Posted on December 23rd, 2021
Dishwashers are more efficient than many people realize. According to research conducted at the University of Bonn in Germany, dishwashers typically use 80% less energy than washing dishes by hand. In terms of water consumption, they perform even better: Washing a large load of dishes in the dishwasher typically requires about 20 liters of water, whereas washing the same load by hand could use up to 170 liters. However, these benefits quickly disappear when dishwashers aren’t used or maintained properly. Failing to stack dishes correctly, for example, can trap grease and grime between them, creating the need for multiple washes. And, if you don’t clean your dishwasher regularly, its internal components can become clogged with debris – seriously hindering its efficiency.
In this guide, we’ll cover how to clean and stack your dishwasher in a way that ensures optimal performance. And, if you want to streamline your routine even further, our affordable cleaning services in Indianapolis offer a great alternative to manually removing kitchen grease and cleaning cabinets and appliances every week.
The Top 3 Dishwasher Stacking Tips from Our Indianapolis Maids
Alternate the order of cutlery for a flawless finish.
The cutlery basket is a common trouble spot for trapping food debris, but it doesn’t have to be. To prevent grime from hiding out in between spoons and forks, load them in an alternating up-down pattern (i.e., place one row handles-up and the next row handles-down). This loading order keeps the curved parts of cutlery separate so they don’t compress together and create pockets for debris.
The one exception to this rule is, of course, knives. Knives should always be loaded handles-up to ensure they can be unloaded safely, and very sharp knives should be left out of the dishwasher altogether. Washing sharp prep knives in the dishwasher can result in damage to your dishwasher’s protective interior coating.
Don’t load mugs or glasses over tines.
Placing glasses or mugs upside-down on the tines of your dishwasher’s top rack wastes space and inhibits water flow, making your dishwasher less efficient. The correct way to load these items is to insert them upside-down on the top rack between the tines, so the inside of mugs and glasses are sprayed by the dishwasher’s jets.
Once you’ve finished loading the mugs and glasses, use any leftover space on the top rack for small bowls and dishwasher-safe plastic items. Place these items upside-down towards the center of the rack. Stacking bowls and containers so they overlap slightly is acceptable, but be sure to avoid overcrowding them.
Save the bottom row for plates and your biggest, dirtiest dishes.
The bottom rack of the dishwasher receives more water force (and heat) than the top rack, so it’s the ideal place for cleaning pots, pans, serving bowls, dinner plates, and other large, messy dishes.
Scrape large chunks of leftover food into the trash can, then load dishes on the bottom rack, starting with plates and working your way up to larger items. Place very large pieces, like platters and cutting boards, along the sides and back of the rack to ensure optimal water flow.
In most cases, pre-rinsing dishes isn’t necessary because modern dishwashers are equipped with sensors that automatically adjust detergent levels and water temperature to match how dirty the dishes are. In fact, pre-rinsing certain dishes can result in an inferior finish by tricking your dishwasher into using a less powerful cycle than is actually required to get everything clean. However, if your dishwasher was made before the year 2000, pre-rinsing heavily soiled items may be useful.
How (and When) to Clean Your Dishwasher
Once a month, you should thoroughly clean your dishwasher’s filter and drain to keep it running optimally and prevent mold and bacteria buildup. Fortunately, this process is relatively simple: First, remove the dishwasher’s bottom rack and use a paper towel to wipe away trapped food debris. Then, take the filter out of your dishwasher and wash it in hot, soapy water.
To clean the entire unit, reinsert the bottom rack and the filter before placing a cup of white vinegar on the top rack. (Avoid using bleach or other harsh chemicals to clean your dishwasher. They aren’t necessary for sanitization and they may harm the machine’s metal components, ultimately shortening its lifespan.) While the dishwasher is otherwise empty, run it through a complete hot-water cycle; the vinegar will kill any mold or bacteria that’s present while simultaneously neutralizing unpleasant odours. Follow this step by sprinkling baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher, then run the machine through another hot water cycle. The mild abrasive action of baking soda will remove any leftover grease and grime and ensure there’s no vinegar residue left in the dishwasher.
Finally, dip a microfiber cloth in hot, soapy water and carefully wipe the rubber seal around the dishwasher door. Otherwise, the seal can trap moisture and gunk, creating the ideal breeding ground for mold and bacteria. When you’re finished, get a fresh microfiber cloth, lightly moisten it, and polish the front of the dishwasher until it’s gleaming.
Get Professional Kitchen Cleaning Help in Indianapolis
No matter how many kitchen cleaning hacks you learn, there’s no escaping the fact that housekeeping is hard, time-consuming work. If you’re consistently falling behind on your weekly chores, it may be time to hire one of our licensed, bonded maids in Indianapolis to help you keep your home safe, hygienic, and welcoming. We offer a range of cleaning plans, including weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly appointments, so you can choose the schedule that best reflects your family’s needs and budget. Contact us today to discuss your options and book your first house cleaning appointment.