Dishwasher Utensil Orientation

You know how some people put their utensils in their dishwasher with the dirty end up and the handle end down? And some people put them with the dirty end down and the handle up? After many nights performing experiments and comparing the results to a control group and plotting the results in a box and whiskers graph and solving differential equations we’ve finally devised The Perfect System

The Perfect System

We put things with sharp ends with the dirty end down (forks and knives), and things with smooth ends with the dirty end up (spoons). Advantages:

  1. Space efficient – If all utensils are oriented the same way then they get all bunched together and you can’t fit as many into the little utensil holster and they don’t get as clean because it’s harder for water to spray into such a densely packed area.
  2. Easier to empty – It’s super easy to pick out the different types of utensils when they’re facing different directions. The spoons are the only ones with the mouth end facing up. And usually knife handles and fork handles look pretty different.
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6 Responses to Dishwasher Utensil Orientation

  1. We just alternate them (half up, half down), mostly because of the spoons. If there are 2 spoons in the same spot facing the same direction, they tend to start, well, spooning, and only one side of each gets clean.

    I’m SO GLAD you finally figured out what differential equations are for – utensil testing.

  2. eliggy says:

    So, I’d only have one thing to add to your perfect system –

    3. just put all the same type of utensil in the same basket area in the first place.

    That makes it even easier to put away. This sounds like a good system! I’ll have to try the orientation thing.

  3. pjmartin says:

    My parents’ utensil holder has a lid with small slots in it, forcing you to put all utensils handle-down. I don’t like getting poked with the forks when emptying (or still loading) the utensils

  4. Anonymous says:


    sometimes knives cut right through the utensil holder if they are sharp end down, it gets really hot in there!


  5. Anonymous says:

    Your ideas intrigue me

    I hate it when the sharp ends are placed up, we can agree on that. However, I think even spoons should be handle-up because otherwise you’re touching the part that goes into people’s mouths when you unload. I’ll remember to bring my own spoon whenever I come to your place. Thanks for the heads up!

  6. nah idontthinkso says:

    I arrived at a similar system thusly:
    – A housemate was pedantic and liked the handles down approach to be sure it all was cleaned.
    – I hated get pricked by knives and forks when loading and unloading.
    So spoons handle down, knives&forks handle up.

    Furthermore, I tend to spread similar items out into different holding cells (most dishwashers have 6 cells in their cutlery basket) deliberately so that “spooning” doesn’t occur as mentioned by autrucheplume. So each cell ends up with one spoon before a second spoon goes into the same cell.

    As eliggy mentioned this may make for longer unload times but doing all of one type at a time (all the spoons, then all the forks, then all the knives) minimises this.

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