Clever Dishwasher Tips To Efficiently Wash Your Dishes

These are the most important dishwasher tips any dishwasher owner must know so that you can keep your dishwasher running efficiently.

For many years, we have lived without a dishwasher and living without one can be difficult if you’ve got many dishes to wash on a regular basis. A dishwasher simply makes life easier and eliminates the need to stand at your sink for an hour after dinner, when you’re already exhausted from a full day of mom life.

A dishwasher is a tool that you use on a daily basis if you have a large family, but it can also be used for a few other things too! I’m full of handy dishwasher tips!

And, while I’ve become accustomed to hand-washing dishes (due to need, not choice) for what seems like hours on end, how I ache for the days of loading piles of filthy plates, cookware, and glasses into the dishwasher in under 10 minutes.

It’s unquestionably the quickest and easiest method to make greasy, filthy dishes appear brand-spankin’ new without wasting gallons of water. Bonus: The next time you load it up, use these easy tips and methods to make it even faster and easier. They may appear simple, but believe me when I say that the smallest things make all the difference.

In order for your dishwasher to work efficiently, there are some dishwasher tips I would like to share with you so that you can have cleaner dishes and a properly functioning dishwasher.

*This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

Must – Know Dishwasher Tips

  1. Scrape Off Food Before Loading
  2. Do Not Pre Wash Dishes
  3. Load Dishwasher Properly
  4. Allow Sprayer Arms To Reach Full Rotation
  5. Use High-Quality Detergent
  6. Use A Rinse Aid (here is how to make your own)
  7. Clean Filters Often
  8. Avoid Putting Wood And Cast Iron Into The Dishwasher
  9. Load As you Go
  10. Run Hot Water In The Sink First
  11. Add White Vinegar
  12. Clean It Regularly

Scrape Off Food Before Loading

This is a good habit for any dishwasher owner. Simply scrape off any food that you have on your plates after dinner and load it up into the dishwasher. The longer food stays stuck to your plate, the harder it is to scrape off.

To avoid having stuck-on food after the dishwasher has finished the cycle it is best to remove the food from the plate as fast as you can. A good habit that my family has is to scrape off any food into the compost before placing it on the counter for me to deal with after dinner. Since my children are small, this works for me!

Do Not Pre Wash Dishes If You Run It Daily

If you use a high-quality dishwasher detergent, you do not need to pre-wash your dishes. The detergent is meant to pick up and scrape off any remaining food particles as the water carrier it through the dishwasher. If you wash your dishes before placing them into the dishwasher, you are wasting time, energy and money too.

If you do notice that your dishes are not coming out clean after a dishwashing cycle, you may need to try a new detergent. If you have anything super oily, you can give that a degrease with some dish soap before placing it into the dishwasher but it is not required.

Another thing about pre-washing is that if you run your dishwasher daily, then the stuck-on food will not have time to harden on the plates. However, if you are running your dishwasher every few days, then you might want to think about rinsing your dishes slightly so that mold and bacteria are not growing in your dishwasher before you run your cycle.

Load Dishwasher Properly

If you want your dishwasher to perform its best, then you should learn how to load your dishwasher properly. Here are some general dishwasher loading tips for you to try.

  • Plates and bowls should go into the bottom tray in a staggered pattern with the soiled area facing inward.
  • Pots and pans should always go into the bottom rack, facing down so the water can drip out and the stream can be on full blast into the dirty area of the pot.
  • Large items such as cutting boards, platters and baking sheets go on the bottom rack.
  • Cutlery should go into the cutlery container. Place sharp knives facing down for safety. Separate your cutlery in the container by type so that it is easier to put them away after the dishwashing cycle has finished.
  • Cups, containers and glasses should always be washed on the top rack.
  • Serving spoons and large utensils should also be laid down on the top rack so that they do not obstruct the prayer arms.
  • Avoid overcrowding your dishwasher so that you can get maximum cleaning results.

