For something we depend on so regularly, there is surprisingly little information available about effectively using a dishwasher! A little knowledge can make all the difference between having gorgeous stainless steel flatware and spending hours scrubbing intricate flatware patterns over the sink.
How many times have you broken a nail trying to scratch off that little 'bit-o-mystery' sticking to that supposedly clean bowl or stainless steel flatware? How often have you needed to drag out your scrub brush to get debris out of intricate flatware patterns? How often have you rushed to set the table for guests' timely arrival, only to find dark spots on your stainless steel flatware or a bit of this morning's eggs decorating your intricate flatware patterns?
Your dishwasher may be responsible, but it's likely the way you are loading it!
Convenient but Frustrating
Dishwashers are a great convenience. Intricate flatware patterns come out sparkling clean without effort and stainless steel flatware shines brighter than silver - but only if they are used correctly.
There are rules when loading the dishwasher that could mean the difference between no-hassle gorgeous table settings and a frustrating rush to get your intricate flatware patterns presentable before guests arrive.
Easy Rules for Perfect Results
Load all large items on the sides or in the back of the dishwasher. This allows water to flow freely and reach all dishes during each cycle. Be sure nothing hangs over your flatware tray, preventing water and soap from reaching stainless steel flatware and serving pieces.
Don't overload the dishwasher. Crowding can leave soap embedded in intricate flatware patterns, creating more work for you than washing them by hand in the first place! Stainless steel flatware and intricate flatware patterns need room to dry to avoid those dreaded spots.
Pay Attention to Your Flatware
When loading knives, place them in the basket with the blades down. The rule with spoons and forks is to keep the handles down. To prevent spoons from 'spooning,' mix utensils to ensure that the water flows around the pieces while washing and rinsing. If you have intricate flatware patterns load them loosely to encourage lots of water flow and mix them with simpler pieces.
Some things to never wash in the dishwasher are hollow handled knives, or anything made of brass, bronze, copper, gold colored or pewter flatware in the dishwasher. And though both silver plate and stainless steel can be washed in the dishwasher, never mix them in the same load! The stainless steel flatware creates a chemical reaction that causes staining on the silver plate.
Rinsing and Drying
Consider rinsing extra dirty pieces before putting them in the dishwasher. Protein foods such as eggs and cheese sometimes need an extra rinse because the dishwasher's heat 're-cooks' them right onto dishes, stainless steel flatware, and glasses.
Don't leave stainless steel flatware to dry in a hot humid dishwasher - either use the heat-dry cycle or remove them and dry them off before putting them away. Intricate flatware patterns of any type also look better when hand dried or heat-dried.
Out, Out Darn Spot!
Stains can occur on stainless steel flatware and other pieces as the result of deposits from the dishwasher. This is often the result of the composition of local water, food particles, or detergent that doesn't dissolve. There may be iron in the water if you have older plumbing, which can cause staining on stainless steel flatware. These stains are easily removed from even intricate flatware patterns with a non-abrasive cream type kitchen cleanser and a damp sponge.
With these simple dishwasher tips, your stainless steel flatware and intricate flatware patterns will look great every time. Your dinner guests will secretly wonder how on earth you manage to so effortlessly present such a beautiful table setting, while cooking a great meal, and managing to seem calm and collected in the process. Share your tips or keep them guessing - but never again present a table with spotty gunky flatware!
Christine OKelly is an author for Gourmet Settings, an eclectic flatware patterns design company known for its stylish stainless steel flatware for every taste.