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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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10 anti-holiday recipes that prove the season can be tasty and healthy

Balance out heavy holiday eating with some lighter—but still delicious—fare.

Albertson's

Lighten your calorie load with some delicious, nutritious food between big holiday meals.

True

The holiday season has arrived with its cozy vibe, joyous celebrations and inevitable indulgences. From Thanksgiving feasts to Christmas cookie exchanges to Aunt Eva’s irresistible jelly donuts—not to mention leftover Halloween candy still lingering—fall and winter can feel like a non-stop gorge fest.

Total resistance is fairly futile—let’s be real—so it’s helpful to arm yourself with ways to mitigate the effects of eating-all-the-things around the holidays. Serving smaller amounts of rich, celebratory foods and focusing on slowly savoring the taste is one way. Another is to counteract those holiday calorie-bomb meals with some lighter fare in between.

Contrary to popular belief, eating “light” doesn’t have to be tasteless, boring or unsatisfying. And contrary to common practice, meals don’t have to fill an entire plate—especially when we’re trying to balance out heavy holiday eating.

It is possible to enjoy the bounties of the season while maintaining a healthy balance. Whether you prefer to eat low-carb or plant-based or gluten-free or everything under the sun, we’ve got you covered with these 10 easy, low-calorie meals from across the dietary spectrum.

Each of these recipes has less than 600 calories (most a lot less) per serving and can be made in less than 30 minutes. And Albertsons has made it easy to find O Organics® ingredients you can put right in your shopping cart to make prepping these meals even simpler.

Enjoy!

eggs and green veggies in a skillet, plate of baconNot quite green eggs and ham, but closeAlbertsons

Breakfast Skillet of Greens, Eggs & Ham

273 calories | 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 (5 oz) pkg baby spinach

2 eggs

1 clove garlic

4 slices prosciutto

1/2 medium yellow onion

1 medium zucchini squash

1/8 cup butter, unsalted

1 pinch crushed red pepper

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

bow of cauliflower ham saladGet your cauliflower power on.Albertsons

Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Ham, Celery & Dill

345 calories | 20 minutes

1/2 medium head cauliflower

1 stick celery

1/4 small bunch fresh dill

8 oz. ham steak, boneless

1/2 shallot

1/4 tspblack pepper

1/4 tsp curry powder

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp garlic powder

3 Tbsp mayonnaise

1/8 tsp paprika

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

tofu on skewers on a plate with coleslawPlant-based food fan? This combo looks yums. Albertsons

Grilled Chili Tofu Skewers with Ranch Cabbage, Apple & Cucumber Slaw

568 calories | 20 minutes

1 avocado

1/2 English cucumber

1 (12 oz.) package extra firm tofu

1 Granny Smith apple

3 Tbsp (45 ml) Ranch dressing

1/2 (14 oz bag) shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)

2 tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

frittata in a cast iron skilletSometimes you just gotta frittata.Albertsons

Bell Pepper, Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata with Parmesan

513 calories | 25 minutes

6 eggs

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

2 oz Parmesan cheese

1 red bell pepper

1/2 medium red onion

8 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with slices of grilled chicken and a caprese saladCaprese, if you please.Albertsons

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Classic Caprese Salad

509 calories | 25 minutes

3/4 lb chicken breasts, boneless skinless

1/2 small pkg fresh basil

1/2 (8 oz pkg) fresh mozzarella cheese

1 clove garlic

3 tomatoes

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 3/4 pinches black pepper

1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

four stuffed mushrooms on a plateThese mushrooms look positively poppable.Albertsons

Warm Goat Cheese, Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

187 calories | 35 minutes

1/2 lb cremini mushrooms

1 clove garlic

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

2 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1 1/4 pinches crushed red pepper

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with open English muffin with goat cheese and sliced baby tomatoes on topMove over, avocado toast. English muffin pizzas have arrived.Albertsons

English Muffin Pizzas with Basil Pesto, Goat Cheese & Tomatoes

327 calories | 10 minutes

3 Tbsp (45 ml) basil pesto

2 English muffins

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/2 pint grape tomatoes

3/4 pinch black pepper

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

pita pocket on a plate filled with veggies, meat and cheeseThis pita pocket packs a colorful punch.Albertsons

Warm Pita Pocket with Turkey, Cheddar, Roasted Red Peppers & Parsley

313 calories | 20 minutes

1/4 (8 oz) block cheddar cheese

1/2 bunch Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

4 oz oven roasted turkey breast, sliced

1/2 (12 oz) jar roasted red bell peppers

1 whole grain pita

3/4 pinch black pepper

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp mayonnaise

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with toast smeared with avocado and topped with prosciuttoDid we say, "Move over, avocado toast?" What we meant was "Throw some prosciutto on it!" Albertsons

Avocado Toast with Crispy Prosciutto

283 calories | 10 minutes

1 avocado

2 slices prosciutto

2 slices whole grain bread

1 5/8 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp onion powder

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

bowl of chili with cheese and green onions on topVegetarian chili with a fall twistAlbertsons

Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili with Cheddar

444 calories | 30 minutes

2 (15 oz can) black beans

1/2 (8 oz ) block cheddar cheese

2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

2 green bell peppers

1 small bunch green onions (scallions)

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin purée

1 medium yellow onion

1/2 tsp black pepper

5 7/8 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp cumin, ground

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

For more delicious and nutritious recipes, visit albertsons.com/recipes.

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