The One Thing You Need to Do Every Time Before You Run the Dishwasher

published May 3, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

If you have a home with dishwasher, it probably saves you loads of time on hand-washing. But dishwashers, as quick and thorough as they are, can also wreak havoc on your kitchenware when they’re not used thoughtfully. Delicate glassware, for example, could easily shatter in a dishwasher, while a wooden cutting board or spoon might end up split. 

To prevent those common dishwasher mistakes—and to make sure your dishwasher can do its job cleaning the pieces that do belong in it—it’s important to get into a habit of double-checking your load before you run it. 

Your check should look like this: On top of ensuring everything inside is dishwasher safe, make sure you’ve done a good job scraping extra food off your plates and silverware (you do not need to rinse them clean, though!), there’s one more simple thing you should add to your dishwasher-check before you start it: Shake both racks to make sure nothing can jiggle around and break.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Why You Should Shake Your Dishwasher Racks Before You Run Every Load

This simple two-second habit is key, whether you’re running a partial or a very full load. If stuff has room to jiggle around beforehand, it will definitely jiggle around once the water starts streaming in. And then you run the risk of things breaking or getting damaged.

Instead of taking that risk, just give the racks a shake. If things shift around or bump into each other, you’ll need to rearrange some pieces or even take some things out to hold for the next load or to wash by hand. (And don’t just jam the dishwasher so full that pieces are wedged in there super tight—because that will compromise the dishwasher’s ability to clean thoroughly.)

Yes, it’s a slightly delicate balancing act, but checking off this step is sure to be less annoying than cleaning out broken glass from your dishwasher.

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: The One Thing You Need to Do Every Time Before You Run the Dishwasher