Dishwasher Tips and Tricks

November 2, 2009

Dishwasher with dishes in it.Hello dishwasher FIENDS! To save energy costs, I fire off that sucker just an hour before bed time, then when it's done washing, I crack it open and let it air dry. If you are picky, picky, this will not eliminate all of the water spots, but your dishes will be clean!


I am not a fan of "spotless" but I am satisfied with saving money without that heat cycle.I changed all of my light bulbs and watched where the heat goes, my energy bill is always below $35.00. Good luck.

By cecile marie buteau from Oroville, CA

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 297 Posts
March 29, 2011

Use the dishwasher to wash baseball caps. Place caps on the top rack and wash them without losing their shape. Don't use your dishwasher's heat drying option. Allow caps to air dry.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 306 Posts
February 8, 2011

If you have trouble with your silverware falling on through your utensil basket in the dishwasher, save those old scrubber pads and line the bottoms of the compartments with them.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 169 Posts
October 16, 2007

My DH suggested this one and it makes a lot of sense to me. Instead of trying to remember whether or not the dishwasher is "clean", when he's here alone and has a load too small to run right away, he will put the bottle of dishwasher liquid in the rack with the dishes.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 297 Posts
November 14, 2010

You can repurpose the baskets from a broken dishwasher. Use the basket with wheels to easily move file baskets or craft and sewing supplies.


Another use for a metal basket is to carry and store barbecue utensils in or store small gardening tools and gloves in.


April 7, 2010

When washing dishes in a dishwasher I got tired of the lighter weight items (Glad ware, etc.) flipping over and filling with water only to have to be washed 1 more time. So I started using anti-spatter frying shield over the top of the top rack items.


January 30, 2008

Here is how I use my 10-year-old-three-cycle dishwasher, so it doesn't "cook" the food in the plates. First, I must say that I never rinse any of my dishes; I put all of them right away in the dishwasher.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 169 Posts
October 30, 2013

I've had to replace a few dishwashers in my day and have determined that those silverware baskets are great for many things. Here are two uses for them.

Basket to store silveware on counter.


March 8, 2006

I run items such as small plastic storage baskets or bins, refrigerator door bins, cutlery trays and ceramic crocks used to hold cooking utensils through the dishwasher.


June 3, 2011

Consider using gel dishwasher detergent or gel-pacs in your dishwasher. They aren't as abrasive as the powder detergents are.


They will get the job done without leaving scratches on your dishes.



Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 65 Requests
December 6, 2007

My sister has a problem with dirty dishes left in her dishwasher. She has been having renovations done to her condo, and before she could run the dishwasher, her building crew turned off the water. Now the dishes have been in there a while and she's afraid that there will be a lasting odor in the dishwasher. I told her to run the cycle with a box of baking soda in it, but maybe some one out there has a tried and true solution.



Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 169 Posts
December 6, 20070 found this helpful

Any of your natural cleaners, i.e. vinegar, soda, bleach, should work. There might be a problem getting it to run after having been turned off for a long time.


Some times they don't want to work after being off for a long time.

By (Guest Post)
December 6, 20070 found this helpful

If the load was never started she could just hand wash the dishes.

By (Guest Post)
December 10, 20070 found this helpful

Place a mug full of vinegar in the empty dishwasher and run. This will remove most odors. This can be done once a month to keep the dishwasher running well and the dishes coming out clean. The vinegar breaks down fats and oils that accumulate in the dishwashers drains over time.

Also if the odor is very strong and pervasive take a tray and fill it with charcoal briquets (the ones you use for the summer BBQ) leave the tray in the dishwasher when not in use. Change the tray every 1-2 days until the odor is gone. This also works well for the Fridge or just about anywhere else you can think of.

March 15, 20110 found this helpful

The absolute best dishwasher cleaner/deodorizer is Tang powder, the citric acid in it degreases/cleans/deodorizes like nothing else! Even store brand orange drink mix works great! Just put one cup of the powder in the bottom of the dishwasher and run it on a long cycle.


In the meantime (until the water is turned back on), get the old dirty dishes out ASAP, and try the other suggestions for odor control. I would put some charcoal briquetets in an old panty hose leg and hang it from the top rack.

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October 13, 2014

How do I stop my plastic square bowls from flipping over?

By Cathy


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 146 Feedbacks
October 14, 20140 found this helpful

I always invert the plastic bowls on top of the glasses and mugs, saving space and they don't flip over. Hope this helps.

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July 17, 2011

How can I keep my dishwasher running smoothly?

By Rosie


July 20, 20110 found this helpful

There are so many things you can do. First being swaps with friends, family, or via internet. Second, consignments, Goodwill etc. I almost never buy new anymore, there is no reason to spend top dollar.


Check with churches, local outreaches, etc for any goodwill opportunities, I know in my city, there are churches etc, that will supply many things, including school supplies.

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July 7, 2013

Can washing dishes in the dishwasher with stainless steel ware cause graying on everything? Also graying inside the dishwasher?

By Roberta D.

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August 29, 2017

Knowing whether or not the dishes in the dishwasher are clean can be a problem in some households. Make a clean or dirty dishwasher indicator to help alleviate this potential issue.

Clean Dirty Indicator

August 20, 2013

This page is about are the dishes in the dishwasher clean or dirty? It is not always easy to tell whether the dishwasher has been run yet or not, and you may need a way to let other household members know.


November 14, 2012

This page is about washing silverware in the dishwasher. Make sure your silverware is clean and easy to put away.



ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

November 2, 2009

Save energy costs by turning off your dishwasher after the rinse cycle and before the dry cycle. Leave the dishwasher door slightly ajar, and let your dishes air dry.

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