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The Eternal Debate- How DO you load a dishwasher?

Posted by: Donje Putnam

It seems that every American has a contrary opinion on how to put things in the dishwasher. There are three basic types of dishwasher loader in this great land today:


  1. The Tetris Player (TPers):  Usually male, born between 1964-1983, this individual spent a lot of time playing Legos, Lincoln Logs or Tetris.  To the Tetris Player (TPer), object of loading the dishwasher is to compute the most efficient way to stack the most dishes possible into the dishwasher, but in a specific order and with cleaning in mind.  While uber efficient in getting all the dinner dishes in there, the TPer can be annoying to the other types of loader as he will take all the things that you put in out, and re-load them to his high standards.  He or she often complains that no one loads the dishwasher, but why would a Casual Stacker (see #3) even try when the TPer will re-do everything?  If one is particularly afflicted, he will make you file all your silverware in a specific order to avoid “spooning”.

  2. The Pre-Rinse or Dier(PRoDers):  Tends to be female and over 40, although some males are also PRoDers.  Folks of this loading persuasion believe that the dishwasher is not actually capable of washing dishes. She will rinse each dish before loading, not realizing that today’s technology has advanced to handle most foods.  Ironically, the dishwasher does not reduce the time or water consumption of PRoDers as he or she practically washes the dishes by hand.  PRoDers are usually very neat people and may also be closet TPers.

  3. The Casual Stacker (CSers):  The CSers are the least worried about cleanliness and use the dishwasher for convenience; basically, to get out of washing dishes.  The goal of the CSer is to get as many dishes as possible into the dishwasher, to avoid hand washing, but in contrast to the TPers, there is no organizational thought involved. Teenage boys are always CSers, though they may develop into one of the other loaders in the future.  CSers drive TPers CRAZY as they just shove things in the dishwasher “willy-nilly” and often leave bowls facing upward to collect water (a pet peeve of any TPer).  Sometimes the CSer has to rerun the dishwasher because things are not clean, and on more than one occasion this CSer has broken a glass because she put them too close together. Oops.

  4. Not really a type, but my parents currently use their dishwasher to store clean dishes.


In the hopes of bringing unity to this great land, I have put in the time and effort and read two dishwasher manuals to come up with the definitive answer to how to load your dishwasher.  I did it for my country.


Loading:  Unfortunately for the rest of us, Tetris Players have the right idea.  Placing your items carefully in the dishwasher can make a difference in cleaning.  

  • Place items' dirty side to spray, seems obvious

  • Don’t stack items, the bottom one will not get clean

  • Place glasses and cups between tines, not over them (the tine may make a water spot)

  • Place large items in the back as they will block detergent if put in the front

  • Angle coffee cups and mugs as much as possible to avoid the tiny puddle that settles on the tops

  • Don’t mix stainless steel and silver as they will make evil chemical magic together during the wash


Before singing a song of victory, TPers should note that their constant reloading of the dishwasher will lead to the other loaders leaving the dishes beside the sink all the time, as pictured above.  No one needs to do double work!

Pre-rinsing:  Not usually needed with today’s technology (sorry PRoDers!), but do please remove all large clumps of food. Hint: If you are going to leave the dishwasher overnight before running, or perhaps it takes a couple of days to make a load, you might pre-rinse.

Casual Stacking:  You guys are all wrong, though frankly any time a teenager boy puts something in a dishwasher as opposed to beside the sink, I consider it a small victory for not only America, but the world.

All of Signature Place Apartments' floor plans include dishwashers for your conveinence.  How you load it is entirely your business.

I found this great video on loading a dishwasher!



Filed Under: Apartment Living

About the Author
Donje Putnam Gravatar
Donje Putnam

Donje Putnam has over 15 years experience in the multi-family housing industry and has worked at many different types of apartment communities, from tax credit to high end and from 88 units to 400.  Her favorite thing about being in "the industry" is that you learn a little bit about everything!  She lives in Newport News, VA with her husband, two kids, a very calm dog, a very hyper dog and a very aloof cat. 


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