Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ending Dish Drama

My husband and I have argued about this since the day we got married. Can you please share with us the proper way to load a dishwasher?
Frustrated Housewife, Vancouver

Dear Frustrated Housewife,
I know exactly what you're talking about! We had that same argument in my household when I was a kid, and it was only resolved when I became a Butler and learned the correct way! Here are nine golden rules that work no matter what type of dishwasher you have.

1. For the cleaning cycle to work correctly, water needs to be able to circulate around all of th dishes.
2. Overcrowding is the most common problem.
3. Rinse dishes before loading them.
4. Use racks for their intended purpose i.e. glassware on the top rack.
5. Items requiring more robust cleaning should be placed on the bottom rack.
6. Always use the the amount of soap recommended by the manufacturer.
7. Always use a rinse aid. This really does help keep the dishes spotless (no gimmick here, I promise!)
8. If your dishwasher has a salt dispenser check to see if you have hard or soft water in your area. The harder your water the increased chances that you will need salt in the dishwasher to avoid residue buildup.
9. If your dishwasher isn't full. don't run a full cycle. Run the 10-minute rinse cycle. This will rinse your dirty dishes and you can continue to fill the dishwasher until you have a full load.

How to Load the Dishwasher:
Loading dishes with room around them allows for the water to circulate and clean them.

How Not to Load the Dishwasher:
Overcrowding prevents the water from circulating around all of the dishes, a main reason for dirty dishes at the end of the cleaning cycle.


  1. I have to disagree on using the suggested amount of detergent recommended by the manufacturer. I have almost always found this to be too much detergent and service providers tend to agree. I usually use half the recommended amount and adjust accordingly--of course, this is a trained, nuanced appreciation I have for the amount, some people may not notice. But if you're finding residue on your glasses particularly, it's likely due to too much detergent.

    And water-softening salts can be difficult to find, but I found Finish to be pretty reliable. It is not a rinse agent per se, so you will also need to use one, but cut back on the quantities.

    Also, load the dishwasher from the back to the front--this prevents likely accidents, particularly when stemware to in the top shelf.

  2. Dear Joseph The Butler,

    Thank you for your comments above, I think you have some excellent points! Interestingly enough I have waffled on the amount of soap to use, either in the dishwasher or washing machine for that matter.

    My personal opinion is generally "less is more" however where the dishwasher is concerned, because I don't generally rinse dishes I find the extra soap is required.

    But more importantly thank you for participating in this forum, I think you have some very valuable suggestions, please always feel free to voice your opinion here.

    Kind regards,
    Charles the Butler