1. Remember these basic rules first.
”¢ Prerinse dishes if they’re going to sit in the machine all day. But if you’re running a cycle right away, just scrape off the food and leave it at that.
”¢ Secure all plastics. If you don’t, blasts of water may cause these pieces to flip over, fall onto the heating element and melt.
”¢ Never stack items. The water spray won’t be able to reach (or clean) the dish that’s on top.
2. Load the bottom rack strategically.
”¢ Load plates and bowls so that the dirty side faces the water spray. Pots, pans and casseroles should angle down for the best cleaning results.
”¢ Watch out for utensils with long, thin handles.They might slip through the rack and prevent the spray arm from spinning freely.
”¢ Tuck flat pans and platters along the sides and back of the rack. Never place them in front, by the door ”” they’ll keep the detergent from reaching the dishes. (Tip: For extra side space, move your flatware basket to the center if possible.)
”¢ Make sure the forks and spoons don’t nest together. Place some handles up and others down so that all surfaces get washed.
”¢ Always separate your stainless steel and silver (or silver-plated) flatware. If the two types touch in the wash, a reaction may occur and the silver could pit.
3. Cups go in the top rack.
”¢ Place glasses and mugs between the tines ”” never on top. The tip of the prong can leave a water spot.
”¢ Angle cups as much as the rack design will allow to keep water from pooling on the base of the upside-down cups. Still got puddles? Unload the bottom rack first to avoid the drip-down.
”¢ Arrange wine glasses carefully. To help prevent breakage, don’t let them bump against one another or the top of the dishwasher.
4. Don’t stock up on too much detergent.
Powders, liquids and packets can all clean well. But the detergent has to be fresh or it won’t do the job. A good rule of thumb: Buy only what you can use up within two months. And you should always store it in a cool, dry spot (not under the sink, where the detergent can clump or deteriorate).
posted by zalmen pollak