasses, bowls and mugs at an angle to prevent water from pooling on them. Secure plastics so they don’t flip over or fall through the cracks.

Remember, when it comes to saving water, energy and money: Full loads are best, but overloads are a mess.

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