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Load a Dishwasher

The Martha Stewart Show

Most of us give little thought to our dishwashers -- we just load the dishes, add the detergent, and turn it on. But a bit of planning goes a long way toward keeping your dishes and utensils in their best shape and getting them as clean as possible. Before loading your dishes, you should take a look at where the water is coming from -- whether there are two water distributors or only one. With this knowledge, you can arrange your dishes to get them as clean as possible. Also, remember to adjust the washing cycle depending on what you put in the dishwasher -- a heavy-duty cycle for pots and pans, a gentle cycle with cooler water for fine china and crystal.

Tips for Using the Dishwasher
1. Make sure silver and stainless steel are separate; their metals can be damaged if they touch; a chemical reaction could cause staining on the silver.

2. Place pots, plates, and heavy-duty dishes on lower rack (heat and water pressure are more intense there).

3. Stagger small plates with large ones.

4. Load pots, pans, and large cookware on the sides (delicate glasses and dishes go on the top rack).

5. Place glasses and mugs in rows between prongs.

6. Place bowls down the center of top shelf.

7. Make sure no items touch or they may get chipped.

Items That Don't Belong in the Dishwasher
-Knives: They will become dull.
-Pewter, brass, and bronze: It will tarnish.
-Wood: It may warp or crack.
-Cast iron: The seasoning is lost and the iron rusts.
-Tin pots and pans: It may rust.
-Gold-plated flatware: It will become discolored.
-China and crystal: It is delicate and may crack.