The Brilliant (and Free!) Way to Make More Space in Your Dishwasher

published Feb 13, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Whether you’re looking at your usual pile of dishes or you just hosted a dinner party, you know that dishwasher real estate — even in the biggest machines — is valuable space. I’ve got two snack-happy kids who use more cups, dishes, and bowls than my husband and me (grown adults who enjoy a nightly dinner cocktail), so it always feels like things are a bit cramped when it comes time to load the dishwasher. 

I especially encounter problems when I’m trying to wash the mac-and-cheese pot, colander, and Instant Pot liner in the bottom rack. (Yes, I make my kids a separate dinner. Yes, it’s worth the extra dishes.) Between these larger kitchen items and the sheer number of plastic snack bowls we go through on a daily basis, sometimes I end up doing two loads to knock out one day’s worth of dishes — which feels like a waste of both time and water. 

The other day, though, as I was trying to cram a platter in the crevices between my kids’ sticky plates, I had a revelation: The for my dishwasher-space problem was literally right in front of my eyes. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

You can remove the utensil baskets that most dishwashers have on the bottom rack. I know it’s counterintuitive, but simply removing these baskets creates room for at least three or four more plates, or even a large mixing bowl (depending on the shape of your utensil basket).

While the dishwasher is doing its work on the bigger stuff, you can soak or hand wash the utensils. Or, if you’re like me, and your household uses far more plates, bowls, and glasses than forks and spoons (thank you, finger foods and wine), you might not have to worry about the silverware at all. 

Either way: Consider this your annual reminder that sometimes the most important kitchen hacks are the most obvious ones. Happy (and efficient!) washing to you and yours!

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