Tag Archives: Dishwasher Tips

How to Load the Dishwasher

The proper way to load a dishwasher is often the subject of spirited spousal debate. If you follow some basic ground rules for loading your dishwasher, your dishes will emerge cleaner;Loading Dishwasher however a few special circumstances warrant further exploration. Read on to learn some tips and tricks for maximizing your dishwasher’s cleaning power.

Dishwasher Loading Basics

The first rule of dishwasher loading is that soil level correlates directly to space requirements. In other words, the dirtier the dishes, the fewer you can pack in. Place larger and more soiled dishes on the bottom, so they can take full advantage of the proximity of the water’s cleansing action. Whenever possible, tip glasses, cups and bowls at an angle, facing toward the machine’s center, to facilitate water run-off and drying. Most experts advise removing large food particles, but they stress that rinsing is not necessary. Dishwasher detergent is formulated to tackle any food residue and carry it away with the rinse water.

The Finer Points

Take care not to overcrowd the machine, as this will diminish its capacity to clean each individual item. Although your mother may have demanded that all the plates face the same direction, that’s only half true. Face your plates inward, toward the center, alternating large and small sizes. This means that half will face one direction and the rest will face the other way. Cups and glasses should go between the tines on the top rack, rather than over them. Space these items far enough apart that they don’t touch, otherwise they may chip or crack. The unit’s heating coil is located at the bottom, and for this reason, dishwasher-safe plastic items should go on the top so they don’t get melted or warped.

Additional Helpful Hints

Ensure that your flatware is scattered throughout the basket, and not nesting with its friends, to ensure the most effective cleaning. Load large items such as baking sheets and cutting boards around the perimeter of the bottom rack. Some experts suggest running hot water in the sink before starting the dishwasher, to ensure that the cycle starts out with sufficient heat. Finally, run your disposal for a few seconds prior to starting a cycle also, to be sure the sink doesn’t back up while the machine is running. You may have to experiment with different brands and types of detergent to determine which kind works best for your needs.

If your dishwasher just isn’t getting the job done, no matter what you try, this may indicate a bigger problem. In northern Utah, Complete Appliance Repair will inspect the unit and provide a full contingent of maintenance services designed to produce clean dishes as well as ensure efficient operation. With proper maintenance, your dishwasher can make the dishes sparkle every time, no matter how you load it.

Surprising Things You Can Put in the Dishwasher

Your dishwasher, godsend that it is, is probably even more useful than you realize. In fact, one professional organizer recently referred to it as a “multi-purpose cleaning apparatus.” Having Dishwasheralready covered some things you shouldn’t put in your dishwasher, here is a list of surprisingly helpful things that CAN go through a dish cycle successfully, emerging more sparkly clean and fresh that anything washed by hand. One caveat for these: If the item is not related to food or its consumption, it’s probably better not to include any regular dishes in the same wash load!

Personal Care Items

Toothbrushes, hair brushes, combs and makeup brushes (no wood handles) come out clean and germ-free. Include toothbrush holders and soap dishes while you’re at it.

Refrigerator Shelves and Drawers

The dishwasher is a great way to get them clean and sanitary, and uses less water than hand washing. Check first to make sure your shelves and drawers are dishwasher-safe.

Artificial Plants and Plastic Flowers

They emerge looking like new, but don’t try this with silk flowers.

Range Hood and Stove Parts

Removable knobs and filters, especially those with greasy buildup, are a perfect fit.

Car Parts

Cup holders and removable storage bins are obvious choices for this cleaning method, but some automotive gurus claim to run their hubcaps and lug nuts through with great success as well, adding a cup of white vinegar to make them gleam.

Desk Accessories

Dusty pen cups, business card holders and in/out trays will all do well in the dishwasher, as long as they are plastic. Probably best to skip the stapler though!

Kitchen Sponges and Brushes

Experts say that you should run your dish sponge through the dishwasher frequently, if it’s not spent enough to throw away. Make sure you secure it in the top rack, however — if it comes loose and clogs your dishwasher, you might be looking at an expensive repair. As long as your water is hot enough, running a sponge through the dishwasher is the best way to kill bacteria, since you shouldn’t microwave sponges (despite common belief).


Many people use the rinse-only setting (no soap) to clean potatoes and other root vegetables with the skins on. In fact, wrapping peeled potatoes in foil and running them through a rinse cycle is said to cook them perfectly for mashing. If you’re really brave, do an Internet search for the “Dishwasher Salmon” recipe.

