Loading Your Dishwasher
Here are some easy tips for loading your dishwasher to make sure that your dishes will come out as clean as possible. With newer models it is not necessary to pre-rinse the plates and other washables. The exception to this would be if you only run the dishwasher after several days rather than daily. The plates should be loaded facing the sprayer in the middle of the appliance for best results. Do not let any dishes rest horizontally in the bottom shelf as it will keep the water from reaching the top shelf.
When loading knives, load them with the point down or lying flat on the upper shelf. This will make sure that you do not incur an injury when unloading. Flatware should be loaded with the handles down and do not let silver plate flatware touch stainless steel.
Glassware should be loaded on the top rack. If you notice cloudy glassware, you might be able to remove the cloudiness by running the dishwasher until the main wash cycle is going. Stop the dishwasher, open the door and add 2 cups of white vinegar into the bottom. If the glassware comes out still cloudy, it it probably etched. Etching is a problem that also happens to hard surfaces like marble and once your glasses are etched, they cannot be repaired.
What to Load on the Top Shelf of the Dishwasher
Plastics should be double checked to be sure they are dishwasher safe. If they are, then they should be located on the top shelf. Drinking glasses also normally go on top.
It is not a good idea to stuff your dishwasher as it just cannot do as good a job when things are smashed together. Instead (think Thanksgiving!) either do the left over dishes by hand or wait and run a second load.
Clean Inside the Dishwasher Regularly
You want to keep your dishwasher running smoothly for many years. Clean the inside quarterly. Use white vinegar to wipe the gasket around the door. This will keep it clean and supple. Remove the bottom rack. Check for and remove any food bits or other detritus. Use either a cup of white vinegar or a cup of Tang (the favorite beverage of the Astronauts) in the bottom of the unit and run a full cycle.
Editor’s Note: We originally published this article in June 2014. We have edited it for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.