Free Downloadable Guide: How to Load a Dishwasher Correctly

Make sure everyone is loading your dishwasher the most effective way.

Top drawer or bottom? Right side up or upside down? Without an official guide, knowing how to stow dishes can be quite the conundrum.

Follow our basic dishwasher rules and download our Dishwasher Loading Diagram for easy-to-follow illustrations anyone in your house can follow.

Bottom Drawer

  • Place large platters, cutting boards, cookie sheets, baking dishes and pans around the perimeter
  • Add plates across the drawer in a straight line, staggering large dinner plates and smaller salad plates to give each dish more exposure
  • Set large and medium-sized bowls in the remaining space, positioning them in a slanted or completely downward position for optimal cleaning
  • Complete the bottom drawer loading by placing dirty silverware in the cutlery container

Top Drawer

  • Line glasses and mugs, facing downward, around the outer edges
  • Add bowls and extra-small saucers to the centre section, placing each on a slant to create extra space
  • Gently nest stemware along the left-hand side — many dishwashers feature a protective holder for these items
  • In the small pockets of space between your top-drawer dishes, try laying long, slender items like tongs and spatulas

Tip: Be sure to check the height of your stemware before closing the drawer to avoid broken glass.

Tricks of the Trade
In addition to our dish organization ideas, put these smart tips to use:

  • Stow Cutlery Safely: Situate butter knives, steak knives and forks with the handles pointing upward. You’ll avoid accidental nicks when unloading clean dishes.
  • Mix and Match: It’s tempting to sort silverware into its own sections, but since each is a different size, mix them up for a more thorough clean.
  • Heat Rises: Place plastic items on the higher drawer to avoid melting and warping, since the bottom drawer is exposed to more heat.

Tip: If the dishwasher is filled with a lot of plastic items, consider running it on a low- or no-heat cycle.

Is This Dishwasher-Safe?
Though dishwashers serve as a helpful catchall for most of your dirty dishes, there are certain items that should steer clear of this appliance:

  • Wooden items (mixing spoons, bowls and rolling pins)
  • Hand-painted dishes
  • Sharp cooking knives
  • Delicate glassware and silver
  • Aluminium


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