Use the Right Dishwasher Detergent
Dishwashers absolutely require dishwasher detergent. Never put hand dishwashing soap in a built in dishwasher or the accident described above will occur.
Use the Right Amount of Dishwasher Detergent
Too much detergent leaves nasty white film on your dishes which is very hard to clean off. Read the label before use. Dishes will come out clean with less detergent, but never more, than the manufacturer recommends.
Energy and water consumption are on our minds these days and, therefore, we try to get the most out of one load in the dishwasher; however, overstuffing dishwashers causes bumps and breaks, and all the dishes do not get clean. Allow some space between dishes so they all get clean and stay whole.
Too Dirty Dishes
Although contemporary dishwashers are terrific at removing food residue compared to models of yore, they still cannot fully clean dishes with gobs of food. Food clogs dishwasher vents which can cause damage to your dishwasher. Scrape dishes before you load them, and if dishes have a lot of dried-on food, you may still need to prewash them.
Top Rack Only, Really?
Yes, it is important to follow these instructions. Many objects are only dishwasher-safe on the top rack. Think plastics: forceful hot air or water can melt or leach extra toxins or dyes out of them. Also, delicate pieces can be broken by the dishwasher's spraying action. Generally, plates and pots go on the bottom, and glasses, bowls, and cups on the top.
Filling Utensil Baskets
Baskets are convenient but you must load them properly to get utensils clean. The best way is to load alternating types, so they don't nest, and keep spoons and forks face up. Put knives with blades down for safety, but if they don't get clean in the basket, place them horizontally on the upper shelf of the top rack, as you should do for long-handled serving utensils.
Cups, glasses, and bowls on the top rack often collect dishwasher water, so it's best to unload the bottom shelf first. This prevents the leftover water in the dishes on the top shelf from splashing down onto the clean, dry dishes below.
We often think that because a built in dishwasher's job is to wash, the dishwashers remain clean all the time. That's not so. Several times a year, run an empty dishwasher with dishwasher detergent or a cup of baking soda and white vinegar to keep it fresh and clean.