Loading the dishwasher: what’s best?

In the midst of a recent kitchen cabinet redesign, we got into a discussion about dishwashers and the best way to load them, from what should go on the top rack to the best way to load silverware.


The appliance manufacturer will usually suggest the most efficient loading patterns, but silverware – handles up or down? – now THAT is as controversial an issue as to which way to hang toilet tissue.

One of us weighed in on the issue of germs and clean hands, noting that she was once told to always load with the handles up, because that decreases the chance of passing germs along. The logic is that there is already so much touching of plates and silverware in unloading the dishwasher and setting the table, she said, that this is one way to deflect germs.

To maximize the cleaning power of your machine, she suggested, alternate knives, forks and spoons so they don’t end up nesting into one another. We liked that one!

Then there is the issue of safety. Knives with the handles down are a sure sign of a walking disaster, she noted, just as are forks with sharp tines.

And yet, so many people load to minimize water spots, especially if they have older machines or particularly hard water.

A quick Internet search scored about 11,000,000 results to this dilemma, from videos to opinion pieces.

Where do you weigh in on this one?