How to Properly Stack a Dishwasher: 5 Simple Tips

Paradise Appliance
January 9, 2023
Dishwasher Repair

Stacking a dishwasher correctly is important for several reasons. First, it ensures that all the dishes are cleaned. When dishes are stacked haphazardly, water and soap can’t reach all of them, and they won’t come out as clean. Second, stacking a dishwasher correctly saves water and energy. If dishes aren’t properly aligned in the machine, water sprayers will have to work harder to clean them, using up more water and energy in the process. 

Finally, taking the time to stack a dishwasher correctly can help extend its lifespan. When dishes are constantly being crammed into the machine in an unorganized way, it puts unnecessary stress on the dishwasher and can lead to premature wear and tear.

How to get the most out of your dishwasher

1.  Avoid blocking the spray arm 

The spray arm spins in the middle of the dishwasher and is the main player during the wash and rinse cycle. Blocking the spray arm is one of the most common reasons your dishes are not coming out of the dishwasher clean. Avoid blocking the spray arms movement by only placing pans, chopping boards and other larger items that are still small enough to avoid touching the spray arms in the bottom tray. 

2.  Place plastics in the top basket 

The top basket of a dishwasher does not reach the same high temperatures as the bottom tray. Therefore, it is more suitable for plastics and avoids any warping of plastic containers. 

3. Avoid putting delicates in the dishwasher

Although it may be tempting to put all dishes in the dishwasher after a long day, some kitchenware is not designed to be washed in the dishwasher. Avoid placing kitchenware with wooden elements, silver, or china in the dishwasher. 

4. Evenly distribute dishes 

You should aim to evenly distribute dishes around the rack. If everything is crammed into one area, it’s more likely that some items won’t come out as clean as they could be and increases the chance that something gets damaged. 

5. Angle dishes downwards 

Angling dishes downwards not only helps with getting an effective clean but also assists with proper drying and draining. Large bowls or dishes should be placed at the back of the bottom rack and angled downwards and towards the center for a full load. Smaller plates slot into the gaps. 

How to arrange your dishes

In the top basket: 

Glassware, mugs, and bulky kitchenware 

Your drinking glasses and mugs are safe here. To keep things from rattling around in a wash and causing chipping and cracking, dividers are typically used in top baskets. Larger kitchen tools like spatulas and tongs can also be set flat in the bottom of the top basket.

Plastic bowls and containers  

Plastic is less prone to warping in the top basket because it typically doesn’t get as hot as the bottom one does. To prevent water from collecting inside your plastic containers after washing them, make sure they are facing downward. 

Wine glasses 

The majority of dishwashers allow you to lower the top basket so that you may safely fit taller objects such as wine glasses in it. 

In the bottom basket:


If your dishes aren’t fragile or prone to chipping, put them on the bottom rack. The bottom rack is designed for heavier duty cleaning, such as dinner plates and glass bowls.

Heavy duty cooking utensils 

Placing particularly dirty kitchenware near the center back of the bottom basket can help them receive the greatest clean. This area of the dishwasher often cleans more thoroughly and is warmer. It is therefore best for crockery, pots, and cutting boards. 


Depending on your dishwasher, cutlery is placed in the cutlery tray, or in a cutlery basket. If washing cutlery using a basket, ensure the pointed end of knives are always placed downward. This avoids any unintentional stabbing when handling the cutlery once it is washed. Spoons can be placed in either manner, mixing direction can prevent nesting.

Kitchenware to avoid putting in the dishwasher

Some kitchenware shouldn’t be washed in the dishwasher as it can be damaged by the high temperature, movement, or detergents. These include:

  • Silverware
  • Crystal and fine glassware including china 
  • Wooden cooking utensils and chopping boards
  • Utensils with bone handles
  • Cast-iron cookware
  • Copper pots and pans
  • Brass
  • Insulated mugs 

To rinse or not to rinse? 

Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to rinse dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. Dishwashers have an inbuilt rinse cycle that will rinse dishes before starting to wash them. These cycles use less water than hand rinsing. However, it is important to remove large scraps of food before loading them into the dishwasher. 

Maintaining your dishwasher 

Cleaning and maintaining a dishwasher is essential in order to keep it functioning properly. Dishwashers can accumulate dirt and grime over time, so it’s important to clean them on a regular basis. By following these tips, you can help to keep your dishwasher clean and well-maintained. This will extend its lifespan and ensure that it continues to function properly for years to come.

Here are some tips for cleaning and maintaining your dishwasher:

Clean the interior of the dishwasher with a vinegar solution once a month. This will help to remove any build-up that has occurred inside the machine.

Make sure to clean the filters on a monthly basis. This will ensure that they are free of debris and able to function properly.

Check the drainage system regularly to make sure that there is no blockage. A blocked drainage system can cause water to back up inside the dishwasher, leading to problems.

By following these simple tips, you can make sure that your dishwasher is running at peak efficiency and your dishes come out looking their best.


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