Loading your dishwasher is like playing Tetris. You cram a never-ending collection of dirty dishes onto your washer racks and are rewarded with shiny new plates and deleted germs. Everybody who owned a Game Boy growing up knows how to play Tetris; however, just because you own a dishwasher doesn’t mean you should skip the gamer manual.
METHODS OF PLAY: Don’t Crowd the Cups
There’s always that last coffee-stained cup you can’t squeeze into the dishwasher. You truly believe that if you shove it in, if you turn the handle a certain way, it will fit.
In Tetris, the worst that can happen is your blocks stack faster. In real life, a mistake could mean chipped cups. Think of the jets inside your washer creating a Perfect Storm for your dishes. Help your glassware come out unscathed by using the top rack tines as dividers, not as poles to hold more cups.
GAME MECHANICS: Skip the Pre-Rinsing Intro
Washing the dishes before washing the dishes can seem redundant. If you’re trying to go green like a Z-Block, good news: next time you can’t finish those black beans on your plate, scrape them into a Tupperware container. Leave the excess juices for the dishwasher. Plates go on the bottom rack because that is where the jets are most powerful.
INTERFACE: Loading Utensils
If you don’t wash your utensils properly, germs add up faster than the top third of a Tetris game. Leading dishwasher manufacturers recommend that you never clump utensils together. Forks and spoons both bend the same way. If they snuggle during their aquatic getaway, only their exposed halves get cleaned.
GAMEPLAY: Preparing To Wash
You’ve finished loading and it’s almost time to press Start. Before doing so, you should run the hot water in the kitchen sink as well as the garbage disposal. By doing this, you ensure your dishwasher starts with hot water, and that your drain is clear.
Next, put in the detergent. Each dishwasher manufacturer suggests different types.
- Whirlpool advises using a detergent tablet for best results.
- GE and Frigidaire both champion any detergent designed for dishwashers, including liquid, powder, tablet or packet.
- Bosch recommends powder detergent added with salt to scrape extra grime off the plates. Note to self: this means water-softening salt, not table salt.
If you find you’re out of detergent, don’t use regular dish washing soap as a replacement. Dish soap will develop enough suds to burst through your dishwasher and recreate the aftermath of your dog’s last shampoo bath.
TROUBLESHOOTING: Rebooting Your Dishwasher
Unlike Game Boy, if something goes wrong with your dishwasher, you can’t just take out its cartridge to blow off the dust. If your dishes don’t look as clean as usual, you may need to clean or replace a clogged spray arm. If your glasses rattle together and break, it might be time for a new rack.
Fortunately, you don’t need to enroll in Mario and Luigi’s School of Plumbing to learn the components of a dishwasher. Most repairs to replace worn out, damaged, or missing dishwasher parts can be made with a screwdriver or other basic tool that you probably already have. Once your dishwasher is fixed, load it up and, literally, give it a whirl.
Follow the rules of dishwasher loading and you’ll end up with pristine looking dishes every time. Remember these rules for the rest of your life. After all, dishwashing is like Tetris: it never ends.
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