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Dishwasher Buying Guide

Dishwasher Buying Guides - Billy GuyattsThe one appliance in my home I dread breaking down is my dishwasher. It doesn’t just wash the dishes, it hides them, gives the kids a chore and leaves me with more time on my hands than any other appliance. Just the thought of being without it makes me nervous!

We love them because they are a set and forget item. You can choose when they go on and they open easily if you have forgotten a spoon.

But are you getting the most from you dishwasher? Are there tricks you could use that would give you even more time between washes? Are you stacking it properly? Have you got the drying function on to its maximum capacity? Are there different tools that you could buy that would free up precious space like top mounted cutlery trays?


Try to have consistency with where you stack specific items. Place the dinner plates together. Place the cereal bowls together. They sit into each other so this creates maximum space in the washer and when it comes to unpacking, all the same items are together and can be stacked together for quick unpacking.

Load drinking items in the upper trays on the left and right of the dishwasher.

How often do your containers flip over only to fill with water and grit? Place something with weight against them to avoid this.

This may be a revelation to some but there is what is known as a glass holder. It is attached to the top rod of your cup holder tray. It can be pulled down very easily and it will hold the stem of your champagne and wine glasses. This will protect them and keep them in place. The added bonus is you can still put small cups and small glasses in the tray and the stemmed glasses will have enough clearance to sit next to them. If the cup or normal glass are too high, the glass holder will not be able to flip into place so you will know without damaging anything if a cup needs to be moved elsewhere.

Pin rows are also hidden tools which make your dishwasher multi functional. These are the prongs that stick up to hold your bowls and plates. In some dishwashers, these can be moved. This allows for larger items such as pot, oven dishes or bigger vessels to be placed without any interference or compromise on space.

Some trays are completely removable which could be good for washing higher items like vases or slide out oven tray holders. Some have dedicated lockable baskets where sharp knives can be kept from little hands. Face all items to the middle, this is where the jet spray is aimed.

Pre-washing tips

My dishwasher was out of action not so long ago. The problem was something retailers in the industry call “customer abuse”. I was not fully scraping the plates before placing them in the washer. Sounds ridiculous when the service man tells you to scrap the plates until they’re virtually clean and maybe even give them a rinse. The non-abusive customer voice in me says “Why didn’t I think of that?” The busy Mum voice inside me says “Oh for goodness sake! Do I have to tie their shoe laces as well?”

What are the different programs?

This will ultimately depend on what dishwasher you buy but it probably won’t be your first so you will know how you use your dishwasher so if you only use one or two settings, don’t then pay a bomb for something that has eight settings with different variations built into them. Absolutely buy something with the main 4 though.


This is a quick rinse cycle with zero dishwashing liquid. This is the equivalent to a pre-rinse under the tap. This won’t wash your dishes, it will only get the leftovers off them. It will be a quick cycle.

Glass/Quick clean

This will be a quick cycle on a hot temp and will only be good for glasses and coffee cups. Only the top spray arm emits hot water.


This is good for pots and pans. It’s a longer cycle and the dishwasher will be working at its highest temperature.


This is the most commonly used cycle. Most dishwashers default to this cycle. It’s is reliable and we know if the dishwasher hasn’t washed correctly, it is generally “customer abuse” in that we have a fork or knife sticking too far out of the cutlery basket that has prevented the spray arm from cycling efficiently.

Dishwasher Buying Guides - Billy Guyatts 

Final Word

Once a month or so, with the dishwasher empty, try to get into the habit of splashing some white vinegar in, turning on the normal cycle and letting it do its thing. White vinegar is good for removing stains and odours. It is a natural cleaner and is very safe. It will flush through any built up food and grime in the pipes and restore the dishwasher to its best washing capability. Try to coincide this with another “sometimes job” like cleaning the fridge, just so you get into the habit. This will definitely prolong the life of your dishwasher.

Something the dishwashing tablet companies won’t tell you is that there is just as much washing capability in half a tablet as there is in a full tablet. This will also stop the residual gunk building up.