How to Load a Dishwasher

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There are ways to load a dishwasher that lead to disappointing dishes. And then there’s how to correctly load a dishwasher to get dazzling dishes every time. Read on for advice about proper placement and how to arrange your dishes. And find even more helpful knowledge in our full dishwashing guide. Pick up enough tips and you’ll never again suffer the heartbreak of re-cleaning.

1. Can it Go in the Dishwasher?

A dishwasher may be too rough for prized kitchen items. Be sure to follow these simple guidelines if you’re not sure an item is dishwasher safe.

2. Remove Excess Food

If you're up for a workout, grab a wooden spatula and scrape whatever stuck-on food you can into the trash. Feel the burn now, get cleaner dishes later.

Scraping dirty food off of plates and loading into dishwasher without a pre wash

3. Skip the Pre-Rinse

If you're using a premium ActionPacs™, there's no need to pre-wash dishes before you place them in the dishwasher. Special enzymes in each pac latch on, break down and wash away food, so feel free to skip the sink.

4. Load the Bottom Rack

Put plates and messy, burnt-on pots and pans on the bottom rack facing the water source. Typically, the water source is in the center of the machine, and you want as clear a path as possible between the spray and your dirty dishes.

5. Load the Top Rack

Place cups, mugs, and bowls facedown on the top rack. This way they’ll get cleaned better and won’t collect water, which can leave behind unsightly deposits. This tip also works for wine glasses and other glassware. To further fight water deposits, the sheeting action of Cascade Rinse Aid will help keep drops from clinging to your dishes and drying into spots and streaks.

Loading glass dishware and dirty plastic containers in top rack of dishwasher

6. Prevent Melting Plasticware

Plasticware also belongs on the top rack. Temperatures typically remain cooler on the top rack, which will prevent plastic from melting. This is perfect for baby items that get used over and over, day after day—these parents don’t have time for sleep, much less hand-cleaning bottles and nipples.

7. Loading Silverware – Save Your Skin

You don’t want your spoons to spoon, so carefully load utensils to prevent nesting, and distribute them evenly in the silverware compartments. Load knives and other cutlery with the sharp end down. The pointy bits are meant for your food, not your fingers.

8. Use Cascade Platinum Plus

A premium ActionPac and rinse aid will deliver sparkling results with no pre-washing—and they’re the easiest things to load! Just drop one ActionPac into the dry detergent compartment and fill up the rinse aid dispenser before starting your dishwasher.

Placing Cascade Platinum dishwasher pod before running dishwasher

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