My parents didn’t buy a dishwasher until the “dishwashers” they raised were ready to leave home. That would be my sister and me. We begged for one, mainly because ALL of our neighbors had them and we hated the chore, but my parents considered a dishwasher a luxury. That was until I was looking at high school graduation, then it became a necessity.
In commercial kitchens, dishwashers are really sanitizers. They run for about a minute with such hot water that the dishes almost dry immediately. At home, though, I had stopped using the one we have because it just wasn’t cleaning very well. I tried everything I could find on the internet. I ran it empty with vinegar and soaked the arms to clear the holes; I tied different soaps and different rinse aids. Finally, before I started shopping for a new one, I called a dishwasher repair service, and they sent a repairman named Max. Max was chatty and took quite a while pulling the dishwasher apart and cleaning out broken glass and gunk. Then we had a talk.
Here’s what I learned:
#1 It turns out you can’t just put anything in the dishwasher. My Riedel stemware is too delicate, and when they broke, I didn’t realize that much glass was still trapped - even though I had picked up the pieces. Some dishwashers have unique baskets for delicate glassware. You can also buy these silicone wineglass holders.
#2 There is a “right” way to load a dishwasher. It varies a bit from dishwasher to dishwasher, so your owner’s manual is the best way to figure that out. Manufactures really do have a plan for this! But, here are some general rules:
The top rack is designed for cups, glasses, small bowls, long utensils that don’t fit in the silverware basket, fragile items and dishwasher-safe plastics. Set the glasses and cups between the tines, not over them. What!!!??? I’ve been doing that one wrong.
The bottom rack is for plates, larger bowls, platter, and cutting boards. Place bowls facing the center, so they get hit by the sprayers
The silverware basket is to be loaded with table knives (don’t put your cutting knives in the dishwasher - EVER! It ruins them) handle facing up. Forks and spoons - handle facing down unless the handles work their way through the rack then reverse them. Mix up the silverware to avoid nesting.
# 3 The dishwasher does heat the water, but if you run hot water in your sink first - it cuts down the cycle time substantially because that’s where the dishwasher gets its’ water and the water is already hot. That explains why the run time can vary so much.
#4 The two things that you need to rinse off of your dishes completely before you run the dishwasher are eggs and cheese. They stick and will be baked on to the dish during the dry cycle.
#5 My dishwasher has a grinder to grind up food so everything, except for eggs and cheese, does not have to be thoroughly rinsed off before loading. The grinder does not like glass.
Max saved me from a large purchase, for the time being, and my dishwasher loading technique has dramatically improved. I found a copy of my manual on-line just like he said I would, and all is right with my dishwashing world!
Thanks for reading!