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Lets Dish: or How Hard Can It Be to Load the Dishwasher??

February 18, 2010
I’ve noticed in my office that we’ve fallen into some bad dishwasher behavior. Sometimes the dishes get stacked on top of each other for a mega-load, sometimes one or two dishes get washed at a time, and sometimes the sink just piles high waiting for some good soul, or our beleaguered office services crew, to put the dishes in the dishwasher.

I recently thought of posting this great NY Times article in the office kitchen as inspiration. I like that it spells out how to stack dishes and that it corroborates the fact that you don’t need to rinse your dishes beforehand,something I’ve always suspected. (Soap needs something to grab onto to really clean your dishes, so pre-rinsing – in addition to wasting water and the electricity to heat it – actually contributes to a permanent, cloudy effect called etching, which is when the detergent attacks the glass itself, rather than the food on it.)

There’s a lot more good, straight-forward advice about how to maximize space and energy with your dishwasher — including a tip suggesting that utensils should alternate pointing up and down to avoid nesting.  Since I work with a lot of visual learners I thought it might help to compile the stacking tips from  Consumer Reports and other online guides into one friendly diagram…

My favorite new piece of information from this article was that the best setting on the machine is the most basic – i.e., no speed drying, heat adding, turbo-powering. The normal wash setting is the one that has been most tested by the manufacturer and is therefore the most effective and efficient.  In addition my Times expert recommends a technique called “flash drying”, which entails opening the dishwasher as soon as the dishwasher shuts off.  The dishes are at their hottest, so the water will evaporate quickly as the colder outside air hits them, drying them in about 5-10 minutes. Fast, and no extra energy wasted by using the heat-dry setting.

And of course, only run full loads because it’s a better use of resources– less soap and water wasted on 2 or 3 dishes – but also because in half-loaded machines things can get knocked around, and that would further chip our office IKEA-ware.

I’m going to make the above suggestions to our Office Services crew, and maybe try to post the stacking guide and that very informative Times article next to the office dishwasher.   I imagine the creative types in our office improving on it graffiti-style, which would be all well and good. After all, designing the best way to make a space work is what they’ve been trained to do.

— by Briana

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Shehla permalink
    February 20, 2010 1:24 am

    Loading a dishwasher is an art too. Now I know exactly how to do it. Thanks!

  2. February 20, 2010 9:54 am

    Briana great information keep up the good work.

  3. Anne permalink
    March 23, 2010 3:10 pm

    This is great. I’m moving to an apartment with a dishwasher next week, and I’ve never had one before. Now I know exactly how to use it best.

    • March 23, 2010 3:14 pm

      I bet you are going to love having a dishwasher: I dream of one! Glad we could help you use it well!!

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