23 June 2012 @ 09:17 pm
Clampett's go to Beverly Hills  
This is so embarrassing to admit. I just bought my first house, and it has a dishwasher. I've never lived in a house with a dishwasher. I have no idea what I'm doing.

I know you are not supposed to put regular dish soap in it. Is powder or liquid soap better? Do you really need to use that Jet Dry stuff?

What is the best way (or not) to load the dishwasher?

I know a lot of stuff says dishwasher safe, but is there an OMG, don't ever put X in the dishwasher tips?

Please help?
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( 56 comments — Leave a comment )
Chérielutine on June 24th, 2012 02:24 am (UTC)
I personally prefer liquid soap because I've had issues with the powder not dissolving. The rinse aid will depend on your water - if your clear glass looks cloudy after a cycle, try a rinse aid like Jet-dry or Lemi-Shine.

I made this recipe and it worked alright, but it ended up getting super hard and I got sick of having to chip it apart every time I needed a scoop. That might have been something I screwed up though.
Chérielutine on June 24th, 2012 02:26 am (UTC)
Oh, according to the comments, the hardening is a common issue. :/
(no subject) - parisalmasy on June 24th, 2012 02:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - angelmaye on June 24th, 2012 02:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - parisalmasy on June 24th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladyelysium on June 24th, 2012 06:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - angelmaye on June 24th, 2012 02:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lutine on June 24th, 2012 02:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
divinemissa on June 24th, 2012 02:30 am (UTC)
I personally prefer the liquid stuff, since our jankety old dishwasher wouldn't always dissolve the powder kind. But usually the powders are cheaper. One useful protip: most dishwashers are designed with detergent dispensers that hold MUCH more detergent that is actually needed to get the dishes clean. Dunno why... possibly some dark conspiracy to make us spend more. If you look up your model's instruction booklet it'll probably say something like "use 2 tbsp detergent". This is about the amount in those little detergent packets that you can buy.

How you load it kind of depends on where the sprayer part is. Most older dishwashers have a sprayer that rises up from the bottom. As long as you don't block that you are probably good. Heavy-duty things go on the bottom, plastic and glassware on the top.

I have never gotten much out of Jet-Dri, but I'm told it's useful if you have hard water which tends to gunk up the sprayers etc.
Angelmaye: munch-screamangelmaye on June 24th, 2012 02:59 am (UTC)
Thanks for the tip about the dispenser size. I'm pretty sure my dishwasher fall into the older than dirt category.

The previous owners left me a stack of manuals. Hopefully there is one for the beast.
(no subject) - brookiki on June 24th, 2012 08:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - angelmaye on June 24th, 2012 01:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lisbet on June 25th, 2012 12:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
winter is coming, so don't stab your sisterceilidh on June 24th, 2012 02:33 am (UTC)
Don't be embarrassed. The house we lived in for 13 years didn't have a dishwasher and we just moved into an apartment with one a year ago. I love it.

I don't put nonstick, cast iron (enameled or otherwise), or good sharp knives in the dishwasher. I also don't use the heated dry option, waste of power and I find it warps plastics. If I was using my fine china and crystal I wouldn't put it in there either but it's packed in boxes so it's not an issue. Aluminum isn't supposed to go in there, it'll get discolored. NO silver, silver plate, or anything handpainted, nor anything like wooden cutting boards or wooden spoons.

I like to use dishwasher tablets, my mom insists on powders, but we live in different parts of the country and have different water qualities so maybe that has something to do with it.

Don't put too many dishes in. The spray won't reach and they won't get clean. I do plates/saucers/bowls/small pots on the bottom, plastics/glasses/bowls on top.
Angelmaye: munch-screamangelmaye on June 24th, 2012 03:01 am (UTC)
Haha, fine china isn't going to be an issue for me for the time being.

Thanks for the wide range of advice. It is very much appreciated!
dushamoyadushamoya on June 24th, 2012 02:38 am (UTC)
You know, I've always had a dishwasher, but I don't know if I've ever been "properly" taught how to use it. Since moving out on my own, I just kinda wing it. I use the cleaning tab things, or liquid. I've put a lot of not dishwasher safe stuff in there and some of it has survived, some hasn't. I did learn to at least rinse big junk off (I was really lazy about this in the beginning), and paid for it with a yucky dishwasher and still dirty dishes.

