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Is there a “best way” to load a dishwasher?

Apparently there is! According to experts, how you load your dishwasher affects not only the cleanliness of your dishes, but the longevity of your dishwasher too.

Have you every removed dishes to find they are still dirty? Washing dishes by hand after they’ve been through the dishwasher (or repeating the cycle) is a waste of time and energy.

Follow these simple tips for loading the dishwasher the “best way.”

Plates and bowls

Plates and bowls

It might seem obvious, if the water can’t get between the plates or bowls, the dishwasher can’t clean them. Stack plates on the bottom tray leaning towards the centre and tilting downwards to make the most of the jets of water during the cycle.

Small bowls are best stacked on the top tray, facing downwards, and larger, shallower bowls need to have a gap between them for water to get through, especially if stacked with plates.  

Plastic and wood

Plastic and wood

Wood doesn’t belong in a dishwasher, so it’s best to wash wooden chopping boards, bowls and handles by hand. Plastic should never go on the bottom tray as there is a risk of it melting if it’s too close to the heating element.



Cutlery should be loaded into the cutlery basket with handles down. Sharp knives should be washed by hand, as the dishwasher will eventually dull the blade. Large knives like carving knives or bread knives, and other long utensils, should be placed on the top shelf.

Glasses, mugs and wine glasses


Glasses and mugs are easy to stack on the top shelf. Wine glasses can usually go in the dishwasher, but are best loaded on the plastic safety rack to avoid breakages. If you have crystal glassware, gold rims or hand painted ceramics, check that they are dishwasher safe before loading.

Other considerations

The important thing to remember when loading your dishwasher is that the dishwasher arms and jets need to move freely, even when the dishwasher is full, and the water needs reach all the surfaces. Certain food types are just tricky to remove, for example dried egg, cereal, or peanut butter.

You don’t need to rinse everything before loading the dishwasher, but it will save you time and energy if you rinse dishes with hard-to-clean foods on them before they dry.

 If you’re loading your dishwasher correctly and items are still coming out dirty or cloudy, check the filter at the bottom of the machine. This is not a fun job, but it’s always surprising how much food gets stuck down there.

Give this a good scrub and run the dishwasher empty for a deep clean. Still having trouble with your dishwasher? Call us at Nationwide Appliances for help.


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