Frugal Tips, Home Organizing

How to Make the Most of Your Dishwasher

A new dishwasher was installed in our home recently. The old one bit the dust after we had issues like leaking water and then the dishes would come out not fully cleaned. I don’t mind washing dishes by hand but I really dislike how much water gets wasted from it. We run our dishwasher every other day, so the water usage from doing dishes by hand was a quite a concern, especially when you live in a drought stricken area. It was such a relief when the old dishwasher was replaced by a new one.

It took me a few days to get used to the new dishwasher. You know how you keep thinking the old one was better (although it was not and your know that too) and how they don’t make things the way they used to anymore. But eventually I figured out to get the most out of new my dishwasher and here are the steps to make the most of your dishwasher-

Use good dish washing detergent-

There are a lot of dish washing detergents available in the market and a lot of them have toxic chemicals in them. As detergents can leave residue, consuming these residual chemicals is not the best for your family’s health. We use a phosphate free detergent from Trader Joe’s. Why Phosphate free? Because “Phosphates found in cleaning products have been found to be one of the most damaging pollutants to waterways”, according to Earth Friendly Products. I like to use the detergent from Trader Joe’s since it’s earth friendly and my dishes come out clean every time. And it’s a bargain at $3.99.
Check if the detergent cups can open fully. You don’t need to fill up the detergent cup to get sparkling dishes. Read the dishwasher manual to find out their recommended quantity. Too much detergent can leave residue and etch your glasses.

Stack right-

Every dishwasher is different. You want to figure out the best way to stack the dishes in your dishwasher so you can get the most out of your it. The more efficiently you stack you dishes, the fewer times you will have to run your dishwasher. It takes some time to figure out effective ways to load your dishwasher but the time is so worth it. You will keep loading the dishwasher the same efficient way and consistently save time and energy from not having to run the dishwasher so often.
Here are a few to tips to lead your dishwasher effectively-
  • scrape off food bits before adding it to your dishwasher. Only pre rinse items that have food and dairy products stuck on them.
  • Angle cups as much as the rack design will allow to keep water from pooling on the base of the upside-down cups and glasses.
  • Mix up cutlery in the basket cutlery/utensils basket. Make sure the forks and spoons don’t nest together. Place some handles up and others down so that all surfaces get washed.
  • Load plates and bowls in a way so that the dirty side faces the water spray.
  • Carefully stack items so they don’t shadow each other. If you stack dishes too closely the water spray won’t be able to reach and clean the dish that’s on top.
  • Secure delicate items on the top rack. Alternating cups with glasses prevents scratching.
  • Don’t place cups and mugs too closely to prevent chipping.

Check the spinning arm-

Make sure that the spinning arms and rotating devices can spin freely and if any tall utensil is blocking the arms so the dishwasher can function properly. Look at the holes on the sprayer arm to make sure they are not clogged with food particles, hair or lint. Clean promptly.

Clean the drain-

Run the garbage disposal to clear it out before turning on the dishwasher since they share the same drain. Look inside the bottom of the dishwasher and remove any food or objects from the filter. Dislodge and take out anything that’s blocking the drain.

Clean the inside of your dishwasher-

Grease, detergent residue, and calcium deposits build up inside your dishwasher.  Run a wash cycle every few month while your dishwasher is empty. Use a scrubber to clean the door and where you find grease build up, especially near the door hinges. Using vinegar, borax and baking soda with your dish washing detergent also help keeping the dishwasher clear.

Check your water temperature-

You don’t need to use hot water to clean your dishes if you use a phosphate free dish detergents. A lot of energy is used to heat up the water and cold water does the same cleaning  job without the added cost on you electricity bill.

Drying the dishes-

I don’t use heat setting to save on energy and to be safe from the negative effects of heat on plastic items. I use air drying instead and my dishes come out dry. The spoons take longer than the rest but I turn my dishwasher at night so the dishes/utensils get plenty of time to be dry by the morning.

Bonus effective tips-

When you unload your dishwasher, unload the bottom first so it won’t matter if there is any drip from the top rack.

You can use your dishwasher to clean your drip pans on your stove and the glass shelves from your fridge.

Do not use your dishwasher for wooden items as the wet and heat can warp the wood.

Cast irons pots/pans can become rusty if washed in the dishwasher.

The best time to run your dishwasher is at night. I use the delayed time setting to make the most of energy-saving. I also use the light clean option instead of normal/regular option that take twice the time and uses more water.

When my dishwasher stopped functioning properly, I realized how I took for granted the pleasure of waking up to washed and cleaned dishes. You forget this is a privilege and start expecting this blessing. The new dishwasher reminded me to be thankful for something I didn’t think about before- the consistent blessing from having a dishwasher that cleans the dishes- saving me time, energy and money. Alhamdulillah