8 common mistakes in the operation of the dishwasher

The handling of dishwashers requires no higher mathematics. After all, they are there to make everyday life easier for us – and also a bit to relieve our thinking. Dirty dishes in the dishwasher, cleaner to push button: done.

If a technical device is so “idiot-proof” to use, but creeps easily errors. Partly out of carelessness and habit, but also partly because so-called expert opinions are disseminated that sound too good to be true. This causes confusion in the household. This article therefore explains some of the most common dishwasher errors.

8 common mistakes in the operation of the dishwasher


In recent times, a message made a splash: One should not pre-rinse crockery, otherwise it would not be properly clean in the machine. In fact, there is a grain of truth in this piece of advice. Today, all devices are capable of coping with even coarse contamination. Fear of the fact that in the machine, the dirty water would just be rolled around, you need to have just as little. A precautionary shedding of all plates and cups is therefore just an unnecessary waste of water.

Nevertheless, you should always remove food leftovers before adding them; It is also advisable to soak in dried residues, especially rice or pasta. Problematic candidates like spinach, who like to stick to the surrounding dishes, you should also pre-rinse. Above all, prewashing is worthwhile if only a single part is heavily contaminated. If this is brewed in advance, you can run the dishwasher in economy mode.

The rule is therefore: no general pre-washing, but a pre treatment in each case.

8 common mistakes in the operation of the dishwasher
Heap of dirty utensil on the kitchen


“Dishwashers not too tidy!” Also this note circulated for a while in the media and again in the recommendation is a crumb of truth. In the dishwasher, the water is distributed in two ways: firstly by the rotating spray arms, secondly by the splashes that are thrown back from the corners and edges of the dishes. That the dishes can be sorted so neatly in the dishwasher that this second effect is missing, however, is questionable.

Rather, the reverse case becomes a problem: dishes, pots and plates, or cutlery that are carelessly placed in the machine prevent unhindered rinsing. Dirty water collects in overturned bowls, mashed potato sticks between the tablespoons.

That is why: Never place dishes too tight, too loose or stacked in dishwashers. The rinse arms must also always be able to rotate freely.

8 common mistakes in the operation of the dishwasher

Half full

Dishwashers consume only 15 liters of water per wash. That puts even the most savvy hand-washing acrobat in the crowd that holds such a device. This consumption advantage, however, the machine Saubermacher can only play when it is fully loaded. However, dishwashers are often only half filled, as an international study by the University of Bonn shows. Whether fully loaded, dishwashers are generally more environmentally friendly, as the study claims, may be left undecided – especially since it was financed by four equipment manufacturers. But everyone should be careful to use his dishwasher as efficiently as possible.

Rule: Full dishwashers save money.

8 common mistakes in the operation of the dishwasher

Regenerating salt despite multi-tabs

The many bright colors make it very effective when it comes to dishwashing tabs – true to the motto: Much helps a lot. The difference between the colorful multi-tabs and the cheaper single tabs or powders, however, lies in the fact that they already contain rinse aid and regenerating salt. Regardless, many a sweat comes when suddenly a warning light flashes on the dishwasher and salt demands. Are the multi-tabs sufficient or does the device break down without regenerating salt?

That depends on the condition of the water. Depending on the region, tap water has a different degree of hardness. Very hard water causes calcification in the machine, which can lead to damage. Therefore, some manufacturers recommend using Regeneriersalz for multi-tabs as well. However, if the water is too soft, the dishes suffer: glasses corrode and get milky streaks. With the addition of Regeneriersalz so you should be careful with multi-tabs. Better to get the hardness of the water in advance at the Stadtwerke. Only from a water hardness of 21 ° dH multi-tabs need support.

The following applies: Check hardness and in case of doubt use simple tabs or powder.

8 common mistakes in the operation of the dishwasher

Eco mode

In the mentioned study of the University of Bonn came out also: The Germans rinse too hot! Even the austerity program (“Eco Mode”) usually achieves satisfactory results. This protects the environment and crockery, as well as the wallet. So why should you ever change that attitude?

But beware: at low temperatures, grease and limescale can form, which makes the dishes no longer properly clean. In addition, dishwashers have a humid climate in which bacteria and germs feel just right. Therefore, you should run the dishwasher at regular intervals at +60 ° C.

The guiding principle is: Prefer to choose a gentle setting, but rinse once a month in the intensive program.

8 common mistakes in the operation of the dishwasher

Detergent in stock

Modern dishwashing detergents rely on the potency of enzymes. Enzymes speed up the cleaning process and the flushing process even at low temperatures. That’s a great thing. However, unlike other cleansers, where most of the perfume volatilizes, enzymes degrade over time. The effectiveness of the detergent decreases significantly. That’s why you should not bunk pallets full of dishwashing detergent as a supply, even if the special offer promises the bargain of the decade.

Remember: Do not store dish washing detergent for more than a year.


At first glance, it seems logical: If pans on the stove can withstand more than 200 ° C, why should not you put them in the dishwasher? However, experience teaches something else: After a few rinses stuck to the pan, the pancakes and the coating peels off. The crux lies namely on the rinse water. This damages the protective layer of pots and pans. Even uncoated pots, roasting pans and pans should not be put into the dishwasher, as they build up their own protective layer through use, which has a positive effect on the cooking behavior. This is negated by the detergent.

Rule: The best way to clean pans is with salt. Either add the salt to the pan and wipe with a kitchen towel or let the salt boil briefly with water in the pan. In this way, you have a lot of fun with pancake baking for a long time.

8 common mistakes in the operation of the dishwasher

Cutlery in the basket: handle up or down?

If you do not have a drawer in your machine, but a basket for the cutlery, the problem is whether to handle it with the handle up or down. The arguments of the “handle-up” fraction are that so no one injured on sharp points and cutting, also could be the cutlery later more convenient to clear. The “handle-down” fraction, on the other hand, worries that the cutlery will not be properly cleaned or food particles will accumulate in the basket. To distribute the cutlery as evenly as possible in the basket, however, offers a compromise: Sharp-edged eating utensils with the handle up, spoon with the handle down to give. Long bread knives and sharp meat forks come into the upper compartment anyway. 

8 common mistakes in the operation of the dishwasher

As recently as 1983, only 23.5 percent of all households in the Federal Republic owned a dishwasher. Today, 67.3 percent of Germans use this comfort. The former luxury item has become the standard over the years. But that does not mean that everyone knows how to handle it without error. Behind the “idiot-proof” usability are many treacherous pitfalls, of which you now know the most important. Share this article so that temporary rinsing and milky glasses will soon be a thing of the past!