Perhaps not surprisingly, we’re also a wee bit fastidious about cleaning up, too.
We have a number of best practices for hand-washing but our dishwasher game could use some work. We know enough not to run our knives or wooden utensils through the dishwasher, but are there non-kitchen items we should be putting in the dishwasher to get clean? What’s the best way to clear up foggy scuzz that ends up on our glasses? We asked the Food52 community for your best dishwasher tips, and luckily for us, you dished:
To cut through soap buildup. Sam1148 recommends running the dishwasher (empty!) with a few cups of white vinegar (or a tablespoon of citric acid).
Citric acid helps combat the effects of hard water, too. Susan W makes her own dishwasher pods with citric acid, among other ingredients. After using a couple at her mom’s house with hard water, she noticed the dishes and glasses had a visible cloudy fog on them. She made a new batch of dishwasher pods, increasing the amount of citric acid and her mom’s dishes now sparkle.
“Ounce for ounce, powder soap works better than liquid soap,” claims cv.
Cv also puts the dishwasher to use cleaning non-kitchen items: “I occasionally run a cycle with some plastic household or personal grooming items (like combs or electric toothbrush heads). Also, glass lamp shades.”
Ktris full of dishwasher best-practices, in part thanks to tips received from the installer when she recently replaced her dishwasher:
If you’re in the market for a new dishwasher, consider a mid-level model with a stainless steel interior—they are quieter than the lower-end models with plastic interiors. Higher-end models have more modes, but most people tend to use the same 1 to 2 modes all the time.
Bowls should be placed in the bottom rack and should face the center.
Many of us at Food52 are big believers in keeping like silverware with like silverware for easier unloading. But this only works if your dishwasher has a silverware tray or other means of keeping them separated. Otherwise, ktr notes that spoons should be spaced so they do not rest together, preventing them from getting cleaned.
"Do not put anything with a label in the dishwasher. It can break up and get all over your glasses and won't come off." (Unfortunately, she's speaking from experience.)
Take the time to scrape food off before putting dishes in the dishwasher, but do not rinse them until they look completely clean before loading: The soap needs something to cling to in order to work best.
“Top rack only” warnings might not always be true. Ktr says: “I put plastic kids plates and bowls on the bottom level without any problems. I haven't had any of them warp or melt and I've been doing it for 3+ years.”