What to Do if You’re Out of Dishwasher Detergent

You just realised you’re out of dishwashing soap, but you don’t want to hop in your car and go to the store. Because of the suds, you know you can’t use ordinary dishwashing liquid, so what can you use? Baking soda is the key. Add a few of drops of dishwashing liquid (or baking soda) that you’d typically use to hand-wash dishes, followed by an equivalent quantity of baking soda. The baking soda will protect your dishwasher from being overly sullied.

Allow Sprayer Arms To Reach Full Rotation

This is super important for optimal dishwasher function. If the arms are obstructed by wooden spoons and other items that are not loaded into the dishwasher properly, the cycle will not be effective and you will likely have to run the dishwasher again. Avoid extra water and energy costs and extra time by allowing the sprayer arms of the dishwasher to reach full rotation each time.

Use High-Quality Detergent

I like to use finish quantum in my dishwasher, however, you can use any high-quality detergent. Using a lower-quality detergent could mean that your dishes will not get properly cleaned after the cycle has finished. Here are the best dishwasher detergents which you can use to wash your dishes. Do not use laundry pods in your dishwasher.

Use A Rinse Aid

A rinse aid is designed to help with the drying process which helps reduce water spots and foggy glassware as well as wash away any detergent and food residue from the dishes. You can use vinegar or a store-bought rinse agent to do the job.

Clean Filters Often

To ensure your dishwasher runs properly and at optimal performance, you’re going to want to make sure the dishwasher filters are cleaned properly.

Skip the Rinse Cycle for Super-Dirty Dishes

Keep a spray bottle of water and dishwasher detergent beside your dishwasher. If a dish is extremely dirty, spray it down before putting it in the oven. Because the detergent starts working on the food right away, you won’t have to rinse your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher or run a separate “rinse” cycle before doing your dishes.

Use the Correct Cycle

I virtually never think about the dishwasher cycle I’m using. I believed soap and water were just soap and water, so why use anything other than a “quick” cycle if everything appeared to be clean? If you’re pre-rinsing your dishes, the fast cycle is great, but as we’ve already mentioned, it wastes more water and time than simply letting the dishwasher do the work.

If your dishwasher has the intelligence to run an auto cycle successfully, you can generally use it for the majority of loads, with the exception of specific situations such as pots and pans or baby bottles that require the sanitary cycle.

Hand Wash Separately

Having an Energy Star dishwasher is good for the environment, but not when you use it twice a day. Reduce the amount of room you use up in your dishwasher by cleaning big pots and pans by hand in the sink. By using a little additional water to wash these things individually, you will save a lot of water by washing fewer loads.

Avoid Putting Wood And Cast Iron Into The Dishwasher

There are certain things that you should not put into your dishwasher and wood is one of those things. Wood can easily split and crack due to the high heat and moist environment of the dishwasher. Cast iron and non stick cookware could get damaged in the dishwasher as well. Crystal is simply too delicate for the dishwasher and anything that is silver or Gold plated can easily get damaged too. Insulated cups can become uninsulated your good knives can rust and become damaged and dull. Porcelain and silverware is perfect for the dishwasher.

You can also wash your toys, hats, flip flops and plastic flowers in the top rack of the dishwasher. If you have baby bottles to disinfect, you can skip a sterilizer and use your top rack of the dishwasher instead.

Load As you Go

A great habit to have when you own a dishwasher is to load as you go. This way, when you need to run your dishwasher at the end of the day, you can simply load up the last few things and turn it on. This also helps the kitchen sink stay clean and free for washing up other items.

Run Hot Water In The Sink First

If you want your dishwasher to start the cycle with hot water from the start, run the sink with hot water first so that you don’t have to wait for the cold water to get through the pipes. This makes the dishwasher run more efficiently for an extra minute or so at the beginning of a cycle.

Clean It Regularly

Cleaning your dishwasher might sound like a crazy idea, but it is a useful procedure that can keep your dishwasher running at optimal performance. One of the main issues with dishwashers is that food residue, soap scum and calcium deposits built-up smell bad, look dirty and prevent the dishwasher from washing the dishes properly. To keep your dishwasher running properly, clean it regularly.

