Dishwashers are a convenient appliance that can save up to 230 hours of hand washing time per year, according to Consumer Reports. However, this valuable time is not put to good use if homeowners are constantly re-washing dishes after the dishwasher is finished. One new development in dishwashers that addresses the need to pre-rinse or wash-later is a soil sensor. This device senses how much food is left on the place settings. If you pre-rinse too well, the soil sensor won't add as much detergent or water to remove the stuck-on food. With this new device, homeowners can increase the efficiency of their dishwasher by not taking time to pre-rinse dishes. Another step that homeowners can take to utilize their dishwasher to its fullest potential is to place dishes in the best location for each dish.
Although married couples have argued for decades about how to properly load a washer, Consumer Reports has tips for the best location of each dish.
Cups, Bowls, Glasses and Dishwasher Safe Plastic
Put these dishes on the top rack. The plastic in particular needs to be located up high and away from the heating element in order to prevent warping due to the heat.
Most dishwashers have an obvious location for silverware. However, the orientation of the silverware has been an object of debate for years. Consumer Reports recommends places forks and spoons with the handles facing down. However, small knives should have the sharp part pointed down. Although it's tempting to categorize each area by spoon, knife or fork, Consumer Reports recommends mixing up the silverware types because this prevents "nesting." If you've ever had three spoons stick together and the middle one come out dirty, you've been a victim of "nesting."
Plates and Serving Bowls
A good location for these dishes is the bottom rack.
Platters and Cutting Boards
These also belong on the bottom rack but should be placed toward the edges. A large cutting board can block the sprayer if it's located in the center of the bottom rack.
Aluminum and Stainless Steel Pots
Check the manufacturer's label before putting these in the dishwasher, but they are generally okay.
Non-Stick Pans and Big Kitchen Knives
Although these can typically be placed in the dishwasher, these items last longer if washed by hand. The chemicals and heat are rough on big kitchen knives. Even dishwasher-safe non-stick pans may keep their coating longer if you wash them carefully by hand.
Brass, bronze, wood and china dishes should also stay out of the dishwasher. Although many of these material types are not common anymore, wooden cutting boards are still popular. These wooden boards can expand and fracture in the harsh environment of the dishwasher. Fractures in the board can become a health hazard because microorganisms tend to congregate there. Even though it will use some valuable time, it's worth handwashing those beautiful wood cutting boards.
Knowing what dishes to put in your dishwasher and the best location for each can help maximize the efficiency of your dishwasher.
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