+
upworthy
Education

Yes, there is actually a best way to load a dishwasher

This info could save many a relationship.

dishwasher, dishes
Photo by Wendelin Jacober via Canva

Best practices for loading a dishwasher can end the dishwasher wars.

There are two types of people in this world—people who care about how the dishwasher gets loaded and those who don't, and never the twain shall meet.

Those who do care are frequently driven bonkers by those who don't, as well as by their fellow carers who disagree on the proper methodology. Dishwasher loading is serious business for those who care, and many a ladle has been raised in exasperation at those who load the dishwasher "wrong"—as if there were a definitive "right" way to do it.

There's a difference between "right" and "best," of course. Everyone thinks their way is right, but that's a completely subjective judgment. There really are some best practices, however, based on manufacturer tips and experts who test dishwashers for consumer rankings lists.


One caveat: There are different reasons why people load the dishwasher in certain ways due to how their kitchen is set up and for efficiency of unloading, so there may be specific practices that aren't addressed here. For example, someone might always load their glasses on the left side of the dishwasher and their bowls on the right because the glasses cabinet is to the left of the dishwasher while the bowls cabinet is to the right of it. What's "best" at that level of detail will differ, so defer to the resident person-who-cares in each kitchen.

One more caveat: Always check manufacturer recommendations first. Some dishwashers may have features that require loading a certain way to work the way they should.

Generally, however, these best practices apply across the board:

1. Don't pre-rinse, just scrape off chunks of food.

Getting controversial right outta the gate here, but unless your dishwasher genuinely doesn't work right, you don't need to rinse food residue off dishes before loading. We had an old dishwasher that basically just sanitized the dishes but didn't clean them, so we spent years rinsing, but that was simply a case of needing a new dishwasher. Once we got one we learned that it's actually better to not rinse dishes first. Pre-rinsing not only wastes water and time, but it may actually make your dishwasher's performanceworse. Newer dishwashers have sensors that detect how dirty dishes are, so if you rinse too well you may fool the dishwasher into thinking the dishes aren't really dirty.

2. Cups and bowls upside down, plates facing the center.

Loading cups and bowls face down might seem like a no-brainer for most, but there are people who don't understand how a dishwasher washes. Water sprays upward from underneath each rack, so if you want the inside of cups and bowls to get as clean as possible, they need to be facing down. They'll also get filled with water if they're not upside down.

Everything should be facing or angled toward the center of the dishwasher, as water sprays from the center out. Yes, plates look more uniform when they all face the same direction, so this might be hard for the visually fastidious among us, but facing center makes for the most effective cleaning.

3. Plastics on top rack only, and only if labeled dishwasher-safe.

The top rack of the dishwasher doesn't get as hot as the bottom, and plastics can melt. Even if there's no visible melting, high temps can cause potentially harmful chemicals to leach out of plastic dishware and containers, so look for labels that say "dishwasher safe" and only place plastic items on the top rack. (Or wash by hand, which is recommended for plastics that aren't labeled as BPA-free.)

4. The great silverware directional debate settled, sort of.

Some new dishwashers have a flat rack for silverware on top, which eliminates the question of what direction they should face. For the traditional vertical baskets, there are various schools of thought. Some people put all the knives together, forks together, spoons together, etc. for ease of unloading. And then there's the handles up or handles down question.

Consumer Reports, which tests dishwashers, recommends placing spoons and forks handles down and sharp objects such as knives handles up. It also recommends mixing different types of silverware in each basket. Total chaos, I know.

The handles-up method makes for quicker and more sanitary unloading, it's true. But placing silverware handles down allows more space between the eating ends and mixing them up prevents nesting, both of which help them get cleaned better. Just make sure whoever is unloading has clean hands when they're grabbing the silverware by the eating ends and all will be well.

5. Don't overload.

This may also seem like an obvious statement, but again, you'd be surprised. The key here is to visualize the sprayers and where the water is going to reach inside the dishwasher. If bowls are stacked on top of each other, even loosely, the water won't reach inside the ones on top. One layer of dishes with a bit of space between each item—not a lot, just a little—will ensure that water can reach in and around every piece and will keep glass and ceramics from getting chipped or broken.

Give the top rack sprayer a manual spin with both racks pushed in before closing the lid as well. Stuff that's too tall on the bottom rack will stop the sprayer from spinning, which will inhibit its ability to clean the top rack.

6. Load back to front.

This best practice is particularly important if you are loading the dishwasher gradually throughout the day. It's easier to open the dishwasher a crack and place a glass or bowl in the front of the rack, but you'll save yourself a lot of guesswork about how full the dishwasher is if you train your household to start at the back and move forward. You'll also save yourself a bunch of rearranging before running.

