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How to load a dishwasher

How to load a dishwasher

Find out how to load your dishwasher properly with Finish®. We'll tell you the best way to place items in your machine to get the best results.

No matter how advanced your dishwasher is or how much punch your dishwasher detergent packs, you won't get the best results if you load your dishes into your machine incorrectly.

Luckily, learning how to load your dishwasher is fairly straightforward.

Dishwasher loading tips

  1. Don’t rinse your dishes
    Believe it or not, it’s a myth that you need to rinse dishes before putting in them in the dishwasher if you’re using a good detergent. Although you should always scrape off any remaining food, rinsing your dishes before the dishwasher.
  2. Don’t overload
    An overloaded dishwasher can cause damage to dishes: they might rattle against each other and cause scratches or even stress fractures. Plus, overcrowding can disrupt the flow of the water and detergent, leaving you with less-than-clean dishes.
  3. Keep plastics on the top rack
    The hottest part of your dishwasher is at the bottom, where the heating element is positioned. You should always keep your dishwasher-safe plastics on the top rack to prevent them from warping. Learn more about what plastic can go in your dishwasher, so you can avoid damaging your best meal-prep and potluck-ready containers.
  4. Place items with the toughest messes face down
    If you’re cleaning baking sheets, casserole dishes or items with baked on food or other stubborn residue, make sure you place them face down, so the spray arms can effectively clean with fullest available of pressure.
  5. Load utensils in the dishwasher handle down
    Load your forks and spoons handle down to make sure the dirtiest parts get cleaned the most thoroughly. For knives, however, you’re going to want to load them blade down, handle up to prevent accidental cuts when you unload them.
  6. Put oversized items towards the sides and back
    Place dishwasher safe cutting boards and platters towards the sides and back of the dishwasher to prevent them from disrupting the flow of water and detergent.
  7. Load dishwasher with pots and pans at the bottom
    Most dishwasher safe aluminium or stainless steel pots and pans can go in the bottom rack of the dishwasher, but be sure to double-check the manufacturer’s advice before washing.
  8. Load glasses and mugs on the top rack
    The top rack of your dishwasher is designed to clean cups, glasses and mugs. Place them upside down in the top rack. This may seem obvious, but we all get distracted sometimes and nothing's as irritating as trying to get a full glass out of the machine without spilling all over your clean dishes. When placed correctly, the water and detergent can effectively clean inside your glasses and mugs.

Looking for more information on how to wash different kinds of kitchenware? Check out our articles below to learn about different materials' dishwasher readiness.

Stainless steel

BPA-Free plastic




What items can be put in the dishwasher?

Nowadays, most kitchen items can go in the dishwasher — however, it’s always important to check for a dishwasher safe symbol, to consult the manual or to ask the manufacturer. This way, you can avoid ruining both your appliance and your valuable kitchenware. Learn more about what items are dishwasher safe here.