We’ve become connoisseurs of odd things since lockdown began last march. We now have strong opinions on topics like toiletpaper, nose-wire masks, and hand sanitizer that doesn’t do more damage than it prevents. Even everyday tasks such as loading the dishwasher have come under scrutiny.
The dishwasher is primarily my task, as I tend to play sous chef for prepping dinner, I also tend to do much of the washing up. I have become particular about how to load the dishwasher to optimize the quality of how well those dishes get clean vs. the quantity of dishes. I think I’ve spent far too much time learning which spots are good for which kind of dishes, and how to best arrange the silverware to prevent spooning.
Knives are a problem. First, if you’re not aware, putting them in the dishwasher dulls the blades. The tiny grains of food and chemicals can damage the finish of the metal, and sandblast your once-sharp blades. Seriously, hand wash them. I know I should, and I do handwash the kitchen knives — but I’m lazy with these little pearing knives and steak knives. I’m a bad person, I can accept that.
The real battle with knives comes between the two types of people loading the basket: Point Down and Point Up. What’s it gonna be? Protect the person, or protect the machine?
Point down? You risk damaging the basket, cutting the little grid of plastic that holds your silverware in place. The blade also might stop the sprayer from turning properly, and may bend the knife if it is struck. Once the basket is damaged, you’ll need to make sure you don’t accidentally load spoons and forks where the handles might fall through the holes, again — stopping the sprayer from turning. It can become quite a dance as the machine ages, and the number and size of holes grows until the machine is replaced, or you spend the money on a new basket.
Very likely this arrangement is a compromise, because you are sacrificing the knife and the basket because the other alternative is frightening.
Point Up?!? Are you mad? You’ve done it, I’ve done it. And if you haven’t jabbed yourself between the fingers while unloading the dishwasher, bleeding on the freshly washed silverware, you will. This is insanity. The blade will be clean, but it’s just a matter of time and hoping the odds are forever in your favor.
So, potentially risk your hands to wounding? Or sacrifice the basket and forever double check the basket to make sure nothing has fallen through? Are we doomed to handwash everything? No. There’s a reason we use this machine, and there has to be a solution.
There is another way. No blood must be shed, and the basket can remain hale and hearty for the lifetime of the machine. Behold! The basket walls have slots! You can place the knives point-down, where there will not harm anyone, and they will not damage the basket! This works remarkably well for chopsticks too!
Was this article necessary? Probably not. But I feel like this needed to be shared. I felt like that proto-human at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey when I figured this out. Deep magic from the dawn of time. It was probably in the dishwasher manual, but that ancient tome is lost to obscurity.