How to Load a Dishwasher

We avoid thinking about the dishwasher any more than necessary, but turns out a little bit of know-how goes a long way. Whirlpool's Sandra Steward shares some dirty tricks.
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fully loaded

1) Cereal Bowls
Small bowls should stand at attention, lined up along the center of the top drawer. Have the rear ones face forward and the front ones face backward so the center sprayer can reach them all.

2) Stinky Storage Containers
When leftovers have left the building, stick plastic containers and lids in the top rack. They can melt and warp if they get too close to the machine's steamy underbelly.

3) Slimy Cutting Boards
Send these suckers to the sidelines. Line them and other flat pieces (like greasy cookie sheets) around the side or back edges, facing inward. They won't block water flow, which shoots out from the center.

4) Steak Knives
There's no right way to place forks and spoons. Toss them into the utensil basket at random to prevent nesting. But position dinner knives tip up, and keep sharp prep knives out altogether -- their blades may dull.

5) Rubber Ducky
When anything durable, like kid or dog toys, needs washing, everyone in the pool! Lay these items down in the racks or stick them in the utensil basket. Wash unlike items (such as your dirty hubcaps and your toothbrush) in separate loads.

6) Caked-on Casserole Dish
The dreaded, dried-up messes on serving bowls and pots need the most intense spray power and heat, so place them facedown or at a slight angle in the bottom drawer.

7) Salad Tongs
Avoid standing up serving utensils in the silverware basket, where they can catch in the top drawer. Rest plastic and metal ones on the top rack. (Hand-wash wood items to avoid cracks.)

8) Coffee Mugs
Secure these and other narrow items facedown in the outer channels of the top drawer. Rest them between the tines, not over, so food and soap don't get caught inside.

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