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The dishwasher is one of the best amenities a modern home can offer. And also one of the most controversial. Everyone has their own particular strategy for how dishes should be loaded, and everyone is convinced that theirs is 100% right. (For the record, though, this method really is.)
Personally, I live with two dudes, so my dishwasher strategy mostly involves making sure my chef’s knife and saucepans don’t end up in there with our Tupperware (true story!!!!!). I also used to disagree with them about how cutlery goes in its basket: Growing up, my parents taught me that forks and knives went handles down, tines and blades up, in order to keep the plastic basket from shredding. My current dishwasher, however, has such big holes in its basket that we have to put them in the opposite way to keep them from slipping through the cracks and jamming up the works. I learned this the hard way. You win this one, boys, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong about my pots and pans!
To get some more thoughts, I asked a handful of folks who might know how we should be doing it — and what happens when someone refuses to go along with their strategy.
Celeste Ballard, TV Writer
“I just moved into a new apartment which blissfully has many modern amenities I’ve never had, such as central AC, a washer/dryer, and best of all, a dishwasher. When I lived alone, I was usually cooking for one, so my dishwashing philosophy was usually leave it in the sink for Future Celeste and the next morning get mad at Past Celeste for letting the dishes stack up. Now Future Celeste and Past Celeste are in harmony because I can just put dishes willy nilly into my machine.
I’m a dishwasher n00b but I’ve heard you’re supposed to load dishwashers back to front. Honestly, who has time to be that meticulous? I sure don’t. I load enthusiastically, without fear. After all, I have hours of television to watch and projects to avoid writing! I don’t have time to make sure everything is stacked in perfectly, as if my dishes are posing for a professional organizer’s instagram. The one thing I always make sure to do is put the “top rack only” items on the top rack. I learned the hard way that fancy (and pricey) plastic cereal containers from The Container Store will melt if not properly washed.”
Tatum Dooley, LaunchPad Contributor
“When I used to live at home, my mom always insisted the plates and bowls all face towards the center of the dishwasher, so that the “eating side” would be cleaned. I just threw them in whatever way they fit. Now I don’t have a dishwasher and would gladly trade a particular dishwasher-loader-method than doing them by hand.”
Cinnamon Janzer, LaunchPad Contributor
“My dishwashing strategy has to do with the fact that I live in a tiny house and the way my kitchen is configured, the door of my dishwasher doesn’t completely open before hitting the fridge, so I put the plates in the bottom on the back (easiest to slide in) and the bowls in front of that. Cups and glasses and large utensils go on the top. I put all of my silverware in top-side up except for knives. I’m really bad at rinsing dishes before I put them in, so I usually have to wash an item or two after it’s clean. I’m sure that would annoy someone, but the only one I live with (my dog) doesn’t seem to notice or care at all.”
Miranda Popkey, LaunchPad Contributor
“HAND WASHING FOREVER, BABY, THE DISHWASHER IS FOR QUITTERS. If God wanted us to use dishwashers, why did he give us hands, you know?”
Got your own thoughts? Share them below.
Zan Romanoff is a freelance writer and the author of the novels A SONG TO TAKE THE WORLD APART and GRACE AND THE FEVER. She lives and works in Los Angeles.