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Automatic Dishwashers can be awesome timesaving machines or they can be the bane of our existence. A properly loaded dishwasher can clean and sanitize dishes better than doing them by hand. However, and improperly and or overfull dishwasher will leave unclean dishes with now baked-on crud!

Before we get into properly loading a dishwasher let’s talk about what should and should not go into a dishwasher. First of all in spite of what manufacturers would like you to believe Pots, Pan, and SkilletsFrying Pans with Non-Stick Coatings DO NOT belong in an Automatic Dishwasher no ifs ands or buts! That is because the heat and the chemicals in the Dishwasher Detergent will pit and possibly remove the coating. Even with the so-called Granite and Ceramic Non-Stick Coatings you may have issues due to the fact that some of those items are very thin and can warp in the dishwasher.

Knives

Some of the other things that do not go into an Automatic Dishwasher, are China, Crystal Glassware, and KNIVES! China and Crystal Glassware should always be washed be hand, you don’t want irreplaceable and priceless family heirlooms ruined by the heat, banging, and chemicals in the dishwasher. Here we go again, a lot of unscrupulous Knife Manufacturers would like you to believe that you can put any of their products into an Automatic Dishwasher; well they are lying through their teeth! There are quite a few reasons why your Knives should never go into a Dishwasher, I will list a few main ones. By putting your expensive knives and even your inexpensive ones into and Automatic Dishwasher you risk dulling them, pitting them, damaging the handles. With wooden handles, you risk cracking and splitting the wood, and the swelling and shrinking of the wood can loosen the handles around the rivets. If you put some of your old and precious High Carbon Steel Knives they can be ruined beyond repair. The only knives that should be put into an Automatic Dishwasher are all metal Butter Knives! All others should be washed by hand and stored properly.

Proper Loading

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One of the most important things about loading an Automatic Dishwasher is not to overload it. If you overload one the water spray will be blocked and your dishes won’t come clean. It is very important to read the Users Manual that came with your dishwasher, to learn how your manufacturer wants the dishwasher loaded. Most manufacturers want dishes loaded so the eating portion faces inward and not to the sides, front or back. That way the spray of water and detergent will be able to reach the dirty surfaces, and clean them properly.

It is also very important to use your manufacturers recommend detergent and rinse agent, if you want sparkling clean dishes, and crystal clear glasses.  For more info about how to properly load a dishwasher check out this link ~ Load-a-Dishwasher

Mom wants to remind everyone that Liquid Dish Detergent does not go into an Automatic Dishwasher! The link above says that you can use Creamy Dish Detergent, however, Mom doesn’t recommend that, Mom has found some research that says you can use GEL Dish Detergent, BUT only in the PreWash Cup.

Cleaning and Troubleshooting:

It is very important to follow your manufacturers cleaning instructions. Keep the food strainer in the bottom of the dishwasher clear, as well as the jets in the spray arms. Most manufacturers also recommend running the Dishwasher empty with or without detergent on a regular schedule. If you do have a European Model that has a built-in Water Softener, make you you keep the salt container filled with Dishwasher Salt.

That’s all for this segment, but I’ll leave you with a reason for an Automatic Dishwasher:

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Knives & How To Care For Them

First off your knives, belong in a Knife Block or on a Magnetic Knife Holder. They do not belong tossed willy nilly into a drawer. Not only will that dull and chip your knives but that invites cut fingers. All knives should be hand washed and carefully dried before being put away; and if you happen to have some heirloom High Carbon Steel knives, they should be given a light coat of oil before being put away. I prefer a Wooden Knife Block over the Magnetic Knife Holders as they keep all the sharp edges out of the way, and the knives can’t get knocked off the rack. That said a Magnetic Knife Holder on a wall saves counter space. 

Mom’s Choice of Knives:

Since there is a bewildering choice of knives and manufacturers out there Mom is going to try and simplify things a bit. Mom is not going to go into the benefits of one manufacturer over another, as that is really subjective and there are two many manufactures to deal with in this space. Mom is only going to discuss Metal Knives as this is what I am familiar with. When buying knives be careful of purchasing sets of knives in blocks. A large quantity of those sets are lightweight knives that require more effort to use. Your knives especially Chef’s Knives should have some heft or weight to them, as that will make it easier to work with certain foods.

8inch_Chef's Knife.png8-inch Chef’s Knife

Mom believes that every kitchen must have at least the following knives: Chef’s Knife 6 or 8 inches, a Paring/Utility Knife and a Boning Knife. The 8-inch Chef’s Knife is your best choice if you can only afford one Chef’s Knife. The 8-inch Chef’s Knife can be used for many purposes and is a very versatile knife. The Boning and Paring/Utility Knife will also get a lot of use.

6inch_Boning_Knife.jpg10inch_Slicing.jpg6-inch Boning Knife & 10-inch Slicing Knife

The next three knives are also very important, Mom didn’t believe a Slicer or Slicing Knife was worth the money, however, once Mom bought one she was hooked as it made slicing Turkeys, Ham, or Roast Beef very easy. If you already have an 8-inch Chef’s Knife, then your next knife should be a 6-inch Santoku Chef’s Knife as their extra heft and design make working with root vegetables much easier. The next knife in your cutting arsenal should be a Cleaver, also known as a Butcher’s Knife. Once you have one you will wonder why you went so long without one. Mom has an 8-inch Chef’s Knife as well as an 8-inch and 6-inch Santoku Chef’s Knife.

8inch_Santoku.jpg8-inch Santoku Knife

Before we go any further I must mention how important it is to keep your knives sharp at all times. A sharp knife cuts easy and cleaner with less pressure. A dull knife takes a lot more pressure to cut and tears more than it cuts. A dull knife also cause far more injuries than sharp ones! Mom uses an Accusharp handheld knife sharpener that has been awesome for many years. Metal and Ceramic Steels work well, however, they require a lot of trial and error to sharpen correctly.

The next knife that you should consider purchasing is a Serrated Knife also known as a Bread Knife, they are very versatile knives. There are different sizes of Paring/Utility Knives and they are useful for many different things. If you want to make fancy fruit and vegetable decorations don’t waste your money on those TV ones just buy a Bird’s Beak Knife. They are great for lots of things especially Radish Roses.

Birds_Beak_Knife.jpgBird’s Beak Knife

If you buy good quality knives and take care of them, they will last for years. When choosing your knives, make are that the tang goes all the way through the handle. Handles with three rivets are preferred.

Until next month stay sharp like your knives.

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