Martha Stewart Living Radio: The Radio Blog

Dishwasher 101 Tips

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As someone who doesn't currently own a dishwasher, I'm extremely envious of those who do. However, dishwashers can cause a lot of strife in a household -- especially if family members have differing opinions on how the dishwasher should be loaded. If you're one of those people who tries to squeeze in every last plate and fork (and then has to rewash half of the contents of the supposedly "clean" dishes afterward), perhaps you should read the tips below from Whirlpool user experience designer Sandra Steward. She kicked off a rip-roaring dishwasher discussion today on Morning Living. Have you tried any of these suggestions
and had success?

Q: What is the best way to load long, flat items like baking sheets?
A: Place cutting boards, cookie sheets and platters along the sides or back of the rack so they don't block water flow, which shoots out from the machine's center.

Q: Do glasses go over tines, or between them?
A: Load glasses between the tines, not over the tines, to keep them secure and to avoid tine marks inside.

Q: What is the best way to load bowls?
A: Small bowls may be loaded so they stand “at attention” in the center row of the top rack. Those in the rear section should face forward and those in the front section should face backward so the center sprayer reaches all of them.

Q: How should silverware be loaded into a dishwasher?
A: Load spoons and forks with some handles up and some down so they don’t nest. Load all knives with handles up. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for sharp prep knives to determine if they are dishwasher-safe.

Q: How much do I have to pre-wash dishes before placing them in the dishwasher?
A: It is not necessary to rinse the dishes before putting them into the dishwasher. Instead, scrape leftover food, bones, toothpicks and other hard items from the dishes. The wash module removes food particles from the water. On most models, the module contains a chopping device which will reduce the size of food items.

Q: Does it matter how much space is between the dishes?
A: Load dishes so they are not stacked or overlapping, if possible. For best drying, water must be able to drain from all surfaces.

Q: How can I load odd-shaped items?
A: Odd-shaped items such as pot lids and handles, pizza pans, cookie sheets, etc., should be loaded so they do not interfere with the spray arm rotation.

Q: How quickly after using dishes do I need to wash them for best results?
A: Run a rinse cycle to keep dishes moist if you do not plan to wash them soon. Foods such as eggs, rice, pasta, spinach and cooked cereals may be hard to remove if they are left to dry over a period of time.

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