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4 Dishwasher Hacks for Cleaner Dishes

Does silverware go up or down in the dishwasher? Is liquid detergent just as good as powder? We list some dishwasher secrets that’ll help your dishes achieve a deeper clean.

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It turns out that your dishwasher-loading habits aren't as efficient as you think. David Coll, product-line manager of dish care at Electrolux Major Appliances, divulged some noteworthy—and occasionally, downright weird—secrets that will make each wash cycle a bigger, better payload.

Dishwasher Hacks to Try Out

1. Skip the liquid detergent.

An economy-size bargain liquid detergent may beckon you during your next shopping trip. But Coll points out that powder detergents and tablets remove food gunk more efficiently.

2. Watch your flatware placement.

Take care when loading up forks and spoons. If you don't have the luxury of a horizontal silverware tray, remember to place some of your forks and spoons pointing up and some pointing down. If your washer doesn't allow for this arrangement, make sure you don't put all your forks together—mix them up with the spoons. Separating silverware allows the water to pass through each utensil more easily, meaning cleaner tines and spoon surfaces.

3. Wash your dishwasher, too.

Even your dishwasher needs a little R&R. Give your hardworking machine a rinse cycle, without the dishes, so that it can better clean your kitchen goods.

4. Clean more than dishes.

Your daily travel coffee mug and cereal bowl make frequent appearances in your machine's tray, but more items can also reap the deep-cleaning rewards of a position there. Coll says that items like vacuum-cleaner attachments, kitchen sponges, baseball caps, contact cases, razors, and even makeup brushes are fair game for a wash cycle.

Watch This Old House TV plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey add a new dishwasher to a kitchen before tackling the upgrade on your own.

Get your money's worth when it comes to utilities by setting a manual timer on your dishwasher. Though they don't advertise it, many utilities offer cheaper off-peak pricing for electricity—to the tune of a 50 percent discount or more.