Uhm.. clean your dishwasher sometimes. I had a little net thing in the bottom that collected larger pieces of debris, so be mindful to watch for that.
Angelmaye: munch-screamangelmaye on June 24th, 2012 03:02 am (UTC)
See, I never understood the point of a dishwasher if you had to "wash" the plates first.

I will keep an eye on stuff in the bottom, thanks for the advice!
(no subject) - mirhanda on June 24th, 2012 05:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Kristygirlx512 on June 24th, 2012 02:40 am (UTC)
I have an OLD dishwasher (original to our 1985 house). Cascade Gel Packs are the only thing I find that work well to clean the dishes without leaving residue (http://www.amazon.com/Cascade-Complete-ActionPacs-Dishwasher-Detergent/dp/B002SB95ZK). I've tried all the natural stuff, all the cheap stuff, and I keep coming back to these. I don't do anything else special with the dishwasher as I'm afraid of upsetting the delicate balance that is its ancient-ness, haha!

Load plastics on top with bowls and cups or any other water-jet-blocking type stuffs. Porcelain plates/etc. go on the bottom, dirty side facing in toward the jet source. My stainless steel pots and pans said to hand wash only, but I sort of feel like they're stainless steel for goodness sake, and have put them through when I'm feeling lazy. We have our drying heat turned off so any plastics that get knocked down accidentally don't melt against the coils. If your dishwasher is new it's actually advised not to rinse your plates as the new machines are designed to handle the mess and it's a waste of water, decreasing the overall efficiency of even using the machine. I don't trust ours with big messes, but then again it's 27 years old.
dushamoyadushamoya on June 24th, 2012 02:43 am (UTC)
Thats nice to know about newer machines. I was pretty sure our dishwasher was the first one ever made, so it absolutely didn't handle much gunk. I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I had a NEW one
(no subject) - girlx512 on June 24th, 2012 02:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - angelmaye on June 24th, 2012 03:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
Ugly Like Her Mamaginky on June 24th, 2012 02:45 am (UTC)
We prefer the Cascade Gel Packs. I use Lemishine powder with the Cascade when I notice the glasses getting cloudy. I fill the rinse aid dispenser with plain vinegar.

Things that say top rack dishwasher safe only can be washed on the bottom if you don't use the heated dry.

Point the dirty sides towards the center/bottom. Don't mix stainless and sterling in the silverware basket.
Angelmayeangelmaye on June 24th, 2012 03:06 am (UTC)
Thank you for the tips! I've never heard of the Lemishine, I'll have to look for it.
Sarasara_k_s on June 24th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC)
I like the tablet/gel pack detergent. I think it's more convenient than liquid or powder. But really, it's a matter of personal preference, so you might want to try them all and see what you like.

I don't use Jet Dry. The dishwasher gets the dishes clean; the rinse aid is just to make them look better. I think they look fine without it. I've read that you can just put vinegar in the rinse aid reservoir, but I tried it once and regretted it! I don't know what went wrong, but after I ran the dishwasher, there was a rusty-looking streak coming from the rinse aid reservoir. It looked like my dishwasher was bleeding! And it kept happening for several months every time I ran the dishwasher. Apparently nobody else has ever had that problem, though.

Don't put good knives (cutlery) in the dishwasher, even if they claim to be dishwasher safe. The dishwasher can knock them around and ruin the blades. I also avoid putting nonstick pans in the dishwasher. If you have a Kitchenaid mixer, don't put the attachments in the dishwasher. If you ever put silver utensils in the dishwasher, make sure they are not touching any stainless steel because it could cause galvanic corrosion (or just don't put the silver in the dishwasher at all).
Angelmaye: munch-screamangelmaye on June 24th, 2012 03:28 am (UTC)
Thanks for all the advice!

Hmm...I wonder what could have caused the vinegar reaction. I'll keep my fingers crossed I don't get the same reaction.

