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QUIZ: Are You a Dishwasher Sinner or Saint?

Discover the most common dishwasher mistakes to determine if you’re cleaning your dishes correctly. Take our quiz about dishwasher rinse aids, type of detergent and pre-washing dishes to see if you’ve got some bad behavior to correct!

If your plates and silverware always come out clean, and your dishwasher seems to be in working order, chances are you don’t give the appliance much thought. However, your dishwasher can go from great to grim pretty fast if you’re not taking care of this kitchen workhorse.

While there are general upkeep tasks we should all be doing, like cleaning the filter, how we use the dishwasher every day can have a huge impact. From how it’s loaded to the use of rinse aid and pre-washing dishes, these daily habits all affect how your dishwasher performs. Find out how your habits stack up by taking our quiz.

8 Dishwasher Best Practices

  1. There’s a fine line between under- and overfilling your dishwasher. Find a happy medium so that dishes don’t bump and break during a cycle, but there’s still enough room for everything to come out clean.

  2. If you’re not using a rinse aid, you’ve probably got a lot of streaky wet dishes on your hands. Use it during every cycle to avoid spots and help your washer dry your dishes.

  3. Unless you have large particles of food on your dishes, pre-rinsing isn’t necessary and could actually hinder dishwasher performance. If there’s nothing for the detergent to cling to, it can be abrasive to dishes.

  4. The convenience factor of pods can’t be beat, and Consumer Reports found that single-dose units cleaned better than traditional powder and gel detergent.

  5. It takes time for hot water to filter through to your dishwasher, so give it a head start: Run your kitchen sink faucet as hot as possible for a bit before starting a load. Your dishes will get cleaner, and your machine will work more effectively.

  6. Keep delicate items like wine glasses and malleable ones like plastic containers in the dishwasher’s top rack. Plates, pots and pans, and larger items are best suited for the bottom.

  7. In many cases, the normal cycle should do the trick, but it may not always be the best choice. To clean tough grime, delicate glasses or to disinfect, you’d be better off using more specialized cycles.

  8. Clean your filter every week, and your dishwasher will thank you. As soon as you see food accumulating, remove the filter and get rid of the debris.

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