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

updated Feb 24, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

If you have a home with dishwasher, it probably save you loads of time on hand-washing. But dishwashers, as quick and thorough as they are, can also wreak havoc on your kitchenware when they’re not used thoughtfully. Delicate glassware, for example, could easily shatter in a dishwasher, while a wooden cutting board or spoon might end up split. 

To prevent those common dishwasher mistakes — and to make sure your dishwasher can do its job cleaning the pieces that do belong in it — it’s important to get into a habit of double-checking your load before you run it. 

Your check should look like this: On top of ensuring everything inside is dishwasher safe, make sure you’ve done a good job scraping extra food off your plates and silverware (you do not need to rinse them clean, though!). And make sure everything is facing down or toward the spraying arm. (If anything is blocking the sprayer arm, you will need to find a new spot for it or take it out completely.)

Credit: Joe Lingeman

That said, there’s one more simple thing you should add to your dishwasher-check before you start it: Shake both racks to make sure nothing can jiggle around and break.

This is key, whether you’re running either a partial or a very full load. If stuff has room to jiggle around, it will definitely jiggle around once the water starts streaming in. And then you run the risk of things breaking or getting damaged. Just give the racks a shake. If things shift around or bump into each other, you’ll need to rearrange some pieces or even take some things out to hold for the next load or to wash by hand. (And don’t just jam the dishwasher so full that pieces are wedged in there super tight — because that will compromise the dishwasher’s ability to clean thoroughly.) Yes, it’s a slightly delicate balancing act, but checking off this step is sure to be less annoying than cleaning out broken glass from your dishwasher.

More Brilliant Dishwasher Tips

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