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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.)

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12 real stories that show why ruthless immigration laws are the wrong move.

Immigration policies that rip families apart are a travesty.


If there's ever been a particularly bad time to be an undocumented immigrant, it's right now.

President Donald Trump, who launched himself into the 2016 presidential race with his support for a multibillion-dollar border wall, has been cracking down on immigration as promised. In addition to tightening border security, he's pledged to remove 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants "immediately." And he appears to be keeping his word.

Deportation is nothing new, but Trump's plans are unprecedented. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

It's a scary climate we're facing, but unfortunately, it's not just Trump and it's not just America. All over the world, people are more concerned with their countries' borders than seemingly ever before.Nations all over Europe, for example, are tightening up immigration rules and/or ramping up deportations themselves.

Amidst all the noise and rhetoric — every "radical Islamic terrorist" attack that gets waved about by politicians with something that eerily resembles pride, every horrific crime committed by white Americans that's met with deafening silence, every press conference faux pas — there are real people and real families being ripped apart in the name of patriotism.

Their stories are terrifying and heart-wrenching, but they're massively important.

1. A DREAMer gave a powerful speech about deportation. Moments later, she was arrested.

Daniela Vargas, who has lived in the U.S. since she was 7 years old, spoke at a news conference in Jackson, Mississippi, about the importance of the DREAM Act, which aims to help immigrant children who have lived in the U.S. for more than five years and graduated high school receive permanent legal status.

After the event, Vargas and a friend were pulled over and arrested by immigration agents.

2. A Sri Lankan student studying in North Wales was saved from deportation only by a last ditch effort hours before her flight.

Shiromini Satkunarajah, an electrical engineering student at Bangor University, was nearly sent back to Sri Lanka earlier this year. Despite having lived in the U.K. since she was 12 and being only three months shy of graduation, Satkunarajah was only allowed to stay after receiving an outpouring of community support.

3. A woman living in Great Britain was sent back to Singapore without being allowed to say goodbye to her husband and two children.

Irene Clennell had lived in the U.K. since 1988 but was abruptly sent back to Singapore after having her indefinite leave to remain revoked. Clennell is married and has two children with her husband but was not afforded the chance to see them one last time.

4. A mom living in Phoenix was sent back to Mexico. Her children would later face Trump as he addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos' children were reportedly in attendance as Trump addressed Congress. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/AFP/Getty Images.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos was sent back to Mexico in January this year for having a criminal record. Her crime? Working under the table to provide for her young children.

5. A beloved restaurant manager in a deep-red town in Illinois was arrested, and now the community is reeling.

Most of the people in West Frankfort, Illinois, voted for Trump. They never thought anything would happen to Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco, the friendly restaurant manager who seemed have done at least one kind deed for everyone in the community. Now, he's been detained by ICE and is currently waiting to find out if he'll be sent back to Mexico.

6. A Kuwaiti man and father of two living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the other hand, was miraculously spared from deportation because it would cause his family too much hardship.

Yousef Ajin has lived in the United States for 18 years with his wife, with whom he has four children. He reportedly met with immigration officers frequently, but on Jan. 30, 2017, he was suddenly detained.

In February, a judge granted a deportation waiver in order to spare Ajin's family from hardship. Many other immigrants aren't so lucky.

7. One man was caught trying to cross the border and returned to Tijuana. He appears to have jumped to his death shortly after.

The man, Guadalupe Olivas Valencia, had reportedly worked in the U.S. before to provide for his family back home before being deported multiple times. Caught trying to enter the country once again, he seemingly decided jumping from a bridge was his only option.

8. A single mother in California was sent back to Mexico, leaving her two young children in peril.

Photo by Jose Cabezas/AFP/Getty Images.

On Feb. 7, María Robles-Rodríguez was nabbed by U.S. Border Patrol and sent back to Mexico, leaving her twin 18-year-old daughters to fend for themselves.

9. Gay men being deported from Britain to Afghanistan are being told to pretend they're straight.

The British government's advice to gay men being sent home to Afghanistan, where they can be freely persecuted for their sexual orientation? Just don't act gay and everything will be fine!

Seriously.

10. Jose Escobar was detained after a routine meeting with immigration officers. He's a husband and father of three.

Escobar, who has lived in the United States for 16 years, had a deportation scare a few years back but was told he'd be safe if he checked in with immigration agents every year. Only this year, an agent reportedly told his wife, "We're just doing what President Trump wants us to do with the new rules."

Escobar will likely soon be deported.

11. A Mexican man living in Idaho was deported. His wife and the mother of his children could be next.

Tomas Copado ran his own auto body shop in Idaho Falls until he was sent back to Mexico earlier this year. His wife, for the sake of their children, recently had her own deportation deferred.

For now.

12. Some undocumented immigrants may be deported to Mexico even if they're not from there.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

According to several reports, the Department of Homeland Security plans to send anyone who crosses illegally over the southern border of the U.S. back to Mexico, even though they may be citizens of another country.

Needless to say, this is horrendous and possibly in violation of international law.

Statue of LibertyPhoto by Guzmán Barquín on Unsplash

Every modern nation needs smart, empathetic paths to citizenship. Any immigration policy that tramples on human rights and rips families apart is a travesty.

It's time to bust the narrative that foreigners primarily come to our country — or any country — to do harm. They come mostly to find opportunity, to escape persecution, or to be with family.

If we can't come to see them as human beings rather than inanimate outsiders, finding the money to pay for a giant wall will be the very least of our problems.


This article originally appeared on 03.02.17

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