5 Tips For Cleaner Dishes

We have a holiday weekend coming up, graduations, reunions, parties, barbecues…in other words, it’s summer! Which means company, food, fun and…dishes! This post and the next are full of great tips to get you ready for the season.

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When I was a kid, our dishwasher was my mom. And, once in a while, me. But usually my mom. 😉

So I didn’t really have a dishwasher until…gosh…um…I don’t know. So it took me a long time to learn how to get cleaner dishes in my dishwasher. Based on my non-technical survey of the behavior of random guests at my house, they didn’t know either.

So I’m here to share my knowledge gleaned from experience, from reading, and from the dishwasher repairman.

1. Don’t rinse the dishes!

Yes, really. Do NOT rinse them.

(I figured you really didn’t need a picture to go with this one.)

Dishwasher soap is pH-balanced to work with dirty dishes. If you are rinsing your dishes, you are actually lessening the effectiveness of your detergent. Which means it won’t get them as clean.

Scrape the larger food particles off, and put them in there dirty. Yes, dirty.

I promise I do it all the time.

2. Load it full, and stack the dishes.

2015-05-18 19.58.37Yes, really. It’s hard to see in this picture, but there’s a clear glass bowl underneath the other bowls. And yes, that’s a dog food bowl on the top.

Confession: These are my dirty dishes right before I started the dishwasher. Hence, no closeup.

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Here’s my top rack. Cups, glasses, plastics, lids, and yes, more dog food bowls.

Another confession: I don’t run my dishwasher every day. I run it about every 2-3 day, either when it’s full or when it gets smelly, whichever comes first.

Once in a while I have a little residue, say, two spoons stick together or a couple of bowls moved during the washing process. But if I do, it’s only a little.

See how much work I’m saving you? 😀

3. Place like silverware together. 

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This is a tidbit I picked up from a colleague a few years ago that’s nothing short of brilliant. Why didn’t I think of this? Kudos to you if you’re already doing it!

Place all your forks together. (No worries, these are clean.)

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And, all your spoons.   I usually put the knives in the middle.

It saves a ton of time when you’re putting them away!

4. Run hot water.

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Turn on your faucet, let it run until the water is hot; THEN turn on your dishwasher.

This is probably one of the biggest factors in getting your dishes clean. Think about it…is the first cycle your dishes go through mostly cold water? HelLO! 😀 Try this and see if you don’t notice a difference immediately.

5. Don’t overuse a rinse aid.

Rinse aids are like cocktails and fine chocolates. A little goes a long way and is delightful, but too much is too much. And too much can seriously damage your dishwasher.

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This is what I use. I like that it’s all in one little cube, with no plastic coating. Pre-measured, so I don’t use too much. And with no plastic, it’s not only better for us but better for the environment.

If you are currently using a liquid rinse aid, do NOT use cubes with additional rinse aid in it. Using too much detergent and rinse aid helps keep our dishwasher repairmen in business.

I can neither confirm nor deny how I know this. 😉

Try some of these tips the next time you run your dishwasher, and let me know how it goes.

Happy Washing!

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