Thank you for explaining why the knives shouldn't go in the dishwasher. I'll handwash those.
Pilgrim in an unholy land.: bone patternsplatterhouse on June 24th, 2012 03:19 am (UTC)
Never use regular dish liquid, no matter how tempted you are! I ran out of dishwasher liquid & was like "they can't be that different, I'll use the regular liquid!" Yeah... I cane back into the kitchen 20 min later & there was like a foot-high wave of foam that had leaked out of the dishwasher. D:
Angelmaye: munch-screamangelmaye on June 24th, 2012 03:29 am (UTC)
Yeah...I had a family member learn this lesson the hard way. At work.
(no subject) - ceilidh on June 24th, 2012 04:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sadblueyes on June 24th, 2012 06:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
Paris Almasyparisalmasy on June 24th, 2012 03:22 am (UTC)
If you have really light bowls or whatnot (such as the super light plastic storage tubs) I'd recommend against washing them in there, as the jets can flip them over and then they get water and gunk pooled in them. You don't really need to pre WASH, mostly just rinse off the big stuff so it doesn't clog up the machine.
Angelmaye: munch-screamangelmaye on June 24th, 2012 03:29 am (UTC)
Thank you!
tudorpottudorpot on June 24th, 2012 03:54 am (UTC)
I have had dishwashers for most of my life. Love the little packs of dishwasher soap, neat, cost effective. I put just about everything in my dishwasher, including knives, very good china with gold trim. I keep the heat option turned off, but if your tap water is not hot enough, the element comes on to heat the water. Tip- run the sink tap before you turn on the dishwasher to make sure the water is really hot running into machine.
I don't put wood bowls, or kitchenaid attachments in. Put pots and large mixing bowls in, ditto baking trays.
I only rinse rice off. Scrape big bits off plates.

Rinse aid - I use it if there are spots on glasses. It depends on your water.
There are web pages that show you how to stack efficiently, some from makers are excellent.
Angelmaye: munch-screamangelmaye on June 24th, 2012 01:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
(no subject) - mirhanda on June 24th, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Darlahood: spooky deerydarlahood on June 24th, 2012 03:57 am (UTC)
I'm jealous! I have never had a dishwasher either!
Angelmaye: munch-screamangelmaye on June 24th, 2012 01:42 pm (UTC)
I was beginning to think I was the only one in the world. I've never had a garage or a fireplace either. This house is going to be all kinds of adventures.
(no subject) - duchess_k on June 28th, 2012 07:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Marusjamarusja on June 24th, 2012 04:38 am (UTC)
I was the same way when we moved into dishwasher-equipped place! Nothing to be embarassed about!
Our dishwasher came with a manual, which actually was really, really helpful. So my suggestion would be to try to locate the manual for your model and go from there.
Angelmaye: munch-screamangelmaye on June 24th, 2012 01:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks, if the previous owners didn't leave it, I'll look online.
(Deleted comment)
Angelmaye: munch-screamangelmaye on June 24th, 2012 01:44 pm (UTC)
I'm on city sewer, so no worries.

My dad used to put live yeast from the baker down the toilet at his office so that it would eat all the gunk in his septic tank. I never would have thought about somethink killing it.

Thanks for the tip about peanut butter.
box-of-rocksbox_of_rocks on June 24th, 2012 01:04 pm (UTC)
I really like Finish Powerball dishwashing tabs - they seem to do the job a LOT better than other brands, and my dishes don't end up all cloudy. I don't use Jet-Dry or any extra rinses.
Angelmaye: munch-screamangelmaye on June 24th, 2012 01:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I may poke around online and see if I can get some samples before I decide what I like/want.
(no subject) - hellfire82 on June 26th, 2012 01:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ashosaurus on June 24th, 2012 06:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Ahavah Ehyeh: Family: my girlsahavah on June 24th, 2012 02:02 pm (UTC)
We use the little gel packs too. I just stock up on whatever brand whenever I find sales or have good coupons. Since I have three young kids, we don't have a lot of glass-glasses, so I don't even bother with any rinse agent. I just buy one of those jet blue DW cleaner bottles every now and then and run it through.

