How to perfectly stack a dishwasher

By House and Home 21-02-2011

Ruth Wassel, appliances specialist for Houseworks, gives us her top ten tips for stacking a neat and tidy dishwasher to get optimum results from your machine.

  1. There is no point in jamming your dishwasher with dirty dishes. They won’t clean properly and some items will fill up with water, which in turn hamper the drying process because there is a greater level of humidity.
  2. You don’t always need to rinse your dishes before putting them into the dishwasher, only if something is really stuck to the plate. If you’re having a dinner party and you want, for example, your starter plates, you can rinse the plates and then do a quick wash. Gaggenau dishwashers have a 35 minute wash, as well as a turbo button to speed the wash up, and they are so quiet that a sensor light is fitted to let you know that the machine is on.
  3. I always put the cups, glasses and bowls on top, starting at the back and working towards the front. At the side there is usually a shelf that goes up and down; if you put shorter cups and bowls on the bottom, when you put the shelf down they will fit in on top also. Or you can use this side shelf for longer knives and spatulas.
  4. For wine glasses, you can get dishwashers with a flexible top rack that will go up or down to accommodate tall glasses on the top shelf. Most dishwashers have wine glass prongs.
  5. I always put cutlery in upside down (handle first), as this gives them a better wash. But it might be best to reverse this for sharp knives to avoid accidents when unloading the dishwasher. There are extra racks that you can buy for long or large chopping knives but I usually wash big knives by hand, as it’s not good for them to put them in the dishwasher too often.
  6. In some dishwashers, all the racks on the bottom shelf fold down flat, which is good for saucepans. You could even have half of them flat, at the back, and then stack the plates at the front.
  7. Don’t put glass with a high lead content in your dishwasher, as they get cloudy. Put away your good glasses! You need to be careful with glasses by the likes of Waterford or Jerpoint.
  8. Pottery is very porous; if you stack it after taking it out of the dishwasher while it’s hot it will go mouldy and damp. It will also chip more easily as the clay will be softer. I generally let the dishwasher cool down before unpacking it. If you want it to cool down as quickly as possible, leave the door open.
  9. Try to stack lightweight plastic items so that they won’t get turned over with the force of the water and then get filled up with water.
  10. You can buy dishwasher freshener tablets to put in the cutlery drawer of your machine, or buy a lemon scented freshener that hangs inside the machine. I recommend the salt as well, even though the tablet does a three in one job. It’s very cheap and is good for the runnings of the dishwasher. The dishwasher door gets splashed, so give it a wipe down every now and then. Take out the unscrewable filter regularly and wash it, especially if people don’t scrape their plates well.

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