No doubt about it, there are definitely two different camps on how to put your silverware into the dishwasher. According to Leslie Reichert, The Cleaning Coach, “My mother insisted that the silverware was put in handles down so that when the utensils were rinsed and dried, the drops would roll down to the handles, and not leave spots on the food surfaces of the silverware,” she says. As for sharp knives? She put those facing downward, Reichert says. The opposing argument is to load silverware with handles facing up so you can put them away without getting germs from your hands on the eating surfaces of the silverware.
Most major dishwasher manufacturers agree on one thing: Load knives with the blades down and the handle sticking up for safety’s sake.
According to the GE Appliance website, the proper way to load silverware utensils is in the basket with forks and knives with the handles up to protect hands. “Place spoon handles down if there is an unusually large load of silverware or utensils in the basket. Otherwise, place spoon handles up also. Best washing results are obtained when the silverware is mixed and evenly distributed, not nested together.”
Reichert suggests mixing up spoons and forks in different areas of the silverware basket to prevent nesting and agrees with major dishwasher manufacturers about placing silverware handles in the up position, “I also recommend this if you are having your children learn to empty the dishwasher or you really want to avoid transferring germs from your hands to the eating surfaces of your silverware.”
GE also reminds people that slender items must not extend through the bottom of the basket which may prevent the wash arm from rotating. Tall cutlery must not be placed in front of the basket where they may prevent the detergent cup from opening. Here are things you should never put in the dishwasher to start with.
So there you have your answer: The experts agree, handles up!