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Hand loading silverware into a dishwasher

HOW TO LOAD A DISHWASHER THE RIGHT WAY

Learn How to properly load a dishwasher

Whether you have two racks or three, you can fit more dishes and enhance cleaning performance by learning how to properly load a dishwasher. Get the most out of your dishwasher by learning how to position dishes for maximum cleaning coverage.

Dishwasher racks loaded properly

Step 1: LOAD THE BOTTOM RACK

Put large plates, large bowls, cookware, serving platters and silverware in the bottom rack, placing them at an angle and facing toward the center of the dishwasher. Larger items should be placed in the back of the rack, near the wall of the tub. Fill in gaps with small plates.  

Additionally, most silverware baskets are on the bottom rack of the dishwasher. Use the basket to space out all your utensils and other small items like reusable straws.

 

Step 2: LOAD THE UPPER RACK

Load cups, mugs, small bowls, tupperware and anything that is made of dishwasher safe plastic on the upper rack. When placing your items, make sure they stand at an angle for a thorough cleaning, and anything plastic should be placed farthest away from the heat source.

Place your items in between the tines and at an angle for proper water drainage. Make sure that there is enough space in between the mugs and bowls so that they don’t overlap. Avoid blocking the spray arms. 

 

Step 3: LOAD THE THIRD LEVEL RACK

If your dishwasher has a third rack, it's a good place for large utensils and items like measuring cups. Maytag brand's 3rd Level Rack has extra loading space for mugs and bowls, and features a specialized wash zone that sprays water along the full length of the rack.

Third racks are also a great place to load taller utensils like ladles and other awkwardly-shaped items that may be harder to fit elsewhere. You can use this guide on dishwasher parts to get more familiar with all the different dishwasher parts. Find out how to wash items like plastic or stainless steel dog bowls in the dishwasher.

Unloading clean dishes

GET ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT LOADING A DISHWASHER

What items should not go in the dishwasher?

Some items to avoid placing in the dishwasher include, but are not limited to cutting knives, nonstick or aluminum cookware or some pots and pans, cast iron, antiques, insulated drinkware, wood, fine china with metallic trimmings or ceramics with hand painted decorations shouldn’t go in the dishwasher. Additionally, plastic that does not explicitly state that it's dishwasher safe should not go in the dishwasher either. 

Also, you may want to hand wash vintage or special drinkware or wine glasses instead of putting them the dishwasher. Depending on your water, glassware can get cloudy from mineral deposits or become permanently etched from heat and chemicals in your dishwasher. Here’s how to clean cloudy glasses if they get a milky film.

Why should plastic go in the top rack of a dishwasher?

Water in a dishwashing cycle can reach high temperatures that may cause plastic to warp or melt. For this reason, plastic should only go on the top rack of the dishwasher, as long as it’s dishwasher safe.

Should I pre-rinse my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher?

Many dishwashers have a sensor that lets the machine know how much water to dispense and for how long to run the cycle. Learn how to reset your dishwasher if you need to. If you have this type of dishwasher, it’s not necessary for you to pre-rinse your dishes. A simple scrape of any large food particles is all you really need.

Can I place glasses in the bottom rack of my dishwasher?

Since glass can be delicate and prone to breakage, glasses should only be placed on the middle or top rack of the dishwasher, since the middle and top racks are specially designed for glasses, and they get a gentler wash than the bottom rack.

Maytag® third rack dishwasher

GET MORE ROOM FOR DISHES WITH A THIRD RACK IN YOUR DISHWASHER

Some dishwashers have an extra, third rack at the top ideal for small, flat items like spatulas and other large utensils. The 3rd Level Rack by Maytag also has room for mugs and bowls along with a specialized wash zone, bringing more loading space and cleaning power straight to the top of the dishwasher.1

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1. Compared to Maytag® model MDB8989SH.