You might be loading your dishwasher wrong. We're here to help.

·3 min read

There are some things in life that spark never-ending debate. Pineapple on pizza, for example, delicious or gross? Or the correct way to hang toilet paper. Is it over or under the roller? And right up there among the most polarizing dilemmas in the modern world is the issue of how to load your dishwasher. Yes, the ubiquitous dishwasher. It's a domestic necessity in many 21st century homes but can become a major source of irritation in some households. People have dogmatic views. And domestic bliss can be shattered if the day's designated dish loader does not perform their duties in what the dishwasher police consider the "right" way.

When were dishwashers invented?

The dishwasher debate may seem like a modern dilemma, but the dishwasher itself dates back to 1850 when it was invented by American Joe Houghton whose wooden machine was hand operated. The modern dishwasher was developed by American socialite Josephine Cochran in 1886. Sick of her expensive china being damaged by hand washing, she designed the first automated dishwasher in her garden shed despite having no technical training.

Is there a wrong way to load a dishwasher?

Yes, there are a few definite no-no's when it comes to loading your dishwasher.

  • Don't load sharp knives and wooden spoons in the dishwasher. The heat of the water can dull the blades and damage the wood.

  • Don't put large utensils in the utensil basket; they can block the spray from reaching the stacked dishes.

  • Don't load all the dishes in the same direction as they won't get equal access to the soap and spray.

  • Don't put plastic items on the bottom rack as the high temperature of the heating element can leave them warped.

  • Don't pre-rinse items unless you plan to delay putting the dishwasher on. It wastes water, and the dishwasher works best when it's got something to work on.

  • Don't put pans in the dishwasher, especially nonstick cookware; they damage easily.

  • Don't overfill your dishwasher. The water and soap can't circulate properly, so your dishes will not be as clean as they should.

What is the right way to load a dishwasher?

Here are some of the top tips on correct dishwasher loading.

  • Stack dishes on the bottom rack with the front of each dish facing the center.

  • Load from the back to the front on each rack, with heavy items to the rear for better weight distribution.

  • Place bowls and cups facedown or at an angle so that the water doesn't pool.

  • Load knives with the handle on top for safety reasons. Load forks and spoons with the handles down for cleaning efficiency.

  • Load cups and glasses on the top rack and upside down between the tines to reduce the risk of breakage.

Okay, we've got that sorted out. Now, about that pineapple pizza.

More problems, solved

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How to load a dishwasher properly to effectively clean dishes