10 Handy Dishwasher Tips!

A few weeks back we made a video all about washing dishes using your hands. Following this, I received 73,240 requests for a video on washing dishes using your dishwasher, and because we here at Clean My Space do absolutely everything that we are told, here is a video all about dishwashers!

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Remove food Quickly!

Remember to scrape as much food into the garbage as you can, as quickly as you can – the longer food stays on your plate or bowl the tougher it is to remove and you avoid getting it stuck in your dishwasher’s filter..

To Pre-rinse or not to pre-rinse?

There’s much debate about pre-rinsing because it all depends on which dishwashing detergent you use…- some detergents actually do better when they have something to remove..however, some are not strong enough to remove everything from your dishes..

Here’s a good rule of thumb – if you notice your dishes aren’t coming out completely clean – then you try pre-rinsing and see if that sorts the problem..I also pre-rinse anything oily becuase I find that something that is super oily comes out best if pre-rinsed.

Personally, I pre-rinse because I only run the dishwasher once every 2 or 3 days and I don’t need my dishes stinking up the joint and growing fur in there..

Finally, if you run the dishwasher often, like 1 or 2 times a day, then you probably don’t need to pre-rinse your dishes..

Which detergent should I use?

I get this question quite a bit and because there are a million detergents on the market, I usually tell people it’s trial and error..

For what it’s worth, I use these Cascade power pack thingies and with my particular dishwasher they work quite well.  I’ve tested a number of different types in my dishwasher and I am happiest with the results.

Loading Tips!

– Plates and bowls go on the bottom with the soiled side facing inward… it’s a good idea to stagger large and small plates..

– Cups, glasses, containers and bowls go on the top rack, facing down – the top rack is also where you would put your plastic containers, large utensils and serving spoons..

– Pots and pans go on the bottom rack, facing down..

– Cutlery, surprisingly, goes in the cutlery holder – facing up – sharp knives facing down, just to be safe – if your cutery area isn’t individually separated like mine, you can also put some cutlery facing up and some facing down for better results..

– Big items like baking sheets, cutting boards and platters go around the parameter of the bottom rack..

– Don’t overcrowd your dishwasher, if you notice you are not getting great results, a crowded dishwasher can be the cause.

– And finally, if your water dispenser is blocked from spinning, you may also notice a reduction in cleaning capabilities.  Make sure nothing is blocking the water dispenser

What’s a rinse agent and should I use one?

A rinse agent is designed to aid in the drying process which reduce water spots, and also helps wash away any remaining detergent and food residue.  I have found that using vinegar instead of a store bought rinse agent works great!

What doesn’t go in the dishwasher?

  • Good knives – which can be dulled and usually rust
  • Insulated cups – which can become un-insulated
  • Anything silver or gold  or silver or gold plated
  • Crystal – which is a little too delicate
  • Disposable aluminum trays and disposable plastic containers
  • Cast iron and non-stick cookware
  • Wood utensils – which can crack and split

Load the dishwasher as you go!

Instead of putting a plate or glass in the sink, or on a counter – give it a quick rinse and put it in the dishwasher (we rinse because the dish is going to sit for a bit)

Use the right cycle and the right amount detergent

More is not necessary better, so run a cycle that cleans your dishes, but doesn’t waste extra water and use the recommended amount of detergent – extra detergent doesn’t make the dishes any cleaner and too much detergent hangs around….on your plates..

Get into a good dishwasher habit

We run ours at night and unload in the morning, it takes a few minutes and makes home time easier, that way we can put any lunch containers and the mess from cooking dinner directly into the dishwasher, which helps keep the kitchen clean and organized. When that doesn’t happen, we get a Mount Dishmore situation.

Run some hot water in the sink first

That way the water going into the dishwasher will start nice and hot right from the get go!

I hope you enjoyed this video and if you did – there’s a button down there that let’s me know just how much you care – so, go ahead and click it!

If you have a cleaning question I invite you to share it with the whole class by leaving it down below in the comment section below…we now make videos each and every Saturday so be sure to subscribe for more cool cleaning videos.

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. thanks for the vinegar hint, will save some $. I also never use the dry cycle..just open the dishwasher and pull out the trays a little and let them air dry, but do dry the silverware immediately and put away. There are only two of us so I usually wash every other day so usually pre-rinse at the faucet. Don’t wash my pots and pans in there, like them really clean and shiny so use detergent and brillo pads on them. But my cookie sheets look like they are 100 yrs old and well seasoned, love them and they make perfect cookies every time.

  2. Thanks for the great video! I just wanted to mention though that most Le Creuset pots and pans are dishwasher safe (provided they don’t have wooden handles).

    • Hi Danielle-
      While Le Creuset says occasional dishwasher cleaning is OK they do not recommend that you do this regularly as the dishwasher detergents may corrode and dull the enamel finish over time.

  3. We have rust in our water even tho we use a filter. It is building up in the dish washer even tho I run viniger thru it. Do you have a suggestion.

  4. hi Melissa I like the video but what detergent should I use with my dishwasher and how often I should clean my dishwasher.

  5. I found if I run one load without dishes (with soap) and spritz the inside down with vinegar and tooth brush the crack under the door, keeps my dishwasher clean and I don’t have to clean out the filter as much. I am not positive on if it is necessary once a week but I cook a lot and run the dishwasher about twice a day. Also for bottles and other small items (like kids cup lids, bottle tops or anti leak inserts) invest in a basket for the top rack.


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