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Proper Dishwasher Loading

Did you know that when you wash your dishes by hand you can use up to 27 gallons of water but an ENERGY STAR-rated dishwasher will only use about 3 gallons?1

But not only will you save close to 5000 gallons of water per year, you can also save 230 hours of your time by using the dishwasher effectively.2

To rinse or not to rinse

If you are loading your dishwasher the way you did as a child, you are likely doing it wrong. In the past we gave our dishes a full rinse before putting them in the dishwasher. With the technology in newer dishwashers, we simply need to scrape food waste into the compost bin/trash/garbage disposal. The built-in sensors in the dishwasher will determine the length and temperature of the cleaning cycle depending on the amount food particles it detects in the pre-wash cycle. In fact, if the sensors do not detect any food particles, it will run a short cycle and possibly leave some of your dishes dirty!3

Additionally, modern dishwasher detergents contain enzymatic cleaning agents that “digest” food particles. Without particles to attach to, the detergents do not clean as effectively.4 If you have ever wondered how dishwasher detergents do their job, check out this article on CNET.5

If you are not going to run the dishwasher within 24 hours, and the food residue might be more difficult to clean the longer it stays on the dishes you may wish to pre-rinse the dishes.6

Photo Credit: Ikea

How to load a dishwasher

Each make and model of dishwasher has a slightly different interior configuration. Some have two racks, some have three. Cutlery baskets could be on the side or center of the bottom rack whereas, some models have them on the door. There are models with optional folding tines and additional stemware holders.

The best place to find guidance on the best way to load your dishwasher is in the owner’s manual. Manufacturers provide diagrams on how dishes of all sorts can be loaded for the most efficient use of space and effective cleaning. If you no longer have your owner’s manual, check online or contact the manufacturer directly. Make a copy of the diagrams and attach them to the front of your dishwasher so that anyone loading your dishwasher will be able to see how best to do the job.

Here are some general dishwasher loading guidelines:7

  • Place small, light-weight plastics on the top shelf away from the heating element and secure them so they do not fly around inside the dishwasher.
  • Allow space between items so that water flows freely and can effectively clean them. Cramming dishes together can also lead to breakage — especially when the dishes get hot.
  • On the top rack place cups, glasses, small bowls, dishwasher-safe plastics, and long handled items.
  • On the bottom rack place plates and larger items. Oversized dishes such as cutting boards and casseroles should be put at the sides and back to allow water to move freely throughout dishwasher. The food covered side should face the center of the dishwasher sloping down towards spray arms so get full exposure to the water.
  • Most manufacturers suggest that forks and spoons should be placed in the cutlery basket with the handles pointing down so the top part can be easily cleaned while knives should be placed with the handles up so you don’t cut yourself. However, some people prefer that all cutlery should be place handles up so that when you are unloading the dishwasher, you do not touch the part of the fork/spoon/knife that people put in their mouths. The important thing is that the cutlery be placed so that the items do not stick together and that there is ample room for water to clean around each piece.

What NOT to put in the dishwasher

It is important to ensure that all your items are dishwasher-safe. Some plastic containers and non-stick pots & pans may indicate that they are dishwasher-safe but they will last longer if they are washed by hand. Chef knives should also be washed by hand as the hot water and harsh detergent can quickly dull the blade.

Items never to put in dishwasher include: brass, bronze, items with gold leaf, silver or silver plate cutlery, crystal, pewter, cast iron pans, and wood or items with wooden handles. Err on the side of caution with older dishware and heirloom items and wash those by hand.8

More dishwasher tips

Using a rinse agent helps your dishes dry faster and without water spots. (It really should be called a drying agent). It is especially helpful if you have water high in mineral content or use the “eco” cycle on your dishwasher which shortens drying time.9

Clean your dishwasher filters and traps regularly. If you are using your dishwasher daily (some big families use it more than once per day) then clean the filters and traps weekly. Check the manufacturer’s directions on how to do it.

Clean the inside of your dishwasher. Remove the debris around the door and the seals with a cloth or soft brush and some soapy water, rinsing well. Also, clean between the between door and bottom of the dishwasher where grunge can often collect. Once clean, pour one cup (8oz) of white vinegar in the bottom and run the empty dishwasher on the hottest cycle.10

Videos:

REFERENCES:

