Revealed at last: The RIGHT way to stack a dishwasher!

As long as dishwashers have existed, couples, families and friends have been correcting one another over how to properly stack them. It’s time we, as a society, finally settled our differences.

This quick, enormously helpful video from Chow will take you through the definitive do’s and don’ts – along with a few genuine surprises we can honestly say we never considered. Take a look below – or read on for a handy FAQ – and tell us: do you agree?


Utensils you should keep out of the dishwasher

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  • Wooden utensils and plastics (barring those specifically labelled as “dishwasher safe”) that can warp from the heat.
  • Active metals (such as iron and bronze) that could tarnish or rust.
  • Knives (to avoid blunting the blade if it rubs against other utensils)

Is pre-rinsing necessary?

No. The dishwasher is designed to do this for you. You will only need to brush off the large, physical food scraps that could clog up the drainage process.

How to stack the lower rack

  • Alternate large and small plates. This may go against the orderly instincts of many of us, but it gives each plate a lot more exposure to the water jets.
  • Place large, relatively flat items items (like cutting boards and frying pans) around the outer edges
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How to stack the upper rack

  • Place your glasses and mugs between the tines, rather than over them.
  • Make sure they don’t touch, as the vibrations can cause them to chip.
  • Place dishwasher-safe plastic on this level to keep it away from the heating coil (thus lowering the risk of warping).

How to stack cutlery

  • Place knives blade down for safety.
  • Spread cutlery throughout the basket to ensure they aren’t resting against one another.
  • Beyond this, it doesn’t matter if cutlery is up and down – so long as each utensil has a little breathing space – so it’s all personal preference from here.

And before you start the dishwasher…

  • Run the hot water and garbage disposal unit (if applicable) first. This clears the drain and ensures your dishwasher starts instantly with hot water.

Have you ever argued with someone over dishwashing stacking? Have you been doing it the “right” way? Or do you have an even better way of doing it? Share your tips and stories in the comments below!