How to Load a Dishwasher with Pots and Pans?

Dishes in a dishwasher with a lime green wall in the background

You May Think You Know-How

It seems like such an easy task. Just put the pots and pans inside the appliance, close the door and turn it on. But nothing is as easy as it seems. There is a trick to loading your dishwasher.

The key is to make sure that the spray gets to all of the dishes loaded inside. That is not so easy to do. To learn how to load your dishwasher correctly, just continue to read our article. It provides the guidelines you need to make sure all your dishes come out of the appliance nice and clean.

Some Guidelines to Help You

Overhead view view of pots and pans in a dishwasher rack

1. Dirty dishes need to be placed facing the center of the appliance and slightly angled towards the bottom of the dishwasher. This helps them get washed, rinsed, and dried more efficiently.

2. Give the dishes plenty of room and do not place too many dishes inside at any one time. Do not stack dishes on top of each other or the spray may not reach them.

3. Make sure to use the tines to keep the dishes and bowls from knocking into each other. Those tines will also help keep your dishes from falling over and miss getting cleaned.

4. Also, make sure all dishes you place inside this appliance are rated dishwasher safe. Hand wash those that aren’t.

Guidelines for Upper Rack Loading

Overhead view of coffee cup bottomes in a dishwasher rack

1. Cups, mugs, water bottles, and similar glassware should be placed upside down and along the edge of the upper rack from front to back.

2. Make sure to position any bowls or pots, etc., between the tines and have them angled downward to receive the spray.

3. As long as they are safe, plastic bowls and other containers, as well as their lids should be placed on the top rack. This keeps them from the heating element at the bottom of the dishwasher which could warp or melt the plastic if it gets too close.

Also, make sure those plastic items are large enough to stay securely on the top rack. if they are too small and can slip through the openings, you should hand wash them instead.

4. Lay long cooking implements like spatulas, etc., flat on the top rack. When you place them there make sure they are secure and will not slip down through the openings on the upper rack.

Guidelines for Lower Rack Loading

Non stick skillet on a white background.

1. When you place the dinner and other plates between the tines on the lower rack, make sure they are tilted towards the sprayer on the bottom of the appliance.

2. The larger bowls should be placed between the tines as well. However, this time they should be around the edge of the lower rack and not in the center. Don’t forget to angle them down towards the sprayer.

All dishes should be facing the center of the dishwasher and slightly angled down.

3. Pots, pans, and similar cookware should also populate the sides or edges of the lower rack. The same positioning applies to them as they do plates and bowls.

4. Flat pans, like cookie sheets, should be placed at the side or the back of the lower tray but keep a distance between them and the dishwasher door. If you place them near the door, these pans have a tendency to block the soap from being distributed to the other dishes.

5. Put the silver or flatware into the utensil holders and again, do not overload this tray. If you do you can keep your utensils from getting cleaned. Knives go in with handles up. Spoons and forks should have their handles down to enhance their cleaning.

Separating Your Dishes into the Right Racks

Assortment of dishes on a table

There are specific dishes that belong in each rack of your dishwasher. Making sure you place them properly ensures that they are protected and will get clean.

Top rack: cups, coffee mugs, wine glasses, stemware, plastics, small bowls and plates, and large utensils.

Bottom rack: dinner & lunch plates, large bowls, pots, pans, flat pans, serving platters, eating utensils, and baking items.

Some Final Words

White plates being removed from the bottom rack of a dishwasher

Now that you know how to load your dishwasher the right way, there is one important step to always remember. Do NOT forget to put the proper amount of soap in the detergent dispenser.

All that proper loading will go for naught if you forget this essential item. Take your time and make sure you do this chore right, so you do not have to do it again when some of the dishes come out dirty.

Please keep in mind that we may receive a small commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

Close up of a dishwasher rack

How Do You Put Rollers on a Dishwasher Rack?

Woman in an apron kneeling down, scrubbing the inside of a dishwasher

How to Get My Dishwasher to Clean Better?