Bonus tip: Don’t forget to rinse your dishwasher! This should come as no surprise, but your dishwasher needs regular cleaning. To remove soap buildup that can leave a white powder on plates. Here are my top dishwasher cleaning tips.

Soften Water

Hard water may be quite damaging to your dishwasher. It can not only leave difficult-to-clean residues in the dishwasher, but it can also make getting sparkling clean dishes virtually impossible. It leaves a white residue on glasses and utensils.

Use The Dishwasher To Wash All Kinds Of Things

Dishes are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what this device can clean. You may fill it with bath toys, plastic toys, shoes, vacuum attachments, dog toys, golf balls, and so on. Make sure everything is clean!

How to Fix a Smelly Dishwasher

If your dishwasher still smells bad after cleaning, just put the juice of a lemon or orange into the liquid detergent compartment and run the dishwasher while it’s empty, set to “steam dry.” Citric acid will eliminate smells produced by food particle accumulation. You may now invite your friends into the kitchen without feeling embarrassed!

Hydrogen Peroxide To the Rescue

Improve the performance of your dishwasher by adding some bacteria-fighting hydrogen peroxide. Combine 2 ounces of peroxide with your regular detergent—not only will it destroy germs, but it will also make your dishes and glasses glitter like never before!

Green Dishwashing: The Facts

  • In addition to saving 1000 gallons of water, replacing a 1994 dishwasher with a modern one can save you $40 in annual energy expenditures.
  • The amount of energy required by dishwashers to heat hot water is 80 percent.
  • 1000 gallons: The amount of water saved each month by only running your dishwasher when it is full.
  • 280 million: therms of natural gas saved by energy-efficient clothing and dishwashers by 2025. This is enough to heat 500,000 houses in the United States.
  • By 2025, Energy Star-rated appliances will have saved 175 billion gallons of water, enough to fulfil the water needs of 3 million people.

Green Dishwashing

Dishwashers are more efficient than hand-washing, according to research.
According to research done at the University of Bonn in Germany, even the most economical hand-washer cannot compete in terms of efficiency with a modern dishwashing machine. Christine Lepisto of TreeHugger writes: “According to the Bonn study, the dishwasher consumes half the energy and one-sixth the water, as well as less soap. Even the most cautious and sparing washers could not compete with the contemporary dishwasher.”

Dirt Sensors Consume More Power
Consumer Reports discovered that “smart” washers with dirt sensors use “much more energy for severely dirty loads than non sensor machines.” This additional usage is frequently not reflected in the EnergyGuide label rating. When looking for a new computer, Consumer Reports recommends avoiding this expensive feature.

Water Heaters: Gas vs. Electric
According to Consumer Reports, water heating accounts for 80% of a dishwasher’s energy usage, both within the machine and in the home’s water heater. The remaining 20% is used by the engine and drying heater or fan. The washers tested by CS consumed 31.5 to 12 gallons of water each load. They predict that the yearly operating costs might vary from “$25 to $67 for a gas water heater or $30 to $86 for an electric water heater.” (According to Consumer Reports)

Disinfecting Non-Reusable Containers
Putting non-reusable containers, such as water bottles, in the dishwasher, especially while hot, may cause them to degrade and release hazardous chemicals. Only place dishwasher-safe objects in the machine, especially if you intend to eat or drink from them. For the same reason, you should look for a dishwasher with a non-plastic inside.

Phosphates
Phosphates, which were extremely efficient in removing stains and grease, were the last product to include them. It, however, cannot be removed from wastewater and was causing eutrophication (algae blooms) wherever it entered freshwater. While phosphates are not prohibited in all jurisdictions, dishwashing detergent producers have stopped using them. People have been grumbling that their dishwashers aren’t working as well as they used to, yet dishwashing detergent formulations have improved year after year.

Brilliant Dishwasher Tips

Did you enjoy these dishwasher tips? Maybe you knew a few already, but if you learned anything at all, it is important to look after our dishwasher so that you don’t have to go into manual hand washing dishes mode. I hope you enjoy using your dishwasher for more than just dishes, as it is such a useful tool! I love the fact that it is so efficient at disinfecting baby bath toys, spout covers and even our summer hats.

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