How to Wash in a Dishwasher?

A dishwasher is very easy to use as long as you know all the dos and don’ts. So, what are the dos and don’ts, and how do you wash in a dishwasher? Let’s find out.

To wash in the dishwasher, you should load the items you want to wash into it, add soap to the soap space, power on the dishwasher, and close the dishwasher door. 

How do you wash in a Dishwasher
How do you wash in a Dishwasher

There are some things you should know before you attempt to wash items in a dishwasher. In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know as someone who uses a dishwasher. Kindly read on to see them.

What can I Wash in a Dishwasher?

Here are the items you can wash in a dishwasher:

Kitchen sponges

When your kitchen sponges gather food particles, you can wash them in a dishwasher. Kitchen sponges should stay in the top rack.

Stainless steel cookware

You can wash stainless steel cookware in a dishwasher.

Microwave trays

You can safely wash your microwave trays in a dishwasher.  Most of the modern dishwashers will remove tough stains on microwave trays better than how handwashing removes stains.

Fridge shelves

You can wash fridge shelves in a dishwasher. You may remove the top rack if it is hindering the fridge shelves from fitting into the dishwasher.

Gardening tools

You can wash small gardening tools that don’t have wooden parts in a dishwasher. Always wash gardening tools separately since some of them might have traces of fertilizers, which, of course, shouldn’t get onto your cookware.


You can wash tableware made of ceramic, stainless steel, or plastic in a dishwasher. Make sure that you put plastic tableware only on the top rack because they can’t withstand the heat at the bottom rack.

Light fixtures

You can wash light fixtures in the dishwasher to make them shine once again after they have been dirty.


You can safely wash vases in the dishwasher if they aren’t trimmed with silver or gold gilt.  

Fan covers

A dishwasher can remove oil and dirt from the exhaust fan cover. 

Kids’ toys

You can clean game pieces, building blocks, and several other plastic toys in a dishwasher. Use the top rack when cleaning toys and do not include toys that are battery-operated.

Pet dishes

You can wash pet dishes in a dishwasher if they are made of ceramic, plastic, or stainless steel.

Oven racks

You can put oven racks in a dishwasher when they become dirty. A dishwasher will remove every stain on them and make them look brand new.


You can wash containers where you store things. Keep the container at the top rack if it is made of plastic.

What Can’t I Wash in a Dishwasher?

Here are the items you mustn’t wash in a dishwasher:

Aluminum cookware

You can’t wash aluminum cookware in a dishwasher. If you do, it will become dull and stained by the harsh chemicals utilized in the dishwasher detergents.

Cast iron cookware

You shouldn’t wash cast iron cookware in a dishwasher. The dishwasher detergent is too harsh for cast iron cookware.

Non-stick cookware

If you wash non-stick cookware in a dishwasher, the non-stick coating will peel off. The is because non-stick coating can’t withstand the harshness of dishwasher detergent.

Copper cookware

You shouldn’t wash copper cookware in a dishwasher because it can’t withstand the harshness of dishwasher detergent. 

Milk glass

You shouldn’t wash milk glass dishware in a dishwasher because the milky white color will turn yellow after washing it in a dishwasher for some time.

Pressure cooker lids

A dishwasher can force tiny food particles into the valves on pressure cooker lids while washing them. Once this happens, the cooker will lose its ability to cook food at high pressure. 


You shouldn’t wash any item that has wooden parts in a dishwasher. If you do, the wooden part can crack or warp.

Calibrated measuring cups

Measuring cups that are calibrated on the sides are not to be washed in a dishwasher because the measurements printed on the cup may fade out after washing it a couple of times. It is better to wash these cups with your hands.

Graters and Sieves

A dishwasher can’t remove particles that are trapped inside tiny holes like the ones on graters and sieves. You should wash graters and sieves with your hands to removes all trapped particles.

Sharp knives

You shouldn’t wash knives in a dishwasher. If you do, the sharp edge will become blunted.

