November 1, 2014

Get Cleaner Dishes Out of Your Dishwasher

We’re always scouring the web for the best appliance tips. Recently The New York Times offered this advice:

    Simply scrape your dishes, don’t pre-wash. The detergent goes after the food.

    Use just enough detergent. This is determined by how dirty they are, not how many dishes are in the load.

    Powdered detergent works better than liquid or tablets.

    Load properly, glasses on top, pots and pans on the bottom and don’t let items nest together. You can check your manual for the best way to load your particular dishwasher. Also, don’t impede the free movement of the sprayer arm.

    Streaks and spots are caused by water droplets and are not permanent. A rinse aid will help prevent them.

My favorite tip: Open the dishwasher immediately after the cycle ends. The dishes are at their hottest and will dry very quickly, leaving shiny dishes with no spots.

Dishwasher Power Wars-Plus a Little Advice

Here’s a fun story straight from the Wall Street Journal:

Marriage counselors say one of the biggest issues that couples fight over is money. But many of us know what’s really the most contentious battleground in the home: the dishwasher.

Except for the family dog, perhaps nothing in the house is louder or wetter, breaks more things, or causes more fights than the dishwasher. It’s just an appliance, but in many families the dishwasher becomes a stainless-steel-and-ceramic metaphor for marital power. Who loads it, how it gets loaded, how often should it be run, and when did it last get emptied – all these questions are like a fuse on a pack of TNT. One spark and there’s a conflagration.

I, of course, know that my method of loading the machine is best: Don’t rinse first, which wastes precious water and time. And silverware goes in tines and blades DOWN, thank you, so you don’t skewer yourself unloading later.

But others disagree. Tines UP, please, and always prewash.

A straw poll around the office reveals that many couples staunchly stick to the method they learned growing up. That means visiting family members who want to “help” in the kitchen can compound the problem. Woe to the well-meaning in-law who puts pot lids on the top instead of the bottom. Or worse, moves things around. Marriages have broken up over less.

One colleague says he always runs the machine immediately once it’s loaded, so no one goes in to rearrange. Another says he divides people into two categories: loaders and emptiers. He’s an emptier.

Dishwasher manufacturer Whirlpool offers some advice on its Web site: “It is not necessary to rinse the dishes before putting them into the dishwasher. The wash module removes food particles from the water.” And for silverware: “Mix items in each section of the basket with some pointing up and some down to avoid nesting. … Always load sharp items (knives, skewers, etc.) pointing down.”

But that’s not likely to end the dishwasher wars. Apologies to those of you who wash by hand (maybe you’re happier people!) but readers, do you find you fight over the dishwasher? And if so, how do you reach détente?