Scouted Dishwasher Clean-Up Tips from ulrich inc

Linda Alvino, Ulrich Inc’s Consumer Care Consultant, has some timesaving dishwasher tips to share. Enjoy her expert advice:

With the holiday season almost upon us, and, well, even if you aren’t entertaining this year, the time will come when you’ll want to know how to get the most out of your dishwasher, especially when you have company or are entertaining for the holidays. The main goal is to save you time and effort on cleanup so you can spend more time enjoying your company.

Having been training our clients on the use and care of their kitchen appliances for over 12 years now, I’ve learned a few things – both through the training I’ve maintained with our product manufacturers and also in answering our clients’ very astute questions – so I’m happy to share a few things that I think will make your dishwasher experience even better than ever, especially when you’re handling a greater than average onslaught of dirty dishes:

#1: Don’t “prewash” your dishes. A simple scrape or wipe to get the big stuff off is sufficient. Modern dishwashers and dishwasher detergents are so effective that they do a good job on soiled dishes, especially if you wash them (in the dishwasher) right away – i.e. they don’t sit and crust up for too long. In fact, today’s dishwashing detergents are so effective that if you put in a dish that is “too clean”, the phosphates in the detergent will still “scrub away” at the surface of your dishes or glasses and, over time, can begin to cause etching – the foggy look that is the result of multiple washings by aggressive detergents (and most dishwasher detergents are) such that they actually make very fine scratches on the surface. So why not give your dishwasher and the detergent something to work on and save yourself some extra time and effort?

#2: Put in the basics and hand wash the odd balls. Your dishwasher is designed to house as great a number of the standard kitchen items as possible. The standard items include flat plates, rimmed soup bowls, water glasses, knives, forks, and spoons. You can fit, say, 10 flat plates in the space of 3 or 4 large or potentially odd-sized serving bowls or pots. You can fit a lot more water glasses in the space of a lesser number of stemmed wine glasses. So, pack in the basics and get the most items washed in your load. Likewise, if you think everything will not fit in one load, leave out the most lightly soiled items. The lightly soiled stuff can sit and wait for a second load if needed, and even if you still have to wash a few things by hand, you’ll have the lighter job on your hands. I like to put in all of my dinner plates, all of my salad plates, all of the water glasses (and any other glasses, cups or mugs that are cylindrical in shape), and all of my place setting utensils. What is left is usually wine glasses, serving bowls, some serving utensils, and pots and pans. The large bowls and pots and pans can go in next with the remaining serving utensils, then, last are the wine glasses – usually the next morning. Why? Well, you might need to use the plates again sooner than the pots and pans, and the wine glasses are usually so lightly soiled that they can sit for a while. Either way, you will definitely be able to knock out a lot more washing by fitting more things more efficiently into the dishwasher than if you try to get a few odd- shaped items in there.

#3: Make use of the Short, Express or Quick program of your dishwasher. Ok, yes, it is rare to be able to fit all of the dishes from a large crowd in one load. So make use of your dishwasher’s short or express cycle to run a quick load just after your first course. This way you can get the lightly soiled salad and/or soup dishes and maybe some cocktail plates or glasses out of the way to make room for the main course dishes to go in later. This can be done quickly while everyone’s bellies are taking a little breather before the main course. The express cycle typically takes about 45 minutes, so it won’t hold you up later on. The one caveat however, is that short cycles sometimes do not dry as effectively as longer cycles, so if you can, pop open the dishwasher door once it’s done running to accelerate the evaporation and drying.

Enjoy your company and your holidays!