Another great tip, if you have or ever want kids - I throw any dirty kid toys right into the DW (stuffed animals usually get the washing machine). Like, sometimes I'll catch the dog chewing on teether toys or I'll fish out dirty blocks from under the couch or whatever. I'll just throw them all in (usually top rack, but I'll toss wooden blocks or smaller toys into the silverware baskets sometime) and let the DW sanitize them before I let the baby have them back. Nothing that talks or lights up or anything, but I've found that keeping baby toys clean is a lot less time consuming since we got a DW.

Edited at 2012-06-24 02:02 pm (UTC)
Arrow In A Streamjabber on June 24th, 2012 02:27 pm (UTC)
Liquid dishwasher soap is better, powders tend to leave residue.

JetDry helps rinse-water "sheet" off of things, so you're less likely to see spots where water droplets dried.

Put heavier, bigger, dirtier things on the bottom rack, like pots and plates. The top rack is better for glassware. I tend to wash large utensils on the top rack as well. Also, tupperware and the like goes up there.

"Dishwasher safe" mostly has to do with the "heat dry" cycle. The bottom of the washer has a heating element that cranks up the heat after the washing is done to help things dry off faster. If you don't use the heat-dry option, "dishwasher safe" isn't as big a deal.

Scrape off excess food before putting things in the machine. You don't have to prewash, but you do not want pieces of food in the machine. Dishwashers have a filter that traps food particles and over time they build up in there and clog the filter. The machine can then clog and back up. And before that happens it's going to start to smell bad as the old food in the filter rots - a nice thing to have on clean plates, right? So, scrape and pre-rinse things before washing.

If you have a high-end dishwasher with a built-in garbage disposal, you should be fine.

A few tips and tricks...

Use the cutlery basket to pre-sort your silverware - group forks, spoons, knives and utility tools together, that way once done, you can just grab a bunch of like items and put them all in the same place without having to sort, and handle, individual pieces of silverware.

If your washer has a hot-water option, use it. These typically use a built-in water heater to get the water hotter, so it cuts grease better, and also use less hot water from the house supply.

Place bowls, pots and cups so they drain out. Should be a no-brainer, but it's easy to forget, and then you have containers full of dirty water in the machine.

I have some rubber coasters for use around the house. When washing crystal or stemware, I'll use these as separators to keep the delicate glass from tapping, and possibly chipping or breaking, while in the machine.

Try to keep your good knives from rattling together in the machine, for the same reason. Keeps the edges sharp. If you have a knife rack in the machine, use it for your steak knives. If you don't have one, get one in the after-market. They're cheap and your knives will thank you.

Empty the dishwasher from the bottom rack first. this way, you won't dump whatever water is in the things on the top rack all over the things on the bottom rack.

Plastic things like tupperware are better washed on the top rack - farther from the heating element on the bottom. If you're used to NOT using the heat-dry option, even things that are not dishwaster safe should be ok.

You can wash things other than dishes in there, too. Hats, for example, that you don't want tumbling around in a washing machine, can be washed on the top rack. You can even buy plastic forms to help the hat keep it's shape and stay in place in the dishwasher. When my wife was a barber, she routinely ran combs and hairclips and the like through the dishwasher - hot-water, no heat-dry.

Some people allegedly use their dishwashers for cooking. I'm not convinced this is not some sort of elaborate troll, but you can, supposedly, poach on the top rack. Just putting it out there as food for thought - I have not tried this. BUT, if the dishwasher doesn't strike you as some macabre torture chamber for lobsters, give it a shot and report back. I lack the guts to experiment with this one.
livininthelightlivininthelight on June 24th, 2012 04:35 pm (UTC)
I have always had an older model dishwasher and used the gel packs. However, just last week we got a brand new dishwasher! I was told by both the salesman and the guide (Whirlpool) to only use powder in it, and never gel packs.This came as a big surprise to me and the salesman said you should only use powder in the new models.I have had issues with powder in the past but don't want to void my warranty by not following manufacture's suggestions so I will be using it in my new one. YMMV.
Sarasara_k_s on June 24th, 2012 05:12 pm (UTC)
I like the tablet/gel pack detergent. I think it's more convenient than liquid or powder. But really, it's a matter of personal preference, so you might want to try them all and see what you like.

I don't use Jet Dry. The dishwasher gets the dishes clean; the rinse aid is just to make them look better. I think they look fine without it. I've read that you can just put vinegar in the rinse aid reservoir, but I tried it once and regretted it! I don't know what went wrong, but after I ran the dishwasher, there was a rusty-looking streak coming from the rinse aid reservoir. It looked like my dishwasher was bleeding! And it kept happening for several months every time I ran the dishwasher. Apparently nobody else has ever had that problem, though.

Don't put good knives (cutlery) in the dishwasher, even if they claim to be dishwasher safe. The dishwasher can knock them around and ruin the blades. I also avoid putting nonstick pans in the dishwasher. If you have a Kitchenaid mixer, don't put the attachments in the dishwasher. If you ever put silver utensils in the dishwasher, make sure they are not touching any stainless steel because it could cause galvanic corrosion (or just don't put the silver in the dishwasher at all).
Wasanifuwasanifu on June 24th, 2012 05:20 pm (UTC)
My mum and dad swear on giving things a quick rinse over before they go in the dishwasher. I thought it was a load of crap, but then when we moved in to our own place with a dishwasher it was eww having to clean the filter trap and it didn't work as well as my one at home. My parents dishwasher lasted them 17 years before it broke so there must be a method to the madness.
mmhmsupermelanie on June 24th, 2012 06:19 pm (UTC)
I didn't read the 50 comments preceding mine, so sorry if this is a repeat.

Those Finish tabs are the best. My own personal experience and Consumer Reports agree on that. They come in little packets so you don't have to worry about using too much/too little.

I put a hearty dose of white vinegar in mine and that does wonders at keeping my extremely hard water from leaving spots.

If your dishwasher is relatively new, don't bother rinsing things off before hand. Just scrape 'em and load 'em up!

Don't put crystal in there, or things with gold leaf. If you aren't a fancy person (I am not), probably everything you have can go in the dishwasher.

If you have a lot of little stuff that likes to get tossed about, like teensy tupperware lids or pacifiers or straws from water bottles, put them all in a lingerie bag and put it on the top rack. <-- this is my all-time favorite dishwasher tip because I get SO irritated if I have to pick lids and things out from the bottom of the dishwasher

The other thing is, washing dishes has three steps: load, wash, UNLOAD. Don't let your clean dishes hang out in there, because if you do, the dirty ones will have no choice but to pile up in the sink. I run mine before I go to bed so they dry overnight and I can unload while my tea is brewing and have a nice, empty dishwasher for my breakfast dishes!

Yay, enjoy your dishwasher!! You'll love it!
pakspaksenarrion2 on June 24th, 2012 10:17 pm (UTC)
Something I didn't see posted. Make sure you not only clean the filter regularly but about every six months or so run a cycle without any dishes to clean out the dishwasher. This will help prolong the life of your dishwasher.

Also-you can put the lightweight plastic dishes on the top rack. Just put them in the back corner or wedge them in so the force of the water doesn't flip them over.

I use the gel pacs as I find them a lot more convenient than liquid and better at cleaning than powder.
downbeatdezinedownbeatdezine on June 28th, 2012 03:44 pm (UTC)
A cup of vinegar (white) thrown in is great for hard water.

People have probably said this but I'll say it again: Do NOT put any hand-potted mugs or the like into the dishwasher - the heat and spray will create tiny holes in the clay and then it will start to leak.

Not that most people do it, but I made the mistake a few weeks ago in my morning doziness. Passin' the warning on!
erica scaricaduchess_k on June 28th, 2012 07:05 pm (UTC)
? FIred ceramic should not disintegrate in a dishwasher.
(no subject) - downbeatdezine on June 28th, 2012 07:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - duchess_k on June 28th, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
( 56 comments — Leave a comment )