Written by Tenley Haraldson.

Keep seeing spots or food gunk on your dishes? It turns out that the trick to squeaky-clean plates and pans comes down to using the right products, keeping a clean dishwasher, and loading it correctly. 

We've compiled expert dishwasher cleaning and loading hacks to get you started! 

Should I Pre-Soak Dishes?

Maybe you scorched a lasagna. Maybe you forgot to scrub pans the night before. Whatever the case, pre-soaking is your first, best step for tough food buildup. 

  • Add a few drops of Puracy Natural Dish Soap to a sink full of warm water. 
  • Plop your dishes in and let them sit for at least an hour
  • Scrape off debris with a dish brush
  • Stack them in the dishwasher. 

Make Dish Duty Easier

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 Dirty Dishes Go in the Dishwasher?

puracy dishwasher

Don’t worry about little bits of food residue left on your plate: It actually helps our Dishwasher Detergent Packs formula work better. Like humans, these plant-based enzymes need something to eat, and they love food messes. You can leave dishes in the dishwasher overnight and run a load whenever it's full. 

How to Load a Dishwasher Efficiently 

puracy dishwasher pods

If you have ever had a heated debate with your partner, roommate, or child over how to load the dishwasher correctly, you’ll be pleased to hear that there is a “right” way to do it. Following these few easy tips will get all of your dishes sparkling clean while being far more efficient. 

1. No Touching!

how to get dishes cleaner in dishwasher

Every item in your dishwasher needs ample space so the water can reach it on all sides. If you stack items too closely together, you’re probably going to find dirty areas. Most dishwasher models come with specific loading instructions, so check yours to ensure you’re stacking dishes in the best way possible.  

2. Utensils Need Space

dishwasher loading hacks

Smaller utensils should be stored with space between them, too. When it comes to 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.

Get the best tips from the cleaning obsessed.

Puracy crafts cleaning & care items that work really well. Our obsession with natural cleaning performance is our profession, and we're here to share it with you.

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 the dishwasher? We wouldn't recommend it: The bottom shelf generally gets the most spraying power, so place larger and heavier items there. Keep glasses, cups, and more fragile items on the top. Plastic items also belong on the top shelf so they don't melt or warp.

Pro Tip: Remember to face everything "inwards and downwards" (toward the sprayers) for maximum cleaning.

4. Keep Water Moving

For cleaner dishes, 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

how to load dishwasher efficiently

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.

How to Use Puracy Dishwasher Pods 

spotless detergent

For the best and brightest clean possible, here are some simple instructions for how to 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.

What Dishes Need to Be Hand Washed?

can pewter go in the dishwasher

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: 

1. Aluminum

rust stains on dishes from dishwasher

Aluminum can be stained by high temperature water and may leave marks on other dishes.

2. Cast Iron

cast iron dishwasher safe

That smooth coating that’s taken years to create? Your dishwasher will strip it away and leave it prone to rust. Plus, it’s super easy to clean your cast iron pan by hand.

3. Certain Plastics 

can you put glasses on bottom shelf of dishwasher

Certain types of plastic can not only warp, but melt in higher temps, causing damage to other items – and your dishwasher. Only run loads with items specifically marked “dishwasher safe.” Always keep plastic on the top rack, which is furthest from the heating element. 

4. Crystal

is crystal dishwasher safe

Dishwashing certain types of crystal (including lead crystal) can cause chipping and clouding. Soak crystal in warm water with a few drops of dish soap, then gently rinse with fresh water. 

5. Gold, Brass, Bronze, and Pewter

can you put bronze in the dishwasher

While silver typically withstands machine washing, items made from other precious metals tend to discolor in the dishwasher. We know it'd be easier to put bronze cutlery in the dishwasher, but you'll want to hand wash and towel dry them for sparkle and shine. 

6. Insulated Drinkware

dishwasher care tips

Reusable travel mugs and thermoses are great for the planet, but dishwashing can cause them to lose their seal. Unless it’s specified as “dishwasher-safe” (like YETI products), hand wash them to prevent damage.

7. Pressure Cooker Parts

instant pot in dishwasher

Avoid putting pressure cooker parts (like Instant Pot) in the dishwasher. Small bits of food and debris can become lodged in the openings of the regulators and safety valves, affecting their performance. 

8.  Teflon Pots & Pans

is teflon dishwasher safe

Newer non-stick pans use ceramic coating which is usually safe for the dishwasher. Older Teflon pans, however, should be washed by hand to avoid dissolving the surface coating. Without that slick coating, most of your dinner is going to stick to the pan (and the metal below Teflon coating might not be food safe). 

9. Sharp Knives 

how to put dishes in the dishwasher

Butter knives are fine to machine wash, but dishwashers can dull high-quality knives while discoloring (and even cracking) 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 and cloudy, you probably need to clean your dishwasher. In fact, we recommend deep cleaning your dishwasher 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 collects. 
  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 Multi-Surface Spray and a gentle microfiber cleaning cloth

Get Spotless Dishes With the Best Natural Dishwasher Pods

dishwasher leaving dishes dirty

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.