1. Use less dishwasher detergent. No, even less than that!
Dishwasher detergent is a key part of the cleaning cycle, but too many of us use far too much detergent without even realising. Figuring out the right amount of detergent to use in order to get the optimal cleaning level is absolutely crucial to not only your washing up, but the health and longevity of your dishwasher more broadly
2. Load plates so that they face the center
Loading your plates so that they face the center of the dishwasher is really important. The spray handle is positioned in the middle of the dishwasher, working from the center out. This means that positioning things in the middle makes them easier to clean, with more effective results first time.
3. Add a bowl full of vinegar every once in a while
Adding a small bowl of vinegar at the top of the rack before putting a cycle on plays a huge role in improving the dishwasher functionality. This is a key part of the process of protecting against staining caused by hard water and is a quick fix when your dishwasher needs a clean.
4. Or consider an actual rinse aid
Rinse aid is something else that can make a big difference to hard water areas by helping protect your dishes from hard water spots. It also allows them to dry more easily and effectively as well, so make sure you stock up now in order to really optimise the experience.
5. Try the detergent our editor-in-chief swears by
Our editor-in-chief is absolutely all-in on making the right choices in terms of household products, and this one winds up helping them get the cleanest and freshest dishes every single time. Grab Green is one of the leading detergent choices and one of their absolute favorites in terms of value for money.
6. Use a mesh laundry bag
Mesh laundry bags are more commonly found protecting delicates in the washing machine, but you probably didn’t know that they can be used to help protect small dishwasher items. This way, you can keep your bits and bobs clean whilst ensuring they don’t get lost in the cycle.
7. And a wire dish rack
Wire dish racks are an essential part of any dishwasher, and a key part of being able to hold items in place to effectively clean them without damage. It’s not just down to how you stack it, the wire rack itself is an essential component in making sure you’re using your dishwasher in the most effective way, for the best results again and again.
8. Clean it
It’s the one you don’t want to hear! Keeping up with dishwasher maintenance is super important for making sure your appliance is functioning effectively, and this is why you need to come up with a cleaning schedule. Proper dishwasher maintenance is essential for continuing to get your dishes as clean as possible and make your dishwasher survive long term.
9. Put it to use cleaning some surprising things
A great hack that you can use to make better use of your dishwasher is to use it to clean some more surprising things that you might never consider putting in the dishwasher. Light switch covers, flip flops, and so many more are among the things that you can clean in your dishwasher! Who’d have thought it.
10. Unload the bottom first
Unloading the bottom rack first is one of the best tips you can use when it comes to looking after and using your dishwasher better. This is because of the fact that things on the top can have water pooled that might spill onto the stuff below, so it makes sense to unload the underneath rack first in order to avoid wetting your freshly cleaned goods.
11. Mix up your silverware basket
Mixing up the cutlery in your rack is the best way of being able to keep it clean, and this is something that is definitely recommended to make the most of your dishwasher. The issue with putting all the forks together is that they are more likely to nest into one another, which restricts their chances of getting truly clean. So, you should mix up the silverware basket to make sure your cutlery cleans properly.
12. Run your sink’s faucet for a bit before you start the dishwasher
Running the sink’s faucet before you actually turn on your cycle is really important, as this is a great way of being able to ensure your first wash will run hot instead of cold. This is really important for helping to properly clean the contents of the dishwasher, and is a key step in the winter months that many aren’t aware of!
13. Stop rinsing your dishes
Did you know that rinsing your plates too much can actually lead to the soap not working properly? Well, this is actually true, so you need to make sure you don’t rinse your plates off too much before actually putting them in the dishwasher; scraping off food in advance is fine (and actually recommended!) though.
14. Keep expensive knives outta there
An expensive pair of knives is a wonderful addition to any kitchen, but you need to make sure you don’t jeopardise your new blades by putting them in the dishwasher. This is something that can really cause an issue longer term, as dishwasher cycles can lead to the blunting of blades over time, making those knives redundant.
15. Beware of the sprayer arm
The sprayer arm is a hugely important part of the dishwasher process and it is something that you need to take care of if you want to clean those dishes properly. Make sure you never block this handle, because doing so is going to negatively impact the cleaning process. Look out for where you are positioning the handles of your pans so that they don’t block this arm.
16. Use it as a drying rack
A lot of dishwashers are pretty versatile, and one of the best things you can use it for is as a drying rack once you have washed up your plates and cups. This is really great if you don’t have a drying rack at home, or if space is a premium in your kitchen! It’s a multipurpose space.
17. Use the door to apply cooking spray
Cooking spray is very versatile and there are a lot of times in which you might need to use it! In order to apply cooking spray in the most tidy and neat way possible, why not open up your dishwasher door and spray the items there instead? It’s going to get washed anyway, so saves on the additional effort of constantly wiping surfaces!
18. Turn it into a plate warmer
Another great way in which you can use your dishwasher in a more versatile way is to make sure you use it as a plate warmer. You might find that a lot of dishwashers actually have a ‘Plate Warmer’ setting and making use of this in the colder months comes with many advantages – not least keeping your food warmer for longer.
19. Save your old dishwasher baskets
Much like saving ice cube trays for when you get a new fridge-freezer, you should also look to save you old dishwasher baskets. These are ideal for when you get a new appliance, as they are a great way of creating additional storage space in your new dishwasher. Alternatively, you can use them as storage options when not full or on a cycle.
20. Give the manual a read
It’s a boring one, but referring to the manual does come with a few advantages, even if you think you know it all. Perhaps the most important, though, is that many dishwasher manuals provide a diagram from providers on the optimal way to load. This is, of course, essential for bragging rights between you and your partner. Ensure you consult the manual to put this debate to bed!
