leaving dishes in dishwasher overnight

Cleaning 101: Dishwasher Hacks For Spotless Dishes

Why is my dishwasher leaving dishes dirty? From proper maintenance to our dishwasher utensil basket hack, discover easy tips for using your appliance!
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Written by Tenley Haraldson.


Is your dishwasher leaving dishes dirty? From rust stains to food gunk, the trick to squeaky-clean surfaces comes down to using the right products, keeping a clean dishwasher, and loading it correctly.

Keep reading for our expert dishwasher hacks.

Make Things Easier on Yourself

dishwasher hacks

When you’re done with your meal, don't use your sink as dirty dish storage: Scrape or wipe the dish and put it directly in the dishwasher. This helps avoid wasting water and time – and you’ll also keep your sink cleaner.

Should I Pre-Soak Dishes?

Maybe you scorched a lasagna or forgot to scrub pans the night before. We're human! Pre-soaking is your first, best step for tackling tough food buildup:

  • Add a few drops of Puracy Natural Dish Soap to a sink full of warm water.
  • Soak dishes for at least an hour.
  • Scrape off debris with a dish brush.
  • Stack them in the dishwasher (see below).

Can You Leave Dishes in the Dishwasher Overnight?

can you leave dishes in the dishwasher overnight

We encourage our customers to leave dishes in the dishwasher overnight – and only run a load when it's full. Here's why: The little bits of food residue left on your plate actually help our Dishwasher Detergent Packs function better. These plant-based enzymes need something to eat and unbelievably well on food messes.

Meet America's Next "Pod" Model

dishwasher tips

For the best and brightest clean possible, use dishwasher pods:

  • Make sure your hands are dry before popping a Puracy Dishwasher Pod in place.
  • Scrape food and debris from dishes before loading them using the tips above.
  • Reseal the pack to keep them fresh between loads.

How to Put Dishes in a Dishwasher

how to put dishes in dishwasher

Ever had a heated debate with your partner, roommate, or child over loading the dishwasher? Turns out, there absolutely is a “right” way to do it. Following these easy dishwasher hacks will get everything sparkling clean while improving efficiency.

1. No Touching!

how to get dishes clean in dishwasher

Items in your dishwasher machine need ample space so water can reach them on all sides. If you stack things too closely together, you’re probably going to find dirty areas. Most dishwasher models come with specific loading instructions, so make sure you’re stacking dishes in the best way possible.

2. Dishwasher Utensil Basket Hack

Dishwasher Utensil Basket Hack

Utensils should be stored with space between them, too. When you're loading the dishwasher cutlery basket, direct the sharp ends of knives down for safety – but place the pointy ends of forks and round ends of spoons upwards.

For easy-breezy unloading, keep similar items facing the same direction. Long serving spoons and spatulas should be laid flat on the upper shelves.

Pro Tip: Don't put all forks and spoons in the same utensil hole: They’ll end up "spooning" each other and won’t get thoroughly cleaned.

3. Put Things in the Right Place

Can you put glasses on the bottom shelf of dishwashers? We don't recommend it, since the spraying power can be a bit too powerful – and plastic items can melt and warp. So what can go on the bottom rack of a dishwasher? Larger and heavier items like plates, pans, and pots.

Pro Tip: Face everything "inwards and downwards" (toward the sprayers).

4. Keep Water Moving

Make sure you've got proper water circulation:

  • Don’t cover the bottom spray arm.
  • Ensure that lids and handles won't stop the spinning arms.

5. Contain Small Parts

Smaller items can damage – and be damaged by – a dishwasher's moving parts. Store the following in a dishwasher basket on the top shelf:

6. Avoid Half-Loads

can you put glasses on bottom shelf of dishwasher

Running a half-empty dishwasher wastes water and product, so wait until you have enough dishes for a full one. Natural Puracy Dishwasher Packs are specifically formulated to clean an entire dishwasher of dirty dishes.

    What Dishes Need to Be Hand Washed?

    what dishes need to be washed by hand

    We know that it's tempting to let your dishwasher do the heavy lifting, but some items need a gentler touch. When in doubt, wash the following materials by hand:

    • Aluminum: High water temps can stain this metal (and leave marks on other dishes).
    • Cast iron and Teflon: Keep that coating safe and clean your cast iron and Teflon pans by hand.
    • Insulated drinkware: Unless it's marked "dishwasher-safe", hand wash reusable mugs and thermoses.
    • Certain plastics: Warping and melting can damage other items – including your dishwasher. Always put "dishwasher safe" plastic on the top rack.
    • Crystal: Avoid chipping and clouding by washing crystal in warm water with a few drops of gentle dish soap.
    • Sharp knives: Butter knives are fine in the dishwasher, but high-quality knives will lose their edge and their handles may crack.
    • Wooden items: Cutting boards, mixing spoons, and other wooden items can start to crack, warp, and splinter due to heat and humidity.

    their handles. Handwashing also helps to prevent accidents when loading and unloading sharp objects.

    10. Wood

    wood dishwasher safe

    Cutting boards, mixing spoons, and other wooden items can start to crack, warp, and splinter when exposed to hot water and humidity.

    How to Clean a Dishwasher

    If you follow all of these tips and your dishwasher still leaves dishes dirty, you probably need to clean your dishwasher. We recommend a deep clean every 1-2 months:

    1. Remove the filter. Using an old toothbrush dipped in a solution of warm water and a few drops of Puracy Dish Soap, clean all of the areas where food tends to build up.
    2. Fill a cup with white vinegar and place it on the top rack. Run the empty dishwasher for one cycle.
    3. Sprinkle baking soda throughout the bottom of your dishwasher. Run another empty cycle with hot water and allow the machine to complete the drying cycle.
    4. For added shine, wipe down the outside of your dishwasher by using Puracy Natural Surface Spray and a gentle microfiber cleaning cloth.

    Our Spotless Detergent Means Spotless Dishes

    spotless detergent

    It took years of R&D to create the best natural dishwasher pods anywhere. Our 99.5% natural formula uses plant-based enzymes to break down tough food stains on all dishwasher-safe surfaces – with zero residue.