How you load your dishwasher makes a huge difference in how clean your dishes become. Below are some tips to help you maximize the space in your dishwasher and get the cleanest dishes out of each cycle.
• Rinse all dishes beforehand. If they are particularly dirty, let them soak in soap and water for a while.
• Always hand wash cast-iron items, high-quality knives, crystal, copper pans, gold-plated dishware and insulated mugs.
• Never stack items, as this will prevent them from truly being cleaned.
• All plastic should go on the top rack. The bottom rack is closer to the heating element, and thus, can melt these items.
• Glasses and mugs should be positioned facing downward between the tines (or prongs), rather than on top. This will prevent water spots from occurring, as well as from water collecting in the glasses.
• Flat pans and platters should go on the sides or back. If placed in the front, they can prevent the soap from reaching the rest of the dishes.
• If your silverware basket doesn’t have a slot for each individual piece, then place some facing upward, and some facing downward to prevent them from stacking together.
• For optimal cleaning results, position plates and bowls with the dirty sides facing toward the water spray. Likewise, position pots, pans, casserole and Pyrex® dishes facing downward.
• When opting to put your wine glasses in the dishwasher, be sure none of them touch to avoid breakage.
Improving the energy efficiency of your home is not only great for the environment, but can also contribute to substantial savings in the long run. Here are some small changes you can make throughout your home to help lower your energy bills:
* Turn off the thermostat
When away from home, avoid keeping your thermostat on. When home, adjust it in small increments to reach your desired temperature. Even better, open windows and use ceiling fans or space heaters to cool or warm your home.
* Switch your light bulbs
Switch the lightbulbs in your home to more energy efficient ones (think CFL and LED bulbs). Not sure which ones to choose? Check out our helpful light bulb guide here.
* Clean and replace filters once a month
Clean filters allow systems to run more efficiently and for shorter periods of time.
* Keep a full refrigerator and freezer
A full refrigerator unit will operate the most properly and efficiently. On the other hand, be sure not to overcrowd it.
* Keep your oven and stovetop clean
Regularly cleaning your oven and stovetop will enable them to run more efficiently.
* Run your dishwasher when it’s full
Running your dishwasher for a full load every time is the most efficient use of the appliance. In addition, use the lowest temperature dry cycle if you prefer not to air-dry your dishes. Heated drying is not always needed and can even damage plasticware.
* Use power strips/surge protectors
Cords that remain plugged in while not in use still expend energy in standby mode. Feeding them all into a power strip makes it easier to switch them all off at once instead of keeping them on standby. In addition, it also protects your electronic devices from unsafe voltage spikes.
* Turn off lights
When leaving your home, turn off all lights. When at home, turn off lights in any room not being used.
* Mind the gaps
Check windows and doors for cracks, gaps, and openings. Replace broken glass, framing and caulk where necessary.
* Purchase wisely
When purchasing appliances such as computers and dishwashers, be on the lookout for the “Energy Star” logo denoting high-efficiency. Many newer appliances are required by the U.S. Department of Energy to be more efficient than older ones.
The task of loading dishes in the dishwasher is completed in the most common and centralized area of the house — the kitchen. Because of this, everyone in the household feels it’s necessary to jump in and declare the “right” way of going about the dreaded chore.
Trust us, we didn’t know there was a “right” way of loading your dishes in the dishwasher. But, we do know there are two kinds of people in this world:
a. someone who loads their dishwasher in an orderly way — almost like they’re playing Tetris
b. someone who dumps the dishes, turns the machine on and doesn’t worry another minute
Top appliance companies such as Bosch, Electrolux, LG, Whirlpool and Samsung say that many consumers have been loading their dishes in the same way since they were children. The thing is, dishwashers have come a long way. In fact, they offer more features than ever: sensors, specialized cycles, adjustable racks and more.
Because of this, it’s usually OK to just dump the dishes in, even without a pre-rinse. But if that one family member insists on organizing and doing things the right way (which isn’t a bad thing), below is how to do so:
- If your dishwasher houses a third rack at the top, load your flatware and large utensils there — it frees up space at the bottom.
- Load glass and plastic at the top. Here, water pressure and heat are less intense.
- Always point knives down and do use the utensil basket.
- You don’t have to pre-rinse. Studies have shown that pre-rinsing wastes more water than just allowing the dishwasher to do it’s thing. Don’t worry, appliance makers assure you your machine can handle it.
- Go ahead and place those stainless-steel pans in there, but do avoid washing cast-iron.
- Don’t always choose the ‘Normal’ cycle — there are different cycles for a reason. For example, a ‘Rinse Only’ cycle is perfect when you don’t have a full load yet. It rinses without detergent, keeps food from sticking to plates and washes away odors. A ‘Heavy Wash’ is designed for dishes with dried-on foods.
Now, go tackle those Fourth of July dishes.