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Clean dishes in dishwasher

The Do's and Don'ts of Caring for Your Dishwasher

Dishwashers are one of the most self-explanatory appliances in your home. For the most part, you simply put dirty dishes in and hit start, right? While that will get the job done for a little while, there are a few tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of your dishwasher, save water, and prolong the life of your machine.


  • Throw your dishes in the dishwasher the moment you finish eating. Food that’s left to sit on your plate will harden and be more difficult to clean.

  • Always use the hottest water option available. Hot water will best sanitize your dishes and break down soap scum.

  • Clean your dishwasher every month to rid it of soap scum, grease, and food.

  • Unload your dishwasher starting with the bottom rack. Water that pools in dishes on the top rack can splash down to dishes sitting below if you take them out first.

  • Run the dishwasher overnight. Utility companies charge more at peak times (like right after dinner), so running it in the middle of the night can save you money.


  • Stuff too many dishes in at once. In order for dishes to be properly cleaned, there needs to be enough space between each one.

  • Run your dishwasher half full. So long as it’s fully loaded (but not stuffed), a dishwasher actually uses less water than hand washing.

  • Wash sharp steak knives. Sharpened knives can become dull in the dishwasher.

  • Wash wood, cast iron, or crystal. These items are usually not dishwasher safe and can break during a cycle.

  • Use too much detergent. More soap doesn’t guarantee cleaner dishes and can actually build up on the walls of your machine.

  • Pre-rinse dishes. Pre-rinsing dishes wastes water and can clog your sink drain. Instead, scrape food into the garbage using a fork.

If your dishwasher isn’t performing well for several weeks, it may be time to schedule a service!