How to get the most out of your dishwasher

In 2015, Canstar Blue surveyed Australians about how satisfied they were with their dishwashers, and Miele won the Canstar Blue Most Satisfied Customers award.

But how can you get the most out of your dishwasher? It all comes down to what helps your dishwasher to be more efficient in doing its job.


To rinse or not to rinse?

Can you take your plate straight from the table to the dishwasher or do you need to rinse it first? It’s a question with another question for an answer: How old is your machine?

If you have a darling old dinosaur that your grandmother handed down to you, assume that it cannot handle food bits. If there are bits of food on the plate that would fall off in the dishwasher and clog the filter, rinse them off first. If the food is burnt or stuck onto the plate, don’t imagine your dishwasher can do much about that. Scrub it off first. Certain foods will literally stain your plates, so you should rinse off things like tomato sauce as well. Any machine from 2000 and earlier will probably be in this category.

If you have a brand-spanking, shiny new thing, it can tackle anything. It can atomise food bits if you use the right cycle. Rinsing would be a waste of your precious time.

Stack it right

Dishwasher stacking methods haven’t changed a lot over the years.

Dishes go on the bottom, glasses and mugs go on the top, and cutlery usually has a special holder or an extra tray designed for it. Keep big stuff like pots and cutting boards to the sides, so they don’t block the flow of the water getting to the little stuff. Cooking utensils should go in the top rack, not in the cutlery holder, since they’re so tall and take up more space.

For cleaner cutlery, stagger them in the cutlery holder, with some handle up and some handle down.

Dishwashers: Our Buying Guide

Use the right cycle

The “Heavy Wash” cycle is designed to tackle pots and pans. The intermediate settings are for everyday use. The lightest “Eco” cycles are designed for all your light stuff.

Don’t use too much detergent, either. You might think it’ll make your dishes even cleaner, but actually it will just leave streaky smudges all over them.

You can read the Canstar Blue survey results for dishwasher detergents and liquids online.

Be water and energy efficient

Newest models are the best for being water- and energy-efficient, but you also have a part to play.

Only run a full load. Dishwashers actually work the most efficiently when they are full.

Keep it clean

Running an empty cycle – with baking soda rather than detergent – can clear out some of the detergent build-up, especially around the door seals. Also regularly clean out the dishwasher filter (a.k.a. dishwasher trap). All of this makes sure your dishwasher can run at full efficiency.

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