The Great Dishwasher Debate

The way we do it….is it so wrong?

While we were gone on our east coast trip, two of our three sisters juggled taking care of our boys in our absence. Having family nearby is such a blessing. Having family nearby who are willing to take care of your children is an exceptional gift. Because Joe and Luke are the only nephews and the only grandchildren on both sides of our family means that we have plenty of folks who line up to hang out with them. My sister (aka Aunt Kathy) ran the boys to appointments and birthday parties and even took them to the Lego store where she bought them a way too expensive Lego Ninjago set. Steve’s sister (aka Aunt Karen) hung with the boys two days, taking them to a local corn maze and chauffeuring them to and from school. By the time we arrived home late last night, the boys’ homework was completed and they were ready to go for school today, which was a huge relief because I did not have the energy to figure everything out at 6:30 this morning. Things simply could not have gone better.

After I’d gotten the boys to school this morning, run the requisite grocery shopping trip, and returned home, I went to unload the dishwasher. That was when I was reminded how different it can be when others stay in your home. When we travel during the school year, we let our family move into our home to take care of the boys. This seems to work out best in keeping them on track with their school work and sleep at night. As you might suspect, however, when you let others move into your home they do things their way, which is fine. It absolutely is. They should do things their own way. (And I’m not just saying this because I don’t pay them to care for our children so I am happy to deal with whatever aftermath might be in place when I return home.)

At any rate, I went to unload the dishwasher and discovered that all the flatware in the dishwasher caddy had been loaded “mouth-side” up. Years ago, Steve and I decided that we would load the dishwasher with the dirty (aka mouth) side of the utensils facing down. This makes perfect sense to me. I prefer to hold the utensils by their handles when placing them in the dishwasher because it keeps my hands clean. Beyond that, when I go to unload the dishwasher, I am able to remove the flatware from the caddy without putting my fingers all over the part of the utensils that will go into someone else’s mouth. Our families do not follow this same train of thought. So, this morning as I was putting my grubby little mitts all over the mouth parts of our previously clean flatware as I unloaded the dishwasher I got to wondering what if there is some method to their madness.

So, I am opening this up for debate. What do you think is the best way to load the dishwasher? Have I been doing it wrong all these years (as our families believe I have) or am I doing it right? I’m curious. If there’s some reason why I need to rethink my strategy, please enlighten me. I’m always open to change if someone can offer a logical reason to do so. Please take my simple one question survey or leave me a note so I can figure out what I’m missing.

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  1. You’re so lucky to have the vacation and space. I’m so jealous! Good for you. I think you’re line of thinking makes total sense as far as the dishwasher is concerned. My husband likes to load the dishwasher totally different from me though. I’ve come to accept that he’s actually more organized than me.

    1. It’s always good in a marriage to be willing to accept when your partner is more gifted in an area than you are. I openly acknowledge that my husband is a more gracious, generous, kind-hearted human being than I am. He is definitely my better half. But, I am cleaner. πŸ˜‰

  2. Oh no, you’re right πŸ˜€ Dirty side down. First IMO it gets more water cleaning from the bottom. Second, when you empty it you don’t have the possibility of stabbing yourself w/ a knife. Third, (and I never thought of this) it does keep your hands off of the part that will end up in someone’s mouth next.

    Funny, when in Maine I have to reverse all of my ways, too πŸ™‚

    Next up: The Great TP debate. Under or over?! πŸ˜‰

  3. I love this topic, because it is an ongoing and yet unresolved issue in my house. I grew up in a household that placed flatware “mouth-side” down — because my oldest brother is blind, and it was far safer for him rather than getting stabbed…so I still load that way by habit. But my husband believes flatware should go in mouth-side up — because he feels the utensils get cleaner — less chance of stuck-on food and other particles gathering in the bottom of the holder. Our solution? Every which-way, some up, some down.
    Keep up the good work, love your blog!

    1. That seems like a very logical solution. I am not that logical and being that I like to have my way I would demand compliance from my husband if he didn’t already comply. My in-laws? Well, I’m not prepared to die on that hill. Thanks for your response. πŸ™‚

  4. I have always been “taught” if that is the right word to use, that “mouth side up” is the way to go, because they utensils get cleaner this way. There is more chance for lingering food particles and such to get stuck when doing it the other way.
    However, having said that…I don’t always load them that way. It probably ends up with about a 50/50 ratio. LOL!
    AND….honestly, your way is so much smarter and makes more sense. I have always thought of it that way….but I have some crazy family members that like try to burn it into my brain that mouth side down is the wrong way.

  5. Handles up at our place too (in-laws and parents opposite to my dismay). I have a caveat though, nesting of like utensils must be avoided, for example, 2 spoons should not go in the same basket, and if they are must be separated by, say, a fork.

    And, I must know, the word “mouth-side”, is it commonly known or simply one that suited the occasion?

    Here’s the kicker for me, we just installed a new dishwasher yesterday allowing for five blissful hours of couple time that merits it’s own blog post. The silverware basket on this model has a cover with slots to keep them separated. At first I thought this a most grand idea, until it dawned on me last night that “mouth-side” up might be the only way to load now without creating a difficult process of removing the cover and mining the handles in place.

    Signed, Slightly dishwasher distraught

    1. I have no idea if the phrase “mouth side” is correct. It was the only description my muddled brain could come up with. We too have a dishwasher basket with the cover. We just flip it up and avoid it. I agree with you on the nesting. You must be careful. But, still, I’ve never liked grabbing forks and spoons by their mouth side. It just seems to defeat the point of cleaning the surfaces. *sigh*

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