How should you put away a dishwasher?

A dishwasher is a great invention. After all, you no longer have to wash dishes by hand, and the time saved is enormous. In addition, the dishes are nice and clean and most devices have a drying program so that the dishes come out of the machine sparkling clean. However, when sorting dishes, mistakes can also happen, so that the dishes do not get properly clean or glasses even get broken. In the following article, we want to discuss how to properly put the dishes and cutlery into a dishwasher, so that the device keeps what it promises. True to the motto from the advertising: “Then it works with the neighbor”.

Is it necessary to pre-wash the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher?

This frequently asked question should be answered first before we get to the topic of putting dishes in the dishwasher, because many people think that the dishwasher can’t handle stubborn leftovers.

But: the answer to the question is usually “NO”. As we have already explained in detail in our article “Pre-rinse dishes”, basically only coarse food residues should be removed from the dishes and the dishwasher can then take care of the rest. Anything else would be nonsense from both an ecological and financial point of view, since twice as much water is consumed. This is also the opinion of many experts.

Also of interest: Cleaning the dishwasher filter is why it’s so important

What should not be put in the dishwasher?

On some dishes you will find a notice like “dishwasher safe” or a symbol of a small dishwasher with a plate. Unfortunately, this principle is not common practice in UK, so you mainly have to pay attention yourself to what dishes you put in the machine. What you should better not put in the dishwasher is:

  • Wooden cutting boards
  • cutlery prone to rust
  • dishes made of brass or copper
  • vegetable grater
  • delicate glasses
  • porcelain with decoration
The reason: especially for the last two things, the pieces can be damaged or fade due to the machine wash cycle. Especially very fine pieces are susceptible in the machine. Here you should rather wash everything by hand. A detailed explanation of what does not belong in the dishwasher under 500, you can read in this post.

A small guide on how to put in the dishwasher

Step 1: Remove coarse food residues on the plates.

We are talking here about coarse but only slightly adherent food residues, such as bread crumbs or meat scraps that have not been eaten. Attention: this is organic waste.

The reason for this is to prevent the leftovers from settling on other dishes first or clogging the sieves.

Step 2: Put the cutlery basket away

Put away the dishwasher. While it sounds like a good idea to put away all the knives next to each other and then all the forks, spoons, etc., it only sounds good. Because it’s actually better for the dishwashing process when there’s chaos in the cutlery basket. By putting forks, knives and spoons in the cutlery basket in a jumbled way, they get rinsed around better.

With cutlery, it is recommended that the items are placed in the cutlery basket with the handle facing downwards. This has the advantage that food residues are best removed from the cutlery.

Caution: There is a risk of injury with knives and forks!

An exception should be made for large kitchen utensils such as bread knives or ladles. These are better off in the upper dishwasher basket on the side fold-down rack. If you were to put them in the cutlery basket as well, the pieces sticking up too far would interfere with the dishwashing arms and negatively affect the rinsing process. Also, keep in mind that high-quality kitchen knives do not belong in the dishwasher.

Also of interest: The dishwasher no longer cleans properly

Step 3: Put large and heavily soiled dishes in the lower basket.

Large and bulky items such as pots, dinner plates and pans belong in the lower dishwasher basket. Place them in the quietest dishwasher with the opening facing downwards, so that they stand securely and are rinsed around from all sides in the best possible way, without residual water and food residue settling there at the end of the wash cycle. Dishes that are particularly heavily soiled are best aligned in the direction of the spray arms so that they can be treated directly and intensively. In addition, the temperatures are highest in this part.

Step 4: Put glasses, cups and small parts in the lower basket.

Small items and delicate dishes belong in the upper basket. These include:

  • glasses and cups
  • small parts
  • small bowls
  • lunch boxes

Glasses and cups should be placed in a slightly tilted position in order to achieve the best dishwashing results. You can also place cups in the corners of the dishwasher basket, they will still get clean.

Step 5: Remove cutlery and dishes

Once the rinse program has run through, the dishes are usually still very hot. Open the door to allow the warm air to escape more quickly.

Once the air in the dishwasher has cooled, you can remove the dishes from the lower rack first. The reason you should clear out the lower basket first is that otherwise the plates and pots will be dripped wet again by the dishes on the upper level.

Also of interest: Dishwasher leaks and runs out – what to do?

More tips on how to properly put away the dishwasher

After the instructions on how to put away the dishwasher, we would now like to give you some more tips:

  • Don’t overload the dishwasher – Especially when there are a lot of dishes at once, you are inclined to put all the items in the dishwasher immediately after use. However, if you cram the appliance too full, you risk damaging your dishes. Delicate glasses in particular need a firm footing and should stand securely in the dishwasher basket. If there is not enough space between the pieces, they will bump into each other during washing and break. Holders for cups and glasses are useful and should be used by you.
  • Leave enough space – In the same way, you should make sure that there is enough space between the individual parts. Because: where there is no space, no water can go. And only there something can also become clean.
  • Do not place parts loosely on top of each other – In this way, so-called spray shadows could form, which means that the water can no longer reach the entire dishes.
  • No high stacking – As already described, dishes should not be stacked too high, as this hinders the rinsing arms and makes proper rinsing impossible.

Also of interest: Too much foam in the dishwasher: causes and remedy


Follow this advice when putting dishes in the dishwasher under 300, and the dishes and silverware will come out sparkling clean again. Furthermore, you should not always use the same rinse program and always top up with sufficient rinsing salt – no matter how good the rinsing agent you use is, because limescale can permanently impair the functionality of your machine and the rinsing result.

David Shaw

David Shaw

Dishwashers expert with over 10 years of experience. He writes articles and shares his knowledge on many sites. Helps you choose the best (portable, countertop, built-in) dishwashers on this site.

Dishwashers Review in UK