Our 10 Best Dishwasher Tips from 2020

updated Dec 17, 2020
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A person loading dishes into a dishwasher
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Using the dishwasher is as basic as it gets, right? Load it up, turn it on, and walk away. Basic! And yet, year after year we continue to have new things to say and discover about this handy appliance. Here are 10 of the best things we learned about our dishwashers this year — including smart ways to make it do a better job, protect your dishes, save energy, and more.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. There are five things that should always get tossed in the dishwasher if there’s room.

Are you making every single run of the dishwasher worth it? Before you run a load, stop to ask yourself if there’s room for any of these items. If there is, put them in. Every. Single. Time.

Read more: 5 Things You Should Always Throw Into the Dishwasher If There’s Room

2. Dishwasher tablets can be used to clean oven doors.

This tip is dishwasher-adjacent, in that it’s about dishwasher tablets. If you’re only using these things to, you know, wash dishes, you’re missing out. Turns out, dishwasher tablets are a secret weapon against the grease and grime that builds up on oven doors!

Read more: I Cleaned My Oven Door with a Dishwasher Tablet — Here’s How It Went

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. There’s one thing you should do before you run a cycle.

Don’t turn your dishwasher into a dish-breaker! Before you run a cycle, you really should jiggle the racks a little to see if anything clangs together. If so, that means you need to rearrange a bit. 

Read more: The One Thing You Need to Do Every Time Before You Run the Dishwasher

Credit: Joe Lingeman

4. Take comfort knowing that dishwashers don’t really use that much water or energy.

If you’ve been trying to save water or energy by nixing the dishwasher, back away from the sink. Despite what a lot of people think, doing dishes the old-fashioned way is less efficient on both counts. Just don’t run half-full loads (see tip 1!) and you’re golden!

Read more: 5 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Your Dishwasher

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. There are five smart things you can do to maximize space in there.

If you feel like you’re always dealing with a too-full dishwasher, there are a few smart things you can do to make more space. For starters: Take out that flatware caddy and you’ll have more space for cutting boards and platters.

Read more: 5 Surprising Ways to Maximize the Space in Your Dishwasher

6. You should run a dishwasher cleaner at least once every three months.

Wait, wash the washer? Don’t dishwashers get clean every time they run? According to the pros, you can save yourself a lot of trouble (and repair bills) if you keep them clean with a little attention once in a while. 

Read more: The Best Things You Can Do for Your Dishwasher, According to Appliance Repair Pros

7. And add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your next load.

Turns out, hydrogen peroxide is not good for disinfecting cuts and scrapes, but it is good for cleaning out the dishwasher from time to time!

Read more: You Should Add a Quarter-Cup of Hydrogen Peroxide to Your Next Dishwasher Load — Here’s Why

Credit: Cambria Bold

8. You can DIY a substitute for dishwasher detergent in a pinch.

What happens if you run out of dishwasher detergent and you’re not due to make grocery store run for a while? No worries, you’re not necessarily stuck with a sink full of things to hand-wash … as long as you have these staples on hand. 

Read more: Here’s What to Do If You Run Out of Dishwasher Detergent

9. You should skip the heated drying cycle.

Do you default to that heated dry cycle because that’s just what you’re supposed to do? Skip it. There are better options that save energy, and wear and tear on the appliance. 

Read more: Why You Shouldn’t Run Your Dishwasher’s Heated Drying Cycle

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

10. You really should leave the door open for a bit.

When you’re done unloading the dishwasher there’s one more tiny step; crack the door to let some air in there. You’ll thank us when your dishwasher stops getting that funky smell!

Read more: This Simple Trick Will Make Your Dishwasher Less Gross

Did you learn anything new about your dishwasher this year? Tell us in the comments below!