  1. Postman, Andrew. “9 Tricks That Save Tons of Water.” NRDC, National Resources Defense Council, 5 Jan. 2016, www.nrdc.org/stories/9-tricks-save-tons-water.
  2. “Dishwasher vs. Hand Washing Dishes.” Products | ENERGY STAR, Energy Star, 26 Nov. 2018, www.energystar.gov/products/appliances/dishwashers/dishwasher_hand_washing.
  3. Locker, Melissa. “WATCH: Here’s Why You Can Stop Rinsing Your Dishes Before Loading the Dishwasher.” Southern Living, Meredith Home Group, 26 Nov. 2018, www.southernliving.com/kitchen-assistant/dont-rinse-dishes-before-putting-in-dishwasher.
  4. Byron, Ellen. “You’re Loading the Dishwasher Wrong: A Chore and a Power Struggle.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 30 June 2015, www.wsj.com/articles/youre-loading-the-dishwasher-wrong-a-chore-and-a-power-struggle-1435682078.
  5. Baguley, Richard. “Appliance Science: How Dishwasher Detergents Digest Food Stains.” CNET, CNET, 16 Mar. 2016, www.cnet.com/news/appliance-science-how-dishwasher-detergents-digest-food-stains/.
  6. Piro, Lauren. “Every Reason You Should Stop Pre-Rinsing Dishes.” Good Housekeeping, Good Housekeeping, 21 Mar. 2018, www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/a33322/stop-prerinsing-dishes/.
  7. “How to Load a Dishwasher.” Product Reviews and Ratings, Consumer Reports, 5 June 2017, www.consumerreports.org/dishwashers/how-to-load-a-dishwasher/.
  8. Thomson, Julie R. “11 Things You Should Never Put In The Dishwasher.” HuffPost Canada, HuffPost Canada, 3 Aug. 2015, www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/dishwasher-tips_us_1581654.
  9. Perratore, Ed. “If You Want Drier Dishes, Use Dishwasher Rinse Aid.” Product Reviews and Ratings, Consumer Reports, 20 Jan. 2016, www.consumerreports.org/dishwashers/if-you-want-drier-dishes-use-dishwasher-rinse-aid/.
  10. “How to Clean a Dishwasher | Dishwasher Cleaning Tips.” The Home Depot, The Home Depot, 6 Jan. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfGE1k7bqTQ.

Tips For Storing Christmas Decorations

Photo Credit: Unsplash

One of the best things about the holidays is decorating the house from the inside out. Every year, as soon as Thanksgiving comes to an end Christmas jolliness settles in. Whether your home décor includes a single mistletoe and garland, or a front yard filled with fake snow, these seasonal items can be a hassle to store when December 25th has passed.

Don’t let your fear of disorganization and clutter hold you back from going all out this Christmas. (And if it does, give us a call!) Here are some helpful tips on ways to store your holiday decorations when they aren’t in use. Follow these tips and keep your seasonal things out of sight, clean, and nicely organized until you need them again next year!

1. Use Plastic Bins

The bulk of your Christmas decorations can be kept in storage containers while they aren’t in use. We recommend using plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes as they are less likely to incur damage from water or pests. Plastic bins are also more durable and can be stacked, meaning they will take up less square footage in your home.

2. Clean Before You Pack

Before you put all of your decorations away for the season, give everything a fresh cleaning. Not only will this cut down your decorating time next year, it could help your decorations last longer. Indoor decor is likely to get dirty beyond accumulating a little dust, but outdoor decorations are at risk of collecting insect nests, which could be a major issue down the road. Avoid an infestation by giving everything a thorough wipe down before packing it away.

3. Wrap Everything Properly

Before putting all of your decorations away in bins, be sure to stuff tissue paper and bubble wrap between the items to keep everything safely stowed, and don’t forget to individually wrap fragile items to prevent them from breaking. This is especially important for tree ornaments made of glass. Do the same with any items that are made with plastic or paper so they aren’t damaged by condensation or bugs. If they aren’t fragile, Saran Wrap will do. Saran Wrap is also helpful for keeping your wreath snug until next season.

4. Label Everything

Not only is it important to label each bin with the contents inside i.e. “Christmas Decorations”, create an itemized list to affix to each bin before putting them away at the end of the season. This will make it easier for you next year in case you decide to pull out any decorations early or can’t remember which items you have.

5. Organize by Room

Another great way to keep track of which items are in which bin is to organize by room. This will help you next year when it comes time to decorate again as you won’t have to sort through everything and try to remember where each individual item goes.

6. Pack Wisely

Avoid taking up unnecessary space by packing smaller items inside of larger items. If you have large platters or jars for Christmas cookies, put smaller decor inside them before putting it all away in storage bins. Using this simple packing method will cut down the space you need and leave room for any new items you find on sale at the end of the season.

7. Dispose of Old Decorations or Your Tree

At the end of each holiday season, asses which decorations you didn’t use this year or are unlikely to use again next year. Avoid accumulating too much clutter by donating/throwing away any items you no longer need. If you buy a real tree each year, have a green disposal service eliminate the burden of heavy lifting by picking it up for you. This also ensures that the tree is disposed of properly.

Need help with other areas of organization? Find more tips here!
Or call 925-548-7750 and schedule one of our Professional Organizers to come help you put your decor away! We love organizing Christmas Decorations and helping you get your garage ready to store them.