In Salt Lake City and the neighboring communities, Complete Appliance Repair knows how important your appliances are. They are committed to keeping your range, refrigerator and all your appliances working efficiently. If you’ve experimented unsuccessfully with your “multipurpose cleaning apparatus,” their experienced repair technicians can have your dishwasher back to making dinner (and cleaning up) in no time.

The Truth About Green Dishwasher Products

Green dishwasher products (such as detergents and rinse aids) have gained great popularity in the past few years thanks to a growing concern about chemicals and their affect on the environment. Experts agree that

Dirty Dishes in Dishwasher

automatic dishwashers are the most environmentally friendly way to clean your dishes but many consumers are concerned about the safety of commercial detergents. Here are some basic facts about green dishwashing products.

Do Natural Dishwasher Detergents Work?

As with many environmentally friendly products, the answer is “sometimes.” Natural products can be effective, depending on whether you pre-rinse your dishes and how much crusty build-up you expect your dishwasher to clean off. Or they may not be. Using the short wash cycle may not be enough to properly clean your dishes when using an environmentally friendly detergent. Many consumers have luck with organic detergents, even without pre-rinsing, if they have soft water. However, high mineral levels in water can prevent soap from cleaning properly so you may want to consider installing a water softener if you have this problem in your area.

Are Green Detergents Safe for My Dishwasher?

Some consumers report serious problems from using natural dishwashing detergents. Discoloration and build-up inside the dishwasher are the most common and in some cases, dishwashers require extensive repair or even replacement. If your dishwasher has a filter, natural detergents can cause problems there as well. Food particles may wash off the dishes successfully but wont’ break down the way they do with standard commercial detergents. The particles then build up in the filter, potentially causing clogs or preventing the water from draining.

What About DIY Dishwasher Detergent Recipes?

This is an area where you must tread VERY carefully. For example, many blogs recommend using white vinegar as a rinse aid, however doing so can ruin your dishwasher’s rubber parts. Many do-it-yourself dishwasher recipes contain ingredients that are actually harmful for the machine. Unless you are a specialist in organic chemistry, it may be difficult to know what’s safe and what’s not.

The bottom line about organic or natural dishwasher products is to approach with caution. If you are unable to verify that all ingredients are safe for your machine, you run the risk of voiding your warranty, facing expensive repairs or even having to replace your dishwasher. Caring for the environment is important but if natural products fail to clean your dishes or destroy your appliance, the cost outweighs the benefits. When it comes to green dishwasher products, be a careful and conscious consumer.

Dishwasher Maintenance Hints

Like any other major appliance, you can extend the life and improve the performance of a dishwasher by taking good care of it. Here are a few simple tips and tricks to help your dishwasher be all it can be without causing you un-necessary dishwasher repairs.

Periodic Inspection and Cleaning

It seems counterintuitive to clean the inside of a dishwasher, but it is necessary from time to complete appliance repair and service dishwasher repairtime, as well as to inspect the parts and pieces. With the dishwasher empty, inspect the spinning arms to see if they turn freely. Remove any debris from the filter in the bottom. Use a gentle cleaning solution (white vinegar and warm water works well) to clean around the door, including the gasket. Inspect the gasket for damage or separation. If there is mineral build-up inside the dishwasher, run one cleaning cycle with about one-fourth cup of white vinegar.

Pre-Scrape and Rinse Dishes

Be sure to rinse off your dishes before loading them if you want to achieve optimal dishwasher performance. Newer dishwashers are designed to use a smaller amount of water. As a result, having lots of food particles can easily clog the holes in the washer arms and potentially clog the filter and drainage hose. Some very high-end dishwashers have the equivalent to garbage disposers built-in; however, most dishwashers will become clogged when faced with food particles over time.

Use the Right Detergent, and the Right Amount

Never, ever use any product in the dishwasher that isn’t made specifically for dishwashers (well, except for maybe vinegar). Even a tiny bit of regular dish soap can cause the machine to overflow. If you have soft water, you need only ever use enough dishwasher detergent to fill half of the dispenser, and you don’t need to add detergent to the pre-soak dispenser unless your dishes are really soiled. With medium-hard water, fill the regular dispenser all the way but use only half the amount for pre-soak if your dishes are very soiled. Otherwise pre-soak detergent is not required. If your water is hard however, you must fill both containers for normally soiled dishes to come clean.

Should your dishwasher fail to perform properly despite following these simple tips, it may be time to have it looked at by a professional. Complete Appliance Repair and Service can inspect your machine and determine why it’s performing subpar. Before you know it, you’ll be back on the road to sparkling clean dishes!