Getting the Most out of Your Dishwasher. (The Machine, not the Person.)

Let’s face it: Dishwashers are a modern marvel. These beloved machines have become household staples, yet there’s so much we don’t know about them. We’re here to solve these mysteries. Or just help you save a few bucks.

Sort Smarter
Even energy-efficient dishwashers can be wasteful if they’re filled with space-eating pots and pans. Handwashing these bulkier items can save a lot of water by reducing the number of loads. Puzzle-masters excel with this task.

TLC (Tender Loving Clean)
Show your dishwashers some love from time-to-time with a cleaning. Place a dishwasher-safe container with one cup of vinegar on the top rack, then start the hot cycle. After that cycle is complete, pour some baking soda along the bottom of the dishwasher and run a short wash cycle. Because what’s the point of cleaning with something that’s dirty?

Sweat the Small Stuff
Tired of fishing for lids, straws and tiny utensils that fell through the rack? Put them in a dishwasher-safe mesh bag and leave your worries behind. Well, at least this very specific worry.

Good for Pets, too
Hopefully you didn’t stop reading at the headline and put your cat on the top rack. If you did, go shut off the machine immediately and turn yourself into the authorities. We’re talking about pet toys, which are basking in bacteria. Rubber and plastic toys can be cleaned on the top rack — just make sure they don’t go through the dry cycle.

Super (Gross) Sponges
Every so often, toss your kitchen sponge into the utensil compartment. (Be sure to wring it out, first.) After all, a kitchen sponge can host 54 billion bacteria per cubic centimeter. Barely eked out that sentence without gagging.

Let it Linger
A lot of the energy your dishwasher uses happens during the heat drying of its contents. If you’re in no rush, turn off the dry cycle and open the dishwasher once the rinse cycle has finished. It’ll leave your glasses streak-free and your energy bill a little trimmer. Maybe you can use the extra cash to patronize your favorite online cleaning brand. No? It was worth a shot :)