21. Don’t run it when it’s half full
If you want to live a greener and more environmentally friendly life, one of the worst and most wasteful things you can do is to run your dishwasher cycle when it isn’t full. This is something that you need to make sure you avoid wherever you can, and try to ensure you always fill your appliance before you put a cycle on.
22. But don’t overload it
One the other side of that, it is also important to ensure that you don’t overfill your dishwasher as well. Overfilling the appliance means that it can’t clean your plates and cutlery effectively, leaving them dirty and in need of a second wash. Overfilling can prevent water from being able to flow to the necessary areas in order to provide the right cleaning experience.
23. Load from back to front
Loading from back to front is an important hack, but it’s also just common sense. You put stuff in the front to begin with, then you won’t have room to reach to the back without things being in the way, and this is going to stop you being able to load it up effectively. Loading from back to front simply makes it easier to load the dishwasher – duh!
24. Put delicates on the top
The top rack is the best place for delicates, such as plastic and glasses, and this is largely due to the fact that the temperature and water pressure are a little lower higher up. This way, you are able to ensure you keep them clean, without compromising on the integrity of these delicate items.
25. Clean the dishwasher seals
Keeping the seals of your dishwasher clean and gunk free is absolutely essential for ensuring that the machine is functioning as effectively as possible. Making sure you clean your appliance thoroughly is important, and focusing on the seals is a great way of being able to achieve this.
26. Get one of those magnets that tells people whether the dishwasher’s contents is clean or dirty
This is a fun and useful way of providing your family or roommate with an indicator of the status of play with the dishwasher. They need to know whether they can put their dirty mug in or not, and this is a cool and useful way of ensuring you can get this message across.
27. Wash dirty stuff with equally dirty stuff
Making sure you have the same level of consistency with your dirty plates is important, and this is why you need to ensure you wash dirty stuff with equally dirty stuff. If you have really dirty plates, it might be an idea to clean them by hand and keep the dishwasher for the slightly soiled ones in order to ensure a consistent and effective clean.
28. Pick up some tine caps
Over time, the ends of tines can become rusted, which means that they will be sharp and more pronounced. This, of course, increases the risk of scratching yourself when loading and unloading. As such, it is essential to make sure you get some plastic tine caps to place over the top, helping you to avoid injury wherever you can.
29. Clean it with Kool-Aid.
It is important to think about how you can keep your dishwasher clean, hygienic, and smelling nice! One of the weirdest but best things you can do now and again to help with this is to use Kool-Aid. We certainly wouldn’t recommend doing this all the time, but now and again is perfectly fine if it’s in need of a fruity boost.
30. Don’t panic and think that dirty dishes are a sign you need a new dishwasher
Dirty dishes are not necessarily a sign of a broken down dishwasher, so there’s no need to panic just yet! In fact, there are a lot of reasons why your dishes might be coming out of the washer dirty, such as loading wrong, using the wrong kind of soap, or not rinsing effectively.
31. Manage the smell long-term
Dishwashers can develop an unpleasant smell if they are left for too long, not maintained, or the door is continually kept closed. by leaving the door ajar when you aren’t using it, you encourage airflow, and prevent the build-up of mold and, inevitably, bad smells.
32. Use an old toothbrush to help with cleaning
There are lots of different ways of being able to clean your dishwasher effectively and, for those hard to reach areas, using an old toothbrush can really help with this. You can use it to clean the small crevices of the dishwasher to ensure it is properly cleaned throughout.
33. You can even cook in your dishwasher
Believe it or not, you can actually cook in your dishwasher! Amazingly, if you want to poach something like salmon, you can pop it in a foil parcel, stick it on the top rack, and turn the dishwasher on, placing it on its highest setting. It won’t work for everything, obviously, but it is pretty neat!
34. Clean your makeup brushes
Makeup brushes can get covered in gunk and makeup, and they eventually need to be cleaned – something many of us overlook. One of the best (and most unique!) ways of being able to achieve this is by popping them in the dishwasher to clean them, with cleaner brushes preventing skin irritation further down the line.
35. Sterilize your kids toys
Kids toys pick up bacteria and dirt when they are used, it’s a common fact of life. A handy way to get them back to being clean, sterile and safe, however, is by popping them into the dishwasher! Obviously, you need to check what they’re made of first. For smaller pieces, you could even use a mesh laundry bag so they don’t get lost.
36. Use a bread sponge
A bread sponge is something that can be used to clean up shards of broken glass within the dishwasher. If something breaks, you can press a piece of bread along the bottom of the washer to collect the really small shards that can’t be picked up by hand. Who knew?!
37. Lower the top shelf to fit more in
One of the best hacks you can use to maximize your dishwasher usage is to lower the top shelf in order to fit more in. Apparently, there are two buttons on the top rack that allows you to adjust the position of the rack as much as possible. Many people don’t know this, so it’s worth checking to see if your dishwasher has this option!
38. Use a dish towel as a sponge
One of the best ways of being able to dry the dishes faster without having to wait for everything to dry is to grab a dish towel, pop it over the top of the door, and close it for ten minutes. The towel will absorb all of the water and leave the contents dry, ready to be put back in their rightful places.
39. Use tinfoil for shining cutlery
An amazing dishwasher hack to helop you get bright, shiny and silvery cutlery is to ball up some tinfoil and pop it into the cutlery basket before you put on your wash. Perhaps surprisingly, this will leave your knives and forks shiny and scratch-free!
40. Clean your keyboard
You might be surprised to discover that you can actually put some keyboards in the dishwasher to keep them clean! You can leave them a few days afterward to dry out, ready for use again. Although this isn’t something most manufacturers would recommend, it has been said to work well for older keyboards.