How to load your dishwasher for engineers

dishwasherIf you might recall, my husband has engineering disease.  He also has a very special way that the dishwasher gets loaded.

In some ways, this is the logical progression of the whole red hooker shoe incident.

It all started when my husband sat down and read the manual that came with our new dishwasher.  At that point, the dishwasher had been installed and running for over a month.  It was getting the dishes clean most of the time.  It was