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How to load a dishwasher

How to load your dishwasher

Find out how to load your dishwasher properly for optimum cleaning. From rinsing to not overloading to stacking your kitchenware in the best spot, we cover best practice.

Despite how advanced your dishwasher or how powerful your dishwashing detergent may be, you run the risk of unsatisfactory cleans if you don’t stack your dishwasher correctly. 

Thankfully, knowing how to load your dishwasher is straightforward – as long as you follow some best practices. Our simple tips below can help:

Don’t rinse your dishes

Believe it or not, it’s a myth that you need to rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Although you should always remove excess food on plates to prevent the machine from clogging, rinsing your dishes before the dishwasher will only waste valuable water and increase your bills.

Don’t overload

It may be tempting to squeeze all your family’s dishes into one load to save time, but an overloaded dishwasher can cause damage to dishes. Plus, you may find that items don’t clean as well due to overcrowding disrupting the flow of the water and detergent.

Keep plastics on the top rack

The hottest part of your dishwasher is at the bottom, where the heating element is positioned. Keep your dishwasher-safe plastics on the top rack to prevent them from warping. Learn more about what plastic can go in your dishwasher so as not to damage your best Tupperware.

Load your glasses and mugs on the top rack

The top rack of your dishwasher is also designed to clean cups, glasses and mugs – when they’re placed correctly, the water and detergent can effectively clean inside.

Place heavily dirtied items face down

If you’re cleaning trays or items with baked on food or other stubborn residue, make sure you place them face down, so the spray arms can effectively clean with accurate amounts of pressure.

Load utensils in the dishwasher handle down

Load your forks and spoons handle down to make sure the dirtiest parts get cleaned the most thoroughly. For knives, however, you’re going to want to load them blade down, handle up to prevent you from cutting yourself when unloading.

Put oversized items towards the sides and back

Cutting boards and platters should be placed towards the sides and back of the dishwasher to prevent them from disrupting the flow of water and detergent.

Load dishwasher with pots and pans at the bottom

Most pots and pans made of stainless steel can go in the bottom rack of the dishwasher – however, be sure to check the manufacturers advice before loading. 

Need more information on how to wash different kinds of kitchenware? Find out more in our articles below.

BPA-Free plastic




What items can be put in the dishwasher?

These days, most kitchen items can go in the dishwasher – however, it’s always important to check first, so you avoid ruining both your appliance and your valuable kitchenware. Learn more about what items are dishwasher safe here

Video tutorial: How to load your dishwasher

Your detergent needs to complement the cleansing action of your dishwasher. Automatic dishwashing detergent is specially formulated to disperse food residue and greasy soiling, hold it in suspension, and remove it in the final rinse. It does all this while producing little or no suds.

For best results use the detergent recommended by the manufacturer of your machine.

However, finish is the #1 brand in the automatic dishwashing category. It is recommended by leading dishwasher manufacturers such as Bosch*. In very hard water areas we also recommend the use of separate Salt and Rinse aid to protect your machine and achieve the best result.

*Finish brand is #1 global value sales in Automatic Dish Washing category (source: NielsenIQ RMS data).

No need to! Pre-rinsing is a thing of the past. And although many British households do it, it’s time consuming and wasteful of precious resources.   

Modern detergents such as Finish Quantum Ultimate contain both bleach and enzymes and are recommended by dishwasher manufacturers for use without pre-rinsing.

Bleach fights tough stains like tea and coffee, and enzymes breakdown proteins and starches. All you have to do is scrape the larger pieces into the rubbish bin and load your dishwasher.

Dishwasher tablets contain surfactants, which affect the liquid they are added to, making it more efficient at picking up and washing away debris. They also include enzymes (to break down starchy foods and protein), builders (to tackle hard water) and safe bleaches.

Once you’ve put your dishwasher tablet into the detergent dispenser compartment, your machine will release the contents at the optimal time allowing the tab to disintegrate into the water, release all ingredients and clean your dishes!

Your dishwashing detergent should be stored in a dry environment. If you are using powder, be careful to close the spout after each use to help keep the product dry (and to avoid spills!). Like all cleaning products, store your detergent out of the reach of children.

Rinse aid is required to:

  • Ensure spot-free, shiny dishes
  • Assist the drying function

Salt is required to:

  • Protect your machine from limescale
  • Soften the water for better cleaning

With multi-benefit tablets such as Finish Quantum Ultimate and Finish All in One, rinse aid and salt functions are included. However, in very hard water areas we also recommend the use of separate Salt and Rinse aid products to protect your machine and achieve the best result.

"Dishwasher tablets are very simple to use. If needed, remove any protective packaging, pop the tablet into your detergent dispensing compartment, close the compartment, turn on your washing machine and let technology and Finish handle the rest!

For detailed information on how to use Finish Tablets, read on below.

With dry hands, remove the tablet from the container and place it in the detergent dispenser. Ensure both the dispenser and the tablet is dry to prevent it from dissolving prematurely.

Close the tablets packaging lid tightly. Store away from heat and moisture to protect the remaining tablets.

Our tablets are wrapper-free (with the exception of Finish Classic) and are designed to release their contents when they come into contact with water. Do not pierce or attempt to unwrap the tablets.

Clip the detergent dispenser shut and close your dishwasher.

Make sure all items are dishwasher safe and separate silver from stainless steel.

Wash metal items according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Run dishwasher. The optimal water temperature is 51° – 60°C.

For optimal results, it is recommended to also use Finish Rinse Aid for shinier and drier dishes (vs detergent alone).

Detergent tablets should always be placed in the detergent dispenser compartment.

If you’re placing the tablet at the bottom of the dishwasher it’s likely that it will dissolve too quickly, releasing the detergent during the prewash and leaving no detergent for the main wash cycle. This will reduce the efficiency of your wash.

Whether you need to remove the plastic from your dishwasher tablet depends on the product you have bought. As a good rule of thumb, if the tablet comes individually wrapped then yes, you should remove the plastic wrap before using. If, however, the tablet is encased in a skin of thin, transparent plastic, this should not be removed and will dissolve itself safely during the washing process.

Dishwasher tablets should only go in the dishwasher detergent compartment of your dishwasher, not loose in the dishwasher itself.