Are you experiencing leftover food or water spots on your dishes when running them in the dishwasher? This guide will inform you of the best way to load your dishwasher to allow for optimal clean of all your dishes, pots and pans, and silverware. It becomes intuitive the more that you do it. By loading your dishwasher in an efficient manner, you’ll preserve the life of both your dishes and dishwasher and make the most of your dishwasher’s energy saving capabilities.

General Tips

  • Scrape off leftover food when you’re done with your meals before placing them in the dishwasher. It’s unnecessary to rinse your dishes unless they’re really grimy or you won’t be able to run them until later on. Your dishwasher and its cleaning products are specifically made to clean the dirt and food particles from your dishes, so they don’t have to be spotless when they get loaded in.
  • Don’t store your detergents or other dishwasher cleaning products, especially powders, underneath the sink. This is an area that is always fairly warm and humid, and will cause those products to break down or stick together.
  • Take care when placing and arranging your items in the dishwasher. Resist the urge to stack items on top of each other just to get all of your dishes done at once. That will lead to inefficient cleaning and rinsing. It’s better to separate the items into two loads.
  • Plastic items and other delicates, especially those marked “top rack dishwasher safe,” always need to go on the top rack. Your dishwasher’s heating element is most likely on the very bottom of your dishwasher, and if these items get too close to it they could melt or crack.

Bottom Rack

  • Line up all of your dishes along the bottom rack, with the top surface of the plates angled toward the center. That’s where the water sprays up from and by arranging your plates this way, you’ll ensure that the spray is hitting all of them.
  • Stack your pots and pans in the same way, so that the spray from the bottom can reach all of them. If you have a lot of pots and pans that need to be cleaned, considering running them in a separate load or washing them by hand so you don’t have to overcrowd your dishwasher.

Top Rack

  • Use the top rack to line your bowls, cups, and small pans. Always place them face down so that the spray from the top and bottom can hit them evenly.
  • Make sure they are not stacked on top of each other or otherwise blocking the spray’s reach. This is very important, even if it means you can’t fit everything in one load.
  • Many people are confused about whether or not to rest items on the metal tines of the dishwasher. If the items are small, like cups and glasses, this can cause water spots or even scratches. Instead, place your cups in between the dishwasher tines.


  • Alternate the direction that your forks and spoons are facing, some with the handles down, some with the handles out. This way none of them will nest or block each other.
  • Knives should be washed by hand because they lose their sharpness in the dishwasher. Wash them by hand with a mild dish soap, rinse well, and lay flat to dry on a soft towel.
  • Lay long or oversized utensils, such as tongs, ladles, and serving spoons, flat in the top basket. Make sure that they do not fall through the gaps in the basket because if they fall to the bottom they can block the spinning action of the spray arm.

If you’ve followed this process and you’re noticing that your dishes aren’t getting clean, or that your dishwasher doesn’t seem to be running correctly, consider contacting an appliance repair company. CS Appliance Service has the experience and know-how required to assist you with any dishwasher repairs that you may require. If you need help or would like a consultation, call us at (781) 953-9600. You can also check CS Appliance Service out on Facebook at for more tips on using your dishwasher.