Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stacking the Dishwasher

This is a subject on which a surprising number of people have strong views, most of them differing on some if not all, of the headings below. My husband in particular feels very strongly on the subject, and I tend to disagree with him on most of the topics, my mother in law agrees with him on some, and with me on others.

So, I did some research and this is what I came up with.


Every one knows, at least I hope they do, that you do not put crystal glass in a dishwasher, excessively hot water, and dishwasher soaps, will very quickly cause them to be cloudy and lose their sparkle.

All of the experts emphasize do not overstack the dishwasher, it is less efficient and more likely to cause damage to tableware.  Plus, it has been established by a study at the University of Bonn in Germany, that a modern dishwasher uses up to two thirds less water and less than half the electricity, than washing by hand, so even if you run the dishwasher twice a day, you are still saving a whole lot of water.

Lighter items, such as plastic containers, which might turn over during a wash and fill with water will not only make unloading more difficult, it will cause higher humidity during the drying period and reduce the efficiency of this cycle.


This is something I didn't know, wait till the dishes are cool before unloading as they are more likely to chip if removed when still hot.  Not to mention, if they are too hot you risk dropping them and burning your fingers.

To rinse or not to rinse...

I never owned a dishwasher in the early days when it really was necessary to pre rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. My grandmother had a 1940s dishwasher. She did rinse them carefully before stacking them.

All my research suggests that this is no longer required, particularly if you use a pre-rinse cycle. But, it also indicates that you either have a noisy dishwasher due to the built in grinder for food particles, or you have a filter that needs constant cleaning. As I have neither, I think I will continue to do as my husband prefers and rinse the dishes, at least making sure there are no food particles to block the drain, or build up and cause smell or worse, inside the dishwasher.  However, it seriously reduces the amount of water saved.

Knives, up or down?

This is a sticky subject.  Personally I hate being sliced or stabbed by a sharp knife when loading or unloading a dishwasher. And, for households with small children, it is definitely not a good idea to have sharp knives within reach, and pointing upwards. I always put knives in blade down, my husband is very firmly on the side of blade up.

The general rule for cutlery is to place it handle down, for better cleaning, but everything I have read adds with the 'exception of knives'. To avoid injury some suggest handle up for sharp knives, but another recommends sharp knives should be laid horizontally on the top shelf. I actually do that with large knives, but never thought of it for the smaller sharp ones. I will definitely try that in the future, it seems like a good compromise.

Bowls, top or bottom shelf?

My theory was that if they are above the sprayer on the top shelf, and tilted forward, they will get clean, but won't have standing water when the wash finishes.  My husband prefers bowls to be placed on the lower shelf and standing upright.  He is adamant that they will not hold water, I still reserve judgement on this as I have frequently had to rinse bowls by hand to remove the water stains.  He also insists that all dishes should face towards the sprayer.  I am guessing with earlier dishwashers this was probably the best way to ensure they were properly cleaned, the newer dishwashers are a lot more efficient and most of what I read indicates it is no longer important, however I see no argument against it either.

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