Feb 232013

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I sometimes say that a full dishwasher means I’ve had a wonderful day—translated:  I’ve either cooked a bunch or I’ve had a “bunch” of people to my house.

Now my question:

Is unloading your dishwasher your least favorite chore to do? Does it feel like you are scratching a chalkboard or scrubbing the toilet?  Here is my confession: my dislike of this chore is so great, that I have acquired a skill that I have perfected: the mastery of loading my dishwasher to the max.

I  so dislike unloading it, that I load it to the brim—I mean, I maximize every nook and cranny, utilize two-tier loading, and juggle and rearrange

until …

until I surrender and put in the detergent  and then push the start button.

But alas, a great side benefit—you save on energy and detergent costs!

I have “uploaded” a few pics to demonstrate my techniques on loading my dishwasher– try them yourself, and please, if you have some tricks to get loaded, please post them at the end!

Want to know my strategy?

Well,  here are a few of my loading secrets:

First of all—I must begin by saying that I do not rinse my dishes-UNLESS—it is easier to remove the solid particles by rinsing into the disposer.  Also, try not to leave your dishes out to air dry– load them up and keep the door to the dishwasher closed.  This will keep the humidity high and the drying to a minimum.

Starting from the innermost top corner, put items in, fitting glasses together and traversing the conventional rows to maximize every inch.  Don’t scatter your dishes, compact them like you’re are playing Tetris. Let no inch go unloaded!









As you are loading this part, less dirty dishes can bridge over the top of the glasses.  For example, the cereal bowl that just has milk and sugary residue will get clean even if it is a canopy over your coffee cup and the kids’ sippy cup underneath.









Do the same on the bottom tray of your dishwasher, placing the dirtiest dishes directly onto the rack and canopying less soiled items over the top.  (Aim for a tilted positioning.) Never mind if it is a bit of a balancing act to get it all placed.  (Some items, like drinking glasses really only need rinsing and the heat of the steam to sterilize them.)









Lay spatulas and cooking utensils horizontally across the silverware, placing the length of the item into the silverware tray handles so that they stay put.  Horizontal is the key here-who says that they have to stand upright?  The vertical placement usually ends up stopping the sprayer arm from doing its thing.









Now, don’t neglect this sneaky technique:  “impale” glasses on top of tall silverware in your silverware compartment.  Surprise, they will get clean while they piggy back on the silverware tray in your dishwasher.









Okay next: see if you can tuck narrow lids and small plates between the glasses and the outermost part of your racks.  Put the dirty side facing the middle of the rack. Tuck them in wherever they fit.  Remember, we are not creating a work of art or an organized masterpiece!  Martha Stewart is not going to score your “dishwasher loading” style!









Next, take a risk; place a few flat pieces on top of it all, making sure that your rack will not be obstructed when closing.  If these items don’t get perfectly clean, at least they come out sanitized and only need a quick dunk in regular dish soap in your sink.  (What have you lost? They haven’t filled up your sink or “decorated” your countertop while you procrastinated.)

Lastly, be sure that the sprayer arm is not prevented from twirling.  The dishwasher has to be able to do its “dance” in order to clean the crowd you jammed into it.  Check for any possibility of hanging “chandeliers” that would stop the party—this is a real show stopper on your chances to have a clean load.









Now pay attention here:  It is imperative that you use good quality dishwasher soap!  This is one time where cheap doesn’t cut it.  If you use cheap, then you cannot jam your trays like this—you will have to opt for the “load it, unload it more often” technique–my least favorite option, your least economical practice.

So spend more and buy the better brands- you save in water and energy costs. I came to this realization around 2010 after the makers of dishwasher detergent had to remove the phosphates that did such a great job cleaning our dishes.  Why? We have government to thank—for more information than you care to know, find out why Spokane, Washington is to blame for the lame detergents, and why, in the end, our  sacrifice may all be in vain… “Another Triumph for the Greens–To go with toilets that don’t flush and light bulbs that don’t light, we now have dishwashers that don’t wash.”

So, a lot of people ran out and dropped hundreds for new dishwashers when the new eco-friendly soaps came out.  So sad, too bad.  Wasn’t necessary!

My recommendations: Amway’s Legacy of Clean Dishwasher Detergent.   Easy, simple.  No, I do not sell Amway.

Another product, Lemi Shine , is a great booster to use with your regular product, provided you remember to add it.  They  make a number of dishwasher products.  Cascade does well, but don’t get the one that has bleach in it.  It does what bleach is supposed to do, but I wasn’t happy with the white on some of my colored plastic ware, and you probably won’t be either.  Experiment with several brands, and if you aren’t happy, contact the company and take them up on their money back guarantee—you will be letting them know that the product disappoints!

A FB friend also gave me this tip:  add 1/2 t. of Trisodium Phosphate to your detergent!  I plan to try it–  watch for an update.

This may seem like useless information to you— or maybe you are one that LIKES to load and unload  ( a strange sense of accomplishment to your day, maybe?) Or, you still have kids at home who love chores, or a husband who makes points by unloading the dishwasher for you. Or, perhaps you own a hopelessly wimpy dishwasher—my condolences to you.

Mine is a Sears Kenmore Elite dishwasher that I bought off the display floor because it had been returned for some reason (that I never could figure out why.)  I got a great buy on it! I usually run it on the scrub cycle.

I have none of the above, so I’m still stuck doing the chore I hate most.  So get loaded to the max, I do.  My life is more exciting with one less load to unpack.  (But may I confess? Each “unload” is a discovery event to see what new technique I have discovered—not a cure for cancer, but satisfies the scientist in me.)

By the way, the pics that I have posted:  they were two separate loads.  Here is the only “unclean” item:









It boasted the remnants of my Simply Great Chili.  I think it was “spooning” with another spoon…

I will keep you posted on any new methods to my madness. You may discover that inner mad scientist thing in your head, too…

  2 Responses to “Where I get loaded to the MAX (hint: I am talking about my dishwasher!)”

  1. LOL Now I wish I had a dish washer…. But at last the only dish washers in my house are me, the boys and Duane…. But this would of been a great post to show mom, when we were kids… My least favorite was rinsing the dishes before they went into the dishwasher…..

  2. Funny, Kristi! With your boys, you should never have to wash dishes!

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