Are You Loading Your Dishwasher Correctly? Maybe Not, According to This Viral TikTok.

published Nov 6, 2022
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A person loading dishes into a dishwasher
Credit: Joe Lingeman

I would never call myself a dishwasher aficionado, but I always thought I had the basics of getting a full load safely in and out of the cycle down pat — that is, until now.

Like millions of others on TikTok this week, I watched creator Barbara “Babs” Costello (Brunch with Babs) break down the “proper” dos and don’ts of loading a dishwasher and I learned a few things.

The 73-year-old grandmother of eight’s video tutorial has a lot of people talking about dishwasher etiquette right about now. And, judging from the 4.7 million views, 600,000 likes and 5,000 comments it racked up so far, there’s a lot for new students like me to learn over at Bootcamp Babs.

Babs kicks off her lesson with her two biggest don’ts:

“Scrape, don’t rinse.” This trick will benefit you twofold, Babs insists. You’ll use less water and ensure the detergent will actually have some leftover food and grime to adhere to and work its magic on.

“Don’t put things in the dishwasher that don’t belong there.” You know, things like your good kitchen knives and anything wood, says Babs. It’s also a good idea to avoid putting crystal and cast iron cookware, among other things.

Babs continues by taking viewers on a tour of what goes where in the dishwasher, beginning with some of the most fragile dishes on the list. Spoiler alert: She says all fragile dishes “belong on the top shelf,” no exceptions. But you should also remember to nestle them between the prongs on the shelf, not over. (Another small detail many commenters confessed to never being told before.)

What else belongs on the top shelf of the dishwasher, according to Babs’ method? Small bowls. Just remember, they shouldn’t overlap each other. Your wine glasses should also go on the prongs and be inserted top down. If you have a stemware stabilizer on the side of the shelf — you know, that piece that flaps down to secure things in place — use it to give the fragile glassware extra support, Babs shares.

Babs goes on to drop one dishwasher loading gem after another in her viral video, including one that proved to be the most surprising to those watching: The top shelf of most dishwashers drops down to make more room for tall wine glasses. Yes, really. Simply pull the lever or press the button (check your model’s manual for instructions), drop it down and slide your rack back into place to start your wash cycle. When it’s time to unload your dishes, you can raise the top shelf back into place simply by lifting it back up.

Watch Babs’ full video to learn more about where to safely place large utensils and how to arrange the dinner plates for optimal cleaning.

What are your dishwashing dos and don’ts? Tell us in the comments!