Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Jan 13, 2009 08:55 PM

Loading the there rules?

I didn't know there were rules and a stacking chain of command to the dishwasher..who wrote that book..
I like to stack on my own set of rules..

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. hiya beach chick. happy new year! (have any fun with the "captain"? ;-).

    my mom definitely has rules, including pre-rinsing (by hand, of course) and a "no heat" dry with dish-towel-dabbing of the water from coffee cup bottoms and other water "retainers."

    my only two rules are: fit in the items efficiently, and don't block the water distribution spout on the top.

    from your query, it sounds as if someone has taken issue with your technique. but, let me assure you, i am a laissez-faire dishwasher stacker***..... so, you go ahead and stack any old way your little heart desires!

    and, say hello to the captain for me, will ya? {;^D.

    *** i have had to educate mr. alka, however, on what "efficiently" "looks like". he is learning. i'm so proud!!!

    18 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      ha my mum also has rules about dishwasher stacking and gets very upset if it is not perfect (for her)! Silverware (cutlery) has to be pointing upwards, plates must all be sized and only cups and glasses at the top.

      1. re: smartie

        Pointing upwards ?????

        I was traumatized as an eight year old by a story in the news of a mother who fell on her dishwasher and was killed by upward pointing knives and forks. I kid you not. It scarred me, and I could no more put in cutlery pointing up than put my cat in the dishwasher :)

        1. re: DGresh

          knives and forks get stuck in the basket tines down, damaging the tine alignment and the knife tip (if it is sharp). but, if you're scared to fall on upward-directed ones....

          i am careful unloading the cutlery basket when knives are present, though.

          1. re: alkapal

            I was always taught that sharp knives were not to go into the dishwasher; they must be washed by hand. I can't say I follow this rule, but I do typically wash my cutting knives by hand.

            1. re: queencru

              i only put in cheapo stainless steel blades. anything with carbon i wash by hand.

      2. re: alkapal

        Hi alkapal!
        Maybe my problem is not enough Captain.. ; )

        Friends always bust my huevos for how I load the dishwasher...if I want to go sideways with a plate..if I want to mix the silverware up and not have some order to it..let it rules!
        I find my creative style, unique..gets the job done and doesn't block the water flow..
        I did find that the gel detergent doesn't do the trick..leaves a milky, yukky residue...
        its the powder stuff that works the best..

        1. re: Beach Chick

          yeah, i'm a powder-girl, too. mom likes the capsules, though.

          your friends gripe about how you load your *own* dishwasher? geesh! let THEM do it! ha!

          1. re: Beach Chick

            I agree that powder works best. Additionally, I use vinegar as the rinse aid....

            1. re: OCAnn

              i have to pour mine in the bottom right corner of the dishwasher's floor, as the dispenser cup has never properly released, leaving gooey edges of detergent (which wasn't helping to clean the dishware).

              1. re: OCAnn

                do you use the vinegar vs. the coveted Jet Dry..or do you just add a splash at the bottom of the dishwasher?

                Anyone use Lime Away to get the hard water deposits out?

                    1. re: alkapal

                      In my FP Dishdrawer, it's called the "rinse agent dispenser."

                        1. re: alkapal

                          The main reason I use vinegar is that we have really hard water where I live. I use it also in my laundry...but when I use it in my dishwasher, I put it in a squeeze bottle for easier for dispensing.

                          Since I haven't used a rinse agent, I don't know how it will compare; so please report back; I'm curious.

            2. re: alkapal

              What is it with the pre-rinsers? Isn't scraping good enough?

              1. re: RGC1982

                i think mom had to do that when she first got a dishwasher some -- what -- 35-40 years ago. old habits.... i don't pre-rinse, though.

                and the "disposal" feature may be standard today, but it wasn't 15-20 years ago. there may've been some disposal-type mechanism, but it wasn't advertised, and it was suggested (i believe) that one remove all the food.

                1. re: alkapal

                  Not all brands have a disposal. Those that do sometimes require cleaning to work effectively. I can't recall where I read it but someone said a general scraping of the dishes will do the trick. Having said that, I have a friend who will PACK the dishwasher and only run it when every available slot has been filled (once every 10 days for the two of them). I couldn't imagine not pre-rinsing in that case!

                  If you live in a home with a septic system, you should generally not put too many solids in the system. Grease tends to prohibit the natural decomposition process and could wreck the system.

            3. It depends somewhat on the dishwasher, but in many (like ours) it's best to put reusable plastic containers (especially those 1 qt deli containers, if you reuse them) on the top shelf, as the drying element at the bottom gets VERY hot and can melt them if they're placed on the lower shelf.

              Beyond that it's just common sense - arrange things so that nothing is blocking the flow of water to anything else, and keep in mind that during the cleaning cycle dishes may rattle around a bit so don't put anything heavy too close to a fragile item. Over time you'll discover what positioning of glassware etc works best in your machine.