7. Listen to people's reasons for loading certain ways and stay open to new ideas.

Beyond the basics listed here, there are all kinds of individual preferences for loading a dishwasher, some of which are simply habit and some of which are based on logic and reason. With the exception of the vertical silverware mix-up, it makes sense to put cups or dishes that go in the same cabinet together in the dishwasher, for instance. And there are ways to place your household's unique dishware most efficiently for space, so asking the resident person-who-cares for their recommendation isn't a bad idea.

Having some basic ground rules for dishwasher loading is helpful to avoid kitchen conflict, but so is being open to sharing ideas and learning from one another. With a little humility, we can put the ladles down and end the dishwasher wars once and for all. (Unless someone tries to cook a steak in the dishwasher, in which case bring on the battle.)

A young woman drinking bottled water outdoors before exercising.



The Story of Bottled Waterwww.youtube.com

Here are six facts from the video above by The Story of Stuff Project that I'll definitely remember next time I'm tempted to buy bottled water.

1. Bottled water is more expensive than tap water (and not just a little).

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube


A Business Insider column noted that two-thirds of the bottled water sold in the United States is in individual 16.9-ounce bottles, which comes out to roughly $7.50 per gallon. That's about 2,000 times higher than the cost of a gallon of tap water.

And in an article in 20 Something Finance, G.E. Miller investigated the cost of bottled versus tap water for himself. He found that he could fill 4,787 20-ounce bottles with tap water for only $2.10! So if he paid $1 for a bottled water, he'd be paying 2,279 times the cost of tap.

2. Bottled water could potentially be of lower quality than tap water.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Does your period pain feel ‘as bad as a heart attack’? You’re not imagining it

Some women experience debilitating period cramps, but the medical community isn't helping.

You’re not alone.

Here's an article to send to every jerk in your life who denied you the right to complain about your period cramps: A medical expert says that some women experience menstruation pains that are "almost as bad as having a heart attack." John Guillebaud, who is a professor of reproductive health at University College London, spoke to Quartz on the subject, and said that the medical community has long ignored what can be a debilitating affliction, because it's a problem that mostly inconveniences women.

"I think it happens with both genders of doctor," Guillebaud told Quartz. "On the one hand, men don't suffer the pain and underestimate how much it is or can be in some women. But I think some women doctors can be a bit unsympathetic because either they don't get it themselves or if they do get it they think, 'Well I can live with it, so can my patient.'"

Keep ReadingShow less
@jac.rsoe8/TikTok

Some dads just get it.

There’s no shortage of stories out there showing how emotionally distant or out of touch some baby boomers can be. Younger generations are so fed up with it that they have their own catchphrase of frustration, for crying out loud.

The disconnect becomes especially visible in parenting styles. Boomers, who grew up with starkly different views on empathy, trauma and seeking help, have a reputation for being less than ideal support systems for their children when it comes to emotional issues.

But even if they often have a different way of showing it, boomer parents do have love for their children, and many try their best to be a source of comfort in some way when their kid suffers.

Occupational therapist Jacqueline (@jac.rose8) recently shared a lovely example of this by posting a video of her boomer dad helping her through a divorce in the best way he knew how.

Turns out, it was the perfect thing.

Keep ReadingShow less

A semicolon tattoo

Have you seen anyone with a semicolon tattoo like the one above?

If not, you may not be looking close enough. They're popping up...
Keep ReadingShow less
Family

A letter to the woman who told me to stay in my daughter's life after seeing my skin.

'I'm not a shiny unicorn. There are plenty of black men like me who love fatherhood.'

Doyin Richards

Dad and daughters take a walk through Disneyland.

True
Fathers Everywhere

To a stranger I met at a coffee shop a few years ago who introduced me to what my life as a parent would be like:

My "welcome to black fatherhood moment" happened five years ago, and I remember it like it happened yesterday.

I doubt you'll remember it, though — so let me refresh your memory.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

Single mom perfectly explains to Congress why the U.S. poverty line needs a total rehaul

"I'm not asking you to apologize for your privilege but I'm asking you to see past it."

Photo by Ev on Unsplash

Nearly 12 percent of the U.S. population lives in poverty. That's more than one in ten Americans—and the percent is even higher for children.

If you're not up on the current numbers, the federal poverty line is $12,760 for an individuals and $26,200 for a family of four. If those annual incomes sound abysmally low, it's because they are. And incredibly, the Trump administration has proposed lowering the poverty line further, which would make more poor Americans ineligible for needed assistance.

Keep ReadingShow less