How to Sanitize Items with Your Dishwasher: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Gina Napsin
June 13, 2024
Home appliances
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In the heart of every home, the dishwasher stands as a faithful ally in the daily battle against dirt and grime. But its capabilities go far beyond merely washing dishes. Dive into our comprehensive guide, "How to Sanitize Items with Your Dishwasher: A Step-by-Step Guide."
We unlock the full potential of this household hero, revealing how it can effectively sanitize a wide array of items, from kitchen tools to baby essentials. Follow our step-by-step instructions and transform your appliance into a powerful germ-busting tool for a cleaner, safer home environment.

Safety Precautions

Before proceeding, prioritize safety. Verify that it is in proper working order to avoid potential mishaps. Always adhere to the manufacturer's guidelines and recommendations, as they provide crucial instructions for safe and effective usage. By taking these precautions, you'll ensure a smooth and secure sanitization process for various items in your dishwasher.

Choosing the Right Items: What to Safely Sanitize and What to Avoid

Sanitizing items in your dishwasher is a convenient way to maintain cleanliness and hygiene in your home. However, not all items are dishwasher-safe, and it's essential to make informed choices to prevent damage or accidents.
Items You Can Safely Sanitize:
  1. Dishes and Utensils: Plates, bowls, glasses, silverware, and stainless steel utensils are dishwasher-friendly and can be effectively sanitized.
  2. Kitchen Tools: Many kitchen tools like spatulas, measuring cups, and non-electric can openers can go in the dishwasher.
  3. Baby Bottles and Pacifiers: Items designed for dishwasher use, such as some baby bottles and pacifiers, can be sanitized to ensure your baby's health.
  4. Glass and Plastic Food Storage Containers: Check labels for safety, but many glass and plastic containers are suitable for cleaning and sanitizing in the dishwasher.
Items to Avoid Putting in the Dishwasher:
  1. Wooden Items: Wooden utensils, cutting boards, and things with wooden components should not be washed in the dishwasher as the heat and moisture can cause warping, cracking, or splintering.
  2. Cast Iron Cookware: Cast iron pans and cookware are seasoned to maintain their non-stick properties. Dishwashers can strip away this seasoning, so hand washing is recommended.
  3. Delicate Glassware and Crystal: Fine glassware and crystal may become cloudy or chipped in the dishwasher. Hand washing is the best option for preserving their appearance.
  4. Nonstick Cookware: Dishwashers can wear down the nonstick coating on pans, reducing their effectiveness. Hand wash nonstick cookware to extend its lifespan.
  5. Electrical Appliances: Appliances like blenders, food processors, and coffee grinders should never be immersed in water or placed in a dishwasher. Follow the manufacturer's cleaning guidelines.
  6. Stuffed Animals and Fabric Toys: Soft toys may not withstand the dishwasher's water and heat. Consult care labels and opt for gentler cleaning methods for these things.

Preparing the Dishwasher

Before launching the sanitization process, it's crucial to ready your appliance. Start by cleaning the filter to remove any debris that might obstruct water flow. Additionally, inspect the spray arms to confirm they are unobstructed and can distribute water effectively. These preparatory steps ensure an uninterrupted and thorough cleaning and sanitization process, allowing it to operate at its peak performance.

Loading the Items

Efficiently loading things into your dishwasher is essential for effective sanitization. Arrange items strategically, ensuring they do not block the spray arms' rotation. Place heavily soiled items on the lower rack, while lighter items go on the upper rack. Avoid overcrowding to allow water and detergent to reach every surface. Mastering this art ensures that each item receives maximum exposure to the sanitizing elements within your dishwasher, guaranteeing thorough cleaning and sanitization.

Selecting the Appropriate Cycle

Choosing the right dishwasher cycle is pivotal for successful sanitization. Dishwashers offer various cycles designed for specific purposes, such as heavy-duty cleaning, energy efficiency, or sanitization. To effectively sanitize items, opt for a cycle that provides high-temperature water, like the "sanitize" or "heavy-duty" setting. These cycles use hotter water to ensure thorough sanitization, eliminating harmful bacteria and germs effectively while maintaining the integrity of your items.

Detergent Selection

Selecting the appropriate detergent is a vital component of achieving effective sanitization in your dishwasher. Look for dishwasher detergents designed to cut through grease and tackle tough stains. Some detergents have additional sanitizing properties, explicitly labeled as such. These detergents are formulated to work in conjunction with high-temperature dishwasher cycles, ensuring that your things emerge not only clean but also thoroughly sanitized, free from harmful bacteria and germs.

Temperature Settings

Temperature settings play a pivotal role in the sanitization process. Hot water is a powerful ally against bacteria and germs. To enhance sanitization, choose a dishwasher cycle with higher temperature settings, often labeled as "sanitize" or "heavy-duty." These cycles ensure water reaches temperatures effective at killing microorganisms. Understanding and adjusting temperature settings according to your needs is essential for achieving thorough and reliable sanitization in your dishwasher.

Additional Tips for Effective Sanitization

For optimal sanitization results, consider these additional tips.
  1. Use Rinse Aid: Add rinse aid to improve drying and reduce water spots.
  2. Load Correctly: Properly space items and angle them for optimal water exposure.
  3. Regular Maintenance: Clean the appliance's interior, including the gaskets and seals.
  4. Don't Overload: Avoid overcrowding to allow water and detergent to circulate effectively.
  5. Inspect Regularly: Check the components for clogs or blockages that can hinder sanitization.
Implementing these tips enhances the sanitization process, ensuring your items emerge clean and germ-free.

Post-Sanitization Care

After items have undergone the dishwasher's sanitization cycle, it's essential to handle them correctly to preserve their cleanliness. Allow items to cool before removing them to prevent burns. Check for any remaining food particles or residues, and if needed, hand wash or wipe them off. Store items in a clean and dry environment to prevent contamination. Following these post-sanitization care practices ensures that your items remain hygienic and ready for use.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

To ensure effective sanitization and extend your appliance's lifespan, steer clear of common errors. Avoid overloading to allow proper water circulation. Refrain from using incorrect detergents or excessive detergent amounts. Don't neglect filter and spray arm maintenance, which can hinder sanitization. Also, refrain from using your dishwasher for non-dishwasher-safe items to prevent damage. By sidestepping these mistakes, you maximize the sanitization process and the durability of your appliance.

Who Should I Call for Professional Appliance Maintenance and Repair Services?

Ready to unlock the full potential of your dishwasher for sanitizing? Follow our comprehensive guide for spotless, germ-free items. If you ever encounter issues with your dishwasher or any home appliances, don't hesitate to reach out to Home Alliance.
Our licensed technicians are dedicated to providing top-quality appliance services. From repairs to maintenance, we've got you covered. Your satisfaction and the longevity of your appliances are our priorities. Contact us today to experience excellence in appliance care and enjoy a cleaner, safer home environment.