In my experience, there are two kinds of dishwasher users: people who have figured out the right way to load the dishwasher, and people who really don’t care. Also in my experience, those two camps of people tend to marry each other and spend the rest of their lives complaining about the other’s method of loading or critiquing the other’s loading technique (sorry, husband of mine).
And even among those who load the dishwasher the so-called right way, I’ve noticed we all have different techniques. I learned this when my parents came to visit recently: Although I believe I load the dishwasher the right way, my dad had to make some changes.
Of course, the whole reason for filling the dishwasher the right way is to make the loading, cleaning cycle, and unloading of the dishwasher go as seamlessly as possible. This post focuses on the unloading part. (Coincidentally, how you load it can affect how easy it is to unload it.) Here are three smart tips that’ll make unloading the dishwasher way easier—even if you don’t really care how it gets loaded.
1. Unload the bottom first.
I suspect many of us have learned this the hard way: If you unload the top first, the bottom dishes will most likely get wet. That’s because the lightweight items (plastic cups and containers) tend to get flipped upside down by the dishwasher’s strong jets of water. Then, they fill with water and just wait for you to pull out that top rack so they can spill everywhere. But if you unload the bottom rack first, you minimize your risk; the bottom dishes come out dry, and any spilling that happens goes onto an empty rack. No problem!
2. Sort as you load.
If you load like with like, it makes things quicker to unload. The place where most people apply this is to the utensils: Sort the spoons with the spoons (if you have a basket versus a rack, load some handle-up and others handle-down, to discourage nesting), forks with each other, etc., so that you can quickly grab a handful and throw them into a drawer.
I also find this particularly satisfying in the plates department: If I put all my kids’ melamine plates in a row, and all of our regular dishware in another, it makes quick work of pulling out a stack and putting it right into the cabinet.
3. Use a mesh bag.
I learned this technique recently, and it’s saved me tons of time fishing for water-bottle parts and teeny storage-container lids in the depths of the dishwasher: Toss all your itty-bitty items into a mesh laundry bag and then put it on the top rack. The pieces will get clean without flying all over, and you can pull out the whole bag at once to sort them back into their drawers.