The pros share their tips, strategies, and techniques for loading a dishwasher the right way. 

By Grace Elkus
Updated January 12, 2018
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Top Rack

Best for drinking glasses, mugs, and bowls, plus anything glass or plastic, which could break or warp on the bottom rack (where heat is higher).

Don’t rest items over the tines. Use them as dividers to save space and prevent breakage. Place small bowls between tines, tilted downward toward the water spray.

Large utensils, such as whisks and ladles, can be laid in the top rack.

Bottom Rack

Best for larger items, such as dinner plates, casserole dishes, cookie sheets, serving platters, and pots and pans.

Cookie sheets and platters should be placed toward the back or along the sides of the dishwasher so they don’t block the water spray.

Dinner plates should face inward toward the spray. Load plates together by size.

Silverware Basket

Group like silverware together to save sorting time when you unload. Keep some forks and spoons pointing up and some pointing down to prevent nesting. Always load knives with handles up for safety.

Our Experts

  • Jill A. Notini, Vice President of Communications and Marketing at The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
  • Donna Smallin Kuper, certified housecleaning technician and author of Cleaning Plain & Simple