              1. I saw this post title and just had to chuckle. When SO and I moved in together (a milennia ago), he got very annoyed with how I loaded the silverware. He insisted that all the knives went together in one basket, forks in another, spoons in another... I thought he was crazy until he showed me how simple it was to just take a handful out of the DW and plop it in the cutlery tray. No sorting!

                2 Replies
                1. re: mojoeater

                  Well, you either sort as they go in or sort as they come out. Same amount of work. Frankly I would think that putting all the spoons together would increase the chance of them nesting together like...well, spoons, so that they don't all get cleaned properly. But hey, whatever works for you.

                  1. re: BobB

                    Actually, none of the silverware goes in at the same time. I generally rinse each place setting as we go and put them in the DW. Then we run it about once a week.

                    I've found that our DW moves the silverware around a lot during the wash cycle, so they all get clean.

                2. Of course you can go by your own rules, but the manual that came with the machine gave instructions on how to best fill it. The reasons are to preserve your dishes, glassware, etc.; to aid in getting everything as clean as possible; to load as fully as possible to maximize efficiency.
                  One thing I noticed my wife used to do was to put the glasses over the pins, yet they properly go between the pins. Straightened that out right away. : )

                  17 Replies
                    1. re: AHan

                      Ditto on the manual thing. I figure they know how their machine works best. My basic rules are make sure everything is accessible to the spray and that things in the top rack can't knock together and break. I do have a tendency to put things that horrify other people like knives and wineglasses in there because I hate to wash dishes, period. Never my cast iron, though

                      For the record, I have also put our Crocs and my daughter's Barbie car through the dishwasher and they came out beautifully.

                      1. re: Whosyerkitty

                        whosyerkitty, "have also put our Crocs and my daughter's Barbie car through the dishwasher and they came out beautifull"

                        -- question for ya: was that at the same time you had the foil-wrapped salmon in the dishwasher to cook? ;-).

                        1. re: alkapal

                          Uh, no. It was the chicken breast and it too came out beautifully if a bit too aromatic.

                          1. re: alkapal

                   can cook in a dishwasher too?
                            Virgo girl

                            1. re: Beach Chick

                              Vincent Price wrote a cookbook which included a recipe for fish made in the dishwasher...

                              1. re: Caralien

                                It makes sense if you think about it - after all, your dishwasher gets everything inside it literally clean enough to eat off of - including its own insides. As long as you remember NOT to add the soap it's like a big boiling/steaming chamber.

                                Of course, why anyone would want to do this when they have a perfectly good stove available is beyond me, but hey, to each his own!

                          2. re: Whosyerkitty

                            Our Kitchenaid does stemware beautifully and has never broken a single one. My favorite thing about it is the built-in disposal, we save a ton of water by just scraping any large scraps off the plates and not having to rinse them before they go in.

                            Where knives are concerned, obviously carbon steel gets washed by hand and dried immediately, but pretty much all our other knives go in the dishwasher. It's more of a threat to wooden handles than to blades, and most of ours have some sort of composite or laminated handles so that's not a problem.

                            1. re: BobB

                              That was what I never understood. The thing is STEEL and you have to sharpen it anyway, so what is the big deal? My wooden handled knives are fine. I also put sponges and the sink plugs in there.

                              1. re: BobB

                                All dishwashers have essentially a built-in disposal, albeit none as strong or durable as a true disposal.

                                1. re: AHan

                                  Sorry. Not true. I'm sure the newer ones all do, but I promise you not all of them do, because mine doesn't. It's old, old, old, though; at least 20 years old.

                                  1. re: lemons

                                    None of my previous ones did, including the one that was in this house when we bought it five years ago, and that one was just a few years old at the time. I did my research and bought the Kitchenaid and have been very pleased with it.

                                    Or maybe they all do in the sense of being able to get rid of really small particles, while this one handles bigger stuff. It's definitely the first one I've ever used where you literally do not need to rinse your dishes and they still come out spotless.

                                    1. re: BobB

                                      My guess is you just didn't know it had one. Virtually all do except Bosch, and have for a very long time. The disposer component has no functionality as to the cleaning process or the need to rinse-- it is only there to aid in the expelling of the solids from the machine. I would be happy to expalin the mechanical process of how a dishwasher works if it would help.

                                      1. re: AHan

                                        No, I'll take your word for it. I guess then that instead of saying I like the disposal feature, I should have gone up a level of abstraction and just said I like how I don't need to rinse the dishes first, regardless of what this one does that makes that possible.

                                        1. re: BobB

                                          I'll give you that. Sorry about the technicality. It is what it is.

                            2. re: AHan

                              I recall in my mom's DW (I don't have one) some glasses being put over the pins and getting broken during the wash cycle. They weren't long enough to rest on the rack, so rocked back and forth on the pin until they broke. Lesson learned.

                            3. The most important rule about the dishwasher is what is not to go in it! My little sister in college shares an apartment with some guys who always put their cheap WalMart cookware in the dishwasher and don't quite understand why her Calphalon doesn't go in too.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mordacity

                                Absolutely! We have some really nice Dansk non-stick cookware and they're practically the only things we hand-wash.