Fine china

Fine china is too fragile to wash in a dishwasher. To avoid damaging fine china, you should wash it with your hands.


You shouldn’t wash crystals in a dishwasher because they can’t withstand the heat inside a dishwasher. 

Oven burners

The common material for making oven burners is cast iron, which can rust very quickly if it goes into a dishwasher.

Wine glasses

Generally, wine glasses are too fragile to wash in a dishwasher. They may break or scratch if you wash them in a dishwasher.

Hand-painted ceramics

Hand-painted ceramics can fade if you wash them in a dishwasher. 

Vacuum flasks

Do not wash vacuum flasks in a dishwasher. The heat inside a dishwasher can make a vacuum flask lose its ability to maintain the temperature of its contents for a long time.

Hollow-handled knives

A dishwasher can melt the adhesive utilized in hollow-handled knives. The same thing goes for all other items that are held together with adhesives.

Where Do I Place Stuff in the Dishwasher?

The rack is the right place where you should place stuff in a dishwasher. There are a few things you need to consider while arranging items on the rack. Let’s talk about these things.

You should consider the material of the item you want to wash. Materials that can’t withstand too much heat should stay at the top rack. For instance, plastics must always be at the top rack so that they won’t melt. Pots and pans should occupy the bottom positions since metals can withstand heat.

The shape of items also matters. Plates should be at the bottom rack, and make sure you leave enough space between plates so that water jets will reach every part. Bowls should stay at the top rack. Utensils like spoons and forks have a special cup for holding them, so you shouldn’t keep them on the rack. Instead, you should keep them in the cup designated for utensils.

You should take note of the positions of every item you put in the dishwasher. If you place items on the rack in the wrong way, some parts of the items won’t be washed thoroughly. Always position plates towards the center. They don’t have to lean at all, but if some plates can’t stay without leaning, make sure they lean downwards. If you have enough space in your dishwasher, you should allow cups, bowls, and glasses to point vertically downward, but if you don’t have enough space, you can incline them a bit.

What Temperature Should a Dishwasher Wash at?

A dishwasher should wash at a temperature between 49 and 71°C. The temperature needs to go this high in order to clean dishes thoroughly and kill bacteria. To verify whether your dishwasher is washing at the right temperature, you should use a dishwasher thermometer to measure the temperature of the water at the hot water tap since the tap and the dishwasher get water from the same source.  

In case the measurement you obtain is not up to 49°C, you should increase the temperature of the water heater in your home.

Should You use Tablets or Powder?

There are some factors you should consider before choosing the soap to use. Money is one of these factors. Dishwashing powder is cheaper than a dishwashing tablet, so if you don’t have much money at any particular time, you may decide to buy the dishwashing powder. However, you should note that the quantity of dishwashing powder required per wash is a bit hard to regulate, so you may not really save much money unless you regulate the quantity of soap you use per wash carefully.

If comfort is your top priority, a dishwashing tablet is the best option for you. Unlike dishwashing powder, you won’t have to regulate the number of dishwashing tablets you put into the machine. Once you insert just a tablet into the dishwasher, the machine will utilize only the quantity required to wash your dishes. Also, dishwashing tablets won’t create excess suds, which is a major issue with dishwashing powder when you use too much of it. 

In essence, if you want to avoid the risks associated with the use of too much washing powder, you should use a tablet. Some of the problems associated with excessive suds include getting spills from the dishwasher and sometimes damage the machine itself.

How and When Do You Clean the Dishwasher?

You shouldn’t wait until your dishwasher becomes so dirty and smelly before you clean it. You can at least wipe away visible dirt daily or weekly, depending on how much time you have. While regular light cleaning is very necessary, your dishwasher may become smelly if you don’t sacrifice some time to clean it deeply every month. Although deep cleaning will take much time, it is the only means to make your dishwasher look new. Let’s explain how you can clean a dishwasher thoroughly.

