A Quick Rinse
First things first, rinse the dishes. This is especially important if you aren't loading the dishwasher right away. Yes, the dishwasher is designed to get all the food from the dishes, but a quick rinse ensures that the dishes won't need to be rewashed. If you are confident that your dishwasher will get stuck-on food, forgo the rinse, but chances are a quick rinse will save you rewashing later.
Silverware and Utensils
Use a small colander to rinse silverware and keep it contained after mealtime. This little trick ensures that no silverware ends up down the disposal, and it's easy to put the silverware in the dishwasher basket: Simply bring the colander to the dishwasher and load the silverware basket. Debates ensue when people discuss the "proper" way to place silverware in the basket: tines up or tines down? Regardless of your preferred method, always empty the dishwasher with clean hands to keep those clean dishes clean.
Rinse and Stack
Stack dishes on the counter according to type if you aren't ready to load the dishwasher yet (i.e. you still need to unload it). This is a time-saver when it comes to loading the dishwasher because everything is all set to be placed in the dishwasher. Putting dishes in the dishwasher in an organized way will save time unloading the dishwasher as well.
Glasses on Top, Plates and Bowls on the Bottom
Keep a standard format of glasses on top and plates and bowls on the bottom. Arranging the same glasses and plates together simplifies putting away the dishes. Stack or group dishes and glassware on the counter above the dishwasher as you remove them, then put them away. This quick and simple trick will cut the time it takes to put dishes and glassware in half because you aren't making as many trips to the cupboards.
Use the Heat of the Dishwasher to Clean
Use the sanitize or hot water cycle on your dishwasher every time you run the dishwasher to effectively kill the germs on your dishes. Get your dishwasher started out right by running the hot water in the sink so the dishwasher starts working with hot water. When the water is hot from the start, it can rinse and clean your dishes effectively. Did you know that you can even put your sponges or dish wand scrubbers (if they're removable) in the dishwasher to sanitize them? Did you know that the kitchen sponge is considered one of the dirtiest things in most homes? Wash your kitchen sponges in the dishwasher nightly to keep them germ-free.
Check for Blockages
Make sure that the arms of the dishwasher aren't blocked by a large pot or pan to ensure that the dishwasher is able to spray and get everything clean. It's never fun to open the dishwasher and realize that half the dishes were cleaned and the other half weren't – take a second to double-check for blockages.
This article originally appeared on www.bhg.com