What Should Not Go in Bottom Rack of a Dishwasher?

The bottom rack of a dishwasher is not suitable for plastic items, as they can melt or warp due to the high heat and water pressure. Other items that should not go in the bottom rack include delicate glassware, large pots and pans, and sharp knives. In this article, we will explain why these items should be avoided and how to properly load your dishwasher for optimal cleaning and safety.

Why Plastic Items Should Stay on the Top Rack

Plastic items, such as food containers, cups, and utensils, are more likely to get damaged if they are placed on the bottom rack of a dishwasher. This is because the bottom rack is closer to the heating element, which can reach temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot water and steam can also cause plastic to soften and deform, especially if the items are not dishwasher-safe.

According to Alex Varela, the general manager of Dallas Maids, a house cleaning service in Dallas, Texas, “As a rule of thumb, plastics should not be placed on the bottom rack of your dishwasher. Dishwashers use extremely hot water to sanitize and melt grease. The bottom rack is the one closest to the heater, which is why you should not place plastic items there.”1

Plastic items should be placed on the top rack, where the water temperature and pressure are lower. They should also be spaced apart to allow proper air circulation and drying. Additionally, you should avoid using high-temperature settings, such as “Sanitize” or “Heavy Duty”, as they can increase the risk of melting or warping plastic. You should also check the labels of your plastic items to make sure they are dishwasher-safe, as some plastics may contain harmful chemicals that can leach out when exposed to heat.

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Why Glassware Should Stay on the Top Rack

Glassware, such as wine glasses, tumblers, and mugs, should also be placed on the top rack of a dishwasher, as they can break or chip if they are on the bottom rack. The bottom rack is more prone to vibrations and movements, which can cause glassware to collide with each other or with metal items, such as cutlery or pots. The bottom rack is also more likely to have hard water deposits, which can leave spots or stains on glassware.

Glassware should be placed on the top rack, where they can be secured by tines or holders to prevent them from moving or tipping over. They should also be arranged in a way that prevents them from touching each other or other items, as this can cause scratches or cracks. You should also use a gentle or delicate cycle, as well as a rinse aid, to ensure that your glassware comes out clean and shiny.

Why Large Pots and Pans Should Stay on the Bottom Rack

Large pots and pans, such as skillets, saucepans, and baking dishes, should be placed on the bottom rack of a dishwasher, as they can take up too much space and block the water spray on the top rack. The bottom rack is designed to accommodate larger and heavier items, as it has more space and stronger tines. The bottom rack is also closer to the heating element, which can help remove stubborn grease and food residue from pots and pans.

Large pots and pans should be placed on the bottom rack, facing down or at an angle, to allow the water and detergent to reach all surfaces. They should also be spaced apart to avoid overcrowding and ensure proper water circulation. You should also scrape off any large food particles or soak any burnt-on food before loading them, as this can improve the cleaning performance and prevent clogging the filter.

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Why Sharp Knives Should Stay on the Bottom Rack

Sharp knives, such as chef’s knives, steak knives, and paring knives, should be placed on the bottom rack of a dishwasher, as they can damage or dull the blades if they are on the top rack. The top rack is more exposed to the water spray, which can cause the knives to rub against other items or the rack itself, resulting in nicks or scratches. The top rack is also more likely to have plastic or wooden items, which can harbor bacteria or moisture that can corrode the knives.

Sharp knives should be placed on the bottom rack, with the blades facing down, to protect them from abrasion and corrosion. They should also be secured by tines or slots to prevent them from moving or falling out. You should also use a mild or regular cycle, as well as a quality detergent, to prevent rusting or discoloration. You should also dry the knives by hand as soon as the cycle is finished, as leaving them wet can cause spotting or rusting.

Conclusion

The bottom rack of a dishwasher is not suitable for all types of items, as it can cause damage or deterioration due to the high heat and water pressure. Plastic items, glassware, large pots and pans, and sharp knives should be placed on the appropriate racks to ensure proper cleaning and safety. By following these tips, you can extend the life of your dishes and your dishwasher, as well as save time and energy.