I’m about to save your family relationships.
I know, above and beyond the duties of your friendly neighborhood Realtor, but it’s what I do for You!!
Yes, there IS a right way to load a dishwasher.
Best practice is to look up your machine’s brand online, but the below instructions will work for most machines.
Silverware: knives go in blade down. Each basket should hold a combination of forks, knives and spoons. Failure to vary the contents of the basket will make it more likely that items will nest together and not come clean. This is why the all-knives, all-forks, all-spoons approach, while making it easy to unload, is not effective. Some washers do better if you alternate loading so that some forks and spoons are loaded handle down and others handle up. Carving knives and wooden handled silverware should be hand-washed.
Plates: Load back to front, bottom of the dishwasher unless you have a machine with a deep top rack and a dedicated top rack rinsing arm, dirty side the plate facing water spray. For most machines, this will mean half the plates facing one direction and the other half facing the opposite direction. Rinsing IS recommended if you are not starting a cycle soon, or if you don’t have a dog ?. Rinse and hold will work as well. Or you could just get a dog. Saucers and dessert plates are grouped together in a similar configuration. In newer machines, smaller plates can be loaded in a way that overlaps on the edges with larger plates as long as the plates aren’t nested together. It is also possible in newer machines to load an entire row of plates diagonally.
Pots and pans: Many machines have tines that will lay flat for easier loading of pots and pans. Trays and cutting boards can be slid into the sides and even behind the silverware basket. Machines with pot scrubber settings will not require pots and pans to be soaked, just scraped before loading.
Glasses and mugs always are loaded in the top rack, mugs on the outermost rows. Glasses go between tines, not over tines. Wine glasses are intended to fit in the basket grid in the top rack. In the absence of a stemware fitting, much of your stemware – especially champagne flutes, will be hand-wash items.
Bowls: large bowls go on the bottom rack, and can be loaded over the top of small plates; soup bowls on the top rack, angled face down.
Plastic and larger utensils that don’t fit in the silverware basket go in the top rack as well to prevent melting.
Avoid placing trays in front of the bottom rack – it will block the soap dispenser. Long utensils in a silverware basket can block the spray arm, give it a spin before closing the machine.
Do not overload. I know. It’s hard to fight the temptation.
Lastly, run the disposal before running the dishwasher – every time!