It may surprise you to hear this, but you can save more water through using a dishwasher than through handwashing! (Never underestimate the waste caused by a running tap.) However, if you have to run the dishwasher twice, it defeats the purpose. When you open the machine door in the morning and that glorious steam rises out, the last thing you want is to reach in for a fork and find hardened food still on it! We want to arm you with the strongest tips for maximizing your dishwasher’s cleaning power so that never happens again. Read on to learn how to make sure every load is sparkling!
Prepping the Dishes
Did you know that pre-washing your dishes can actually make them look dirtier after a cycle in the dishwasher? Dishwashing detergent attacks food particles, so when there isn’t enough in those “dirty” dishes, the detergent ends up scrubbing away at your clean glasses, making them cloudy. It’s good to rinse big chunks of food off your dishes before loading up the dishwasher—but for your dishes to really shine, don’t completely remove all the grime. However, if tougher food like oatmeal, rice, smoothie residue etc. has dried and hardened on dishes (no judgement here if they hung out in the sink for a few days), we definitely recommend soaking them to loosen up the debris.
Getting Burnt Food Off of Pots and Pans
If you have burned-on food that won't budge with a simple soak, your strongest weapon is likely sitting right next to your stove! Coat the surface of the pan in table salt, and then top that layer with water. Set it on the stove and bring the solution to boil for 10 minutes. At the end, all residue should disappear with the swipe of a sponge. Ready for the sanitation process of the dishwasher! (Provided your pots and pans are labeled as dishwasher safe.)
Loading Up the Star of the Show
You may think you know how to load a dishwasher, but here are a few tips to make sure your dishwasher can do its best work!- Always face dishes inwards towards the center of your machine.
- Put larger, bulky items like pots and baking sheets on the sides or in the back, paying special attention to the path of the sprayer and the location of your dishwasher’s detergent chamber.
- Glasses and heat-sensitive plastics should go in the top rack.
- Avoid water spots by placing glasses between tines, not over them.
- For super clean utensils, try alternating the way you place silverware into the utensil basket! Place some head-first and others feet-first to avoid accidental nesting during the wash cycle.
- Add a Dropps Dishwasher Detergent pod to the detergent compartment and run it!
Check out this guide for cleaning your dishwasher, which should be done about once a month! If you’ve done a full clean and are still having issues getting it to run properly, check and see if the spray arms are clogged before you call someone to fix it. The spray arm is located at the bottom of the dishwasher and it typically snaps off or can be removed by loosening a screw cap. Use a toothpick to clear the holes and then rinse the spray arm under hot water.