When it comes to cleaning up the mess left in the kitchen after a delightfully tasting dinner, there’s nothing better than knowing you have a dishwasher.  Many dishwashers these days are so powerful that you don’t even have to rinse the dishes before loading them.  If you intend on keeping this valuable kitchen helper around for a while — say for your entire life — then you must take care of it.  Fortunately, there are more than a few tips you can follow to optimize your dishwasher’s longevity and reliability.

Remove the Labels Off Your Dishes

If you go to the store and buy a coffee mug, there’ a good chance that it will come with a UPC label on it.  You need to peel off all labels on your dishes because the glue on the labels can damage your dishwasher.  If you have dishes that you don’t want to pull off the labels, such as wine bottles, make sure to wash these by hand.

Hand Wash Copper and Disposable Aluminum Dishes

Copper dishes are gorgeous, and if you want them to maintain their beauty, you’ll need to wash them by hand with an extremely gentle dish soap.  And you’ll also want to do the same with disposable aluminum dishes.  If you don’t, the other dishes in the dishwasher might come out with black marks all over them.

Put Plastic Dishes On the Top Rack

Many people think they can load a dishwasher in any way that they want as long as everything fits okay.  Truth is, though, plastic dishes should be kept on the top rack so they won’t melt from the high heat and pressure coming from the sprayer on the bottom of the dishwasher.

Scrape Your Plates Before Loading Them

If you have a newer dishwasher — eight years or newer — there should be no need for you to rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.  You will, however, want to scrape the food out of any bowls and off any plates into the trash.

Don’t Go Overboard On the Dish Detergent

Just because you throw in two packets of dish detergent doesn’t mean your dishes are going to come out twice as sparkly.  Instead, they will probably come out with a gross film on them.  To avoid this, simply use the recommended amount of dish soap.  And no you can’t use regular dish soap; it has to be made specifically for dishwashers.

Make Sure to Fill It Full

You don’t have to run your dishwasher every day.  In truth, you should only run it when it’s full of dishes. If you run it when it’s half full, this will lead to your dishes bouncing around, which can easily break any glass dishware; this in itself is a complete pain, not only because you’ll have to throw away the broken dishes but also because you’ll have to pick the broken glass out of the dishwasher.

If you want your dishwasher to remain your best friend, make sure to treat it like one. 

*image by Goedeker’s