How to deep clean your washing machine

Hey Collectors! Happy Fall! If you are in California, we hope you are getting a break from the poor air quality and smoke. We talk about doing laundry a lot here at Collector Care. This blog post is all about deep cleaning your washing machine. What? People actually do this you ask? Absolutely! Cleaning can prolong the life of your washer and keep your clothes from getting stained and smelly.

Before you get started make sure you pull on a pair of household rubber gloves to protect your hands from all of the germs inside your washer. You are also going to make sure that you have access to your washing machine. If your washing machine and/or dryer is blocked by clutter, your first step is to move everything out of the way. Put it in a bag or a box, label it, and get it out of the way.

How to clean your washing machine:

Front loader & Top loaders without agitators

Wipe the inside of the drum using a soft cloth to remove any dirt, hair, soil, odor, mold, mildew. You may need to repeat this process a few times until all the debris is removed.

Remove the detergent dispenser. Clean it under running water using a cloth to remove the detergent and fabric softener build-up. A small soft brush such as an old toothbrush can be helpful for getting in the crevices.

Clean the seal around the opening. Gently pull back the rubber flap and wipe a damp cloth around the inside of the seal. Do this several times the area is dirty, rinsing the cloth in clear water after each wipe. Do not use harsh abrasives (scrub brushes) or chemicals (bleach, all-purpose cleaners) as they can degrade the rubber. A small, soft bristled brush such as an old toothbrush can be helpful for getting in the crevices.

Clean around the door. Again, use only a soft cloth, soft brush, and soapy water so you do not scratch the glass or damage the seal.

Clean the filter and trap. Follow manufacturer’s instructions. Most companies have their user manuals online or will send you an electronic copy by email if you contact them. Make sure you have the model number handy before phoning or emailing.

If your washer has a self-clean cycle, run it according to the manufacturer’s guide. Many websites suggest adding bleach to this cycle but the water gets too hot and the bleach may damage the machine. If your washer does not have a self-clean cycle, run the machine empty with the hottest water possible on the longest cycle.

Once the self-clean cycle is complete, clean the seals, filter, and trap again to remove all of the slime and dirt the self-clean cycle released.

After every wash cycle, dry the inside fold of the door seal and leave the washer door open to prevent mold and mildew build up. If you have a real mildew problem, spray the inside of the seal with 3% hydrogen peroxide weekly. Run a self-clean cycle every month. Clean the filter and trap at least once or twice a year. You may need to do it more frequently if you have pets.

Top loader with agitator

Wipe the inside of the drum using a soft cloth to remove any dirt, hair, or mildew. You may need to repeat this process a few times until all the debris is removed.

Remove the fabric softener dispenser from the agitator if you have one. Clean it under running water using a cloth to remove the detergent and fabric softener build-up. A small soft brush such as an old toothbrush can be helpful for getting in the crevices.

Clean around the opening. Clean the lid and around the hinges as well as the underside and edges of the lid.

Reach around the top of the drum and wipe with a damp cloth. Clean underneath the rim of the drum as well. Do this several times the area is dirty, rinsing the cloth in clear water after each wipe. Do not use harsh abrasives (scrub brushes) or chemicals (bleach, all-purpose cleaners). A small, soft bristled brush such as an old toothbrush can be helpful for getting in the crevices.

Clean the agitator using a soft cloth and brush. In some models, the agitator can be removed for easier cleaning. Re-install the agitator once cleaned.

Set the washer to wash with the hottest water on the largest capacity setting. Add 2 cups (32 oz) of white vinegar to the water. Let the machine agitate for about 5 minutes. Open the lid open so it will not continue the washing cycle. Let the washer soak for about an hour then close the lid and let it finish the cycle.

Clean the filter and trap. Follow manufacturer’s instructions. Most companies have their user manuals online or will send you an electronic copy by email if you contact them. Make sure you have the model number handy before phoning or emailing.

Repeat the soak process again but this time use 2 cups (32 oz) of bleach instead of vinegar. Remember NEVER mix bleach and vinegar!

Tips to keep the washer clean

Brush or rinse excess dirt off of clothes before washing.

Use only as much detergent as required.

After every wash cycle, leave the lid open to prevent mold and mildew build up.

Follow the cleaning procedure every month to keep your washer smelling fresh.

Clean the filter and trap whenever you run a clean cycle. You may need to do it more frequently if you have pets.

Do you need help doing your laundry or cleaning your washing machine? Collector Care Professional Organizers and Cleaners LOVE helping you create the inviting home you have always wanted. We help wash, fold, and organize laundry on a regular basis! Have us over and you’ll see why we have 5 STARS on YELP! It’s because we truly love to help!

Schedule your estimate today! 925-548-7750