Start the cleaning by removing the accessories in the dishwasher while it is not in operation. Clean the accessories with soap and water. Food particles tend to get stuck within the racks, so pay special attention to them when cleaning them. 

The dishwasher door should be the next part you should clean. Wipe off grime and fingerprints that appear on the door. You need a sponge or soft cloth for the cleaning. Do not use a hard brush to avoid scraping off the paint on the dishwasher. Also, you should not pour water on the part you are cleaning. Instead, you should dampen the cloth or sponge and use it to wipe off whatever you want to clean.

Once you have cleaned both sides of the door and the removable accessories, you can now focus on the interior of the dishwasher. A sponge or a cloth will wash the walls effectively, but you will need a kitchen brush to remove dirt from the corners. You should rinse off parts as soon as you clean them. The purpose of this is to remove soap before it clogs up the dishwasher’s components.

Once you have cleaned all the parts we have mentioned above, you should remove the filter and clean it also. Rinse the entire interior of the dishwasher once again and observe whether it looks very clean and smells fresh. If you can still see some tough stains inside the dishwasher, you’ll have to wash it a second time using vinegar. If the dishwasher gives out a foul smell, You need baking soda to clear the offensive odor. Let’s show you how you can remove tough stains with vinegar and a foul smell with baking soda.

You can clean the dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda simultaneously by following the steps we are about to say. Get a container that is dishwasher safe and pour one cup of white vinegar into it. Place the container on the top rack of your dishwasher. Make sure you don’t have any other dish or container in the dishwasher. Thereafter, you should sprinkle a cup of baking soda into the dishwasher’s bottom.

After you have done the things above, you should set your dishwasher to run on a hot-water cycle. Let this cycle run for some minutes before you power off the dishwasher. Do not open the dishwasher door immediately after you power it off. Keep the door closed for about 25 minutes, after which you can open the dishwasher door and allow the foul smell to move out.

Take a dry cloth and use it to wipe the interior of the dishwasher. Your dishwasher will definitely look very clean and smell nice after you have done all the things above.

How Do I Clean My Dishwasher Filter?

The dishwasher filter is easy to clean. Pour a little quantity of water into a small bucket and add detergent to the water. Open your dishwasher and remove the filter. Dip the filter into the soapy water and begin to scrub it gently with a sponge. If the filter has tough stains on it, you should soak it in water for a few minutes and then scrub it again. If you a sponge isn’t working on tough stains, you may use an old toothbrush, but never use a scouring pad or wire brush to avoid damaging the filter.

How Can I Maintain My Dishwasher?

Cleaning is the most obvious maintenance practice, but it’s not the only practice that will keep your dishwasher in good condition. Here are other things you should do to keep your dishwasher in good condition:

Remove large bits of food from dishes before you load them

Large bits of food will not only make your dishwasher become dirty very quickly, but they can also clog some parts of your dishwasher.

Use the dishwasher for washing only dishwasher-safe items

When you load items that are not dishwasher-safe into your dishwasher, your dishwasher may get damaged, especially when the items fall apart and clog the machine. To avoid this from happening, you should load only dishwasher-safe items into your dishwasher.

Use only dishwasher soap

Ordinary dish soaps are not ideal for a dishwasher. Ordinary dish soaps can cause sud, which can cause issues within the machine.

Don’t overload the dishwasher

The stress on your dishwasher will be too much if you overload it. If you have so many dishes to wash, it’s better to wash them in batches instead of overloading the machine.

Annika Vallgren

The old housewives, in general, were in charge of everything in a household. From doing budget deliberations, meal planning to implementing actions and everything in between, they are simply the right person for the job, period. A major portion of their time was spent doing laundry, cleaning, and feeding her hungry children, who would come home tired from school. I believe we have a lot to learn from her. So, here you will find old housewife tips mixed with modern life hacks, knowledge about washing and cleaning, and much more the modern housewife needs!

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