7 Common Dishwasher Mistakes to Avoid if You Want Sparkling Clean Dishes
These bad cleaning habits could be making your dishes spotty and clouded.
If the cups, plates, and dishes pulled fresh out of your dishwasher are cloudy, speckled with water spots, or crusted with food remnants, one of these common dishwasher mistakes could be to blame. Fortunately, the fix may be as simple as changing how you load the dishwasher or buying a bottle of white vinegar. If you're ready to stop re-washing dishes after they've already gone through a wash cycle, start by stopping the bad habits below. Your dishes will be sparkling clean in no time.
Mistake 1: Loading All of the Utensils in the Same Direction
For the cleanest utensils, you want to avoid letting your spoons spoon. Alternate the direction you load spoons and forks so they won't nestle together, making it difficult for the water to hit every surface. Or if you have a slotted holder for utensils, use it!
Mistake 2: Not Cleaning the Machine Itself
Mistake 3: Loading Dishes in the Wrong Direction
When loading the dishwasher, pay attention to the sprayer arm at the bottom center of the machine. As you arrange bowls, plates, and cups, make sure that each piece has a clear, unobstructed path to the sprayer arm. You may want to load plates so that they face towards the center of the machine, making sure that the spray can reach each one.
Mistake 4: Overloading the Machine
Similar to a washing machine, an overloaded dishwasher isn't going to get the job done. And adding more to the machine in hopes of saving water by running less cycles won't work if you end up having to re-rinse the dishes later. Go ahead and fill the machine, but stop when you think surfaces can no longer be reached by the sprayer arm.
Mistake 5: Not Scraping the Dishes Before Loading Them
There is some debate among pro cleaners about whether or not to rinse dishes before loading them in the machine. Rinsing can actually make it harder for your machine to remove sauce and condiments, but if you don't, your machine may start to smell. Basically, if you use a lot of dishes and run your machine every day, scrape off food but skip the rinse. However, if you only run the machine every four or five days, give plates a quick rinse to avoid odors. In either case, always scrape food off of dishes (particularly rice), so that it doesn't get caught in the filter.
Mistake 6: Adding Extra Detergent
Extra detergent means extra-clean dishes, right? It sounds logical, but in reality, the extra detergent could leave a soapy film on glasses and cups. Instead, follow the directions on the packaging to get the best results.
Mistake 7: Not Using the Right Detergent for Your Water
If your freshly-washed glasses have spots or a chalky white residue, it's likely the result of hard water, or water with lots of minerals. An easy solution is to buy a dish detergent with a built-in water softener, such as Cascade Complete ActionPacs ($14, amazon.com). Your glasses have never looked so crystal clear.