23 of the Worst Dishwasher Mistakes

  1. Not knowing when to use the top or bottom rack
    You may not have realized, but where you place your dishes is incredibly important. Fragile items like glassware, plastic tableware, and utensils could warp or melt on the dishwasher’s bottom rack. Instead, these need to be stacked up top. Save the bottom rack for your heavy-duty pots, pans, plates, and silverware.
  2. Placing spatulas and big utensils in the cutlery basket
    Large utensils move around a lot during a wash cycle, potentially impeding jets and causing uneven washing – resulting in some dishes staying dirty. If you don’t have a drawer for utensils in your dishwasher, always lay them flat on the top shelf for the best results.
  3. Not unloading the right way
    Now that you know it’s important to place cups and bowls on the top rack of your dishwasher, be sure to remove those last when the cycle has finished. Water (which normally includes sediment and leftover detergent) often pools on the tops of bowls and glasses and you don’t want to splash that all over your clean dry dishes below.
  4. Loading bulky items next to the door
    Most dishwashers’ soap compartments are located on the front door, so baking trays, cutting boards, or other large items can block soap from dispensing evenly throughout your wash, for best results always stack them towards the sides and leave the front clear.
  5. Blocking the sprayer
    In fact, loading large items like oven trays and cookie sheets anywhere inside can prevent the full movement of your dishwasher’s sprayer arm if they’re in the wrong place. If the sprayer arm can’t move properly then the dirt isn’t going anywhere and your items won’t be cleaned. To prevent this, before you shut the door on your dishwasher each time, be sure to rotate the arm inside to make sure it doesn’t get stuck on tall items. If it does, move them further back or out of the way so that the sprayer arm has a full range of motion before you start your next cycle.
    Dishwasher Net

    Dishwasher Net

    Hook this net over loose items in the dishwasher to stop them moving around during the cycle
  6. Putting in items you definitely shouldn’t
    Some things just aren’t made to withstand the high temperatures and aggressive water flow inside a dishwasher. Wood, splits and cracks, and cast-iron and copper pans will not just be damaged themselves but can damage other dishes too. Delicate glassware and your best knives are also a big no-no in the dishwasher. If you want to protect your possessions and your dishwasher, check out the full list of items that should never go in a dishwasher with the full post here.
    RELATED: 13 Things You Should Never Clean in a Dishwasher
  7. Selecting the wrong cycle
    Dishwashers have come a long way. Now, just like your washing machine, most dishwashers will have a number of preset programs. These range from the quick wash, to a gentle cycle for your glassware, or a longer, higher temperature power wash for that seriously dirty cookware or baked-on stains. Be sure to select the right one for your needs or you won’t get the results you want. For instance, plastics might require a different drying cycle and a rinse cycle usually doesn’t include drying at all.
  8. Using the cheapest detergent
    While you might feel a bit extra picking the fancy dishwasher detergent off the shelf, it seems that those who splash out might be onto something. The added ingredients in the more complex detergents are specially designed to be kind to your dishwasher and help it to clean better than the basic ones.
    Natural Dishwasher Pods

    Natural Dishwasher Pods

    This detergent will leave dishes and glasses superbly clean and without residue

    Just be sure to keep them in a safe place away from children
  9. Not reading the manual
    Obviously, you no longer remember where you put the paper manual when you were installing your dishwasher. But luckily, most manuals can now be found online with a quick search of your model. Take a few minutes to read the manufacturer’s guide and it will show you the best way to load it and explain all the cycles, plus give basic troubleshooting before you pay that expensive call-out fee for the repairman.
  10. Not teaching others the right way to use the dishwasher
    You want family members to be as self-reliant as possible, so get them into good habits by making sure they also know the right way to stack the dishwasher so they can help out.
  11. Using homemade dishwasher tablets
    We’ve all seen those zero waste tutorials that show you how to make dishwasher tablets from baking soda at home. However, let us save you some time on Pinterest if you haven’t tried one yet by saying that they generally suck. The main ingredient in DIY dishwasher tablets is usually baking soda, and whilst baking soda is great for gentle cleaning and neutralizing bad odors, it’s not strong enough for tough cleaning on dishes and pans.

Now you know what not to do, you can officially call yourself a tenth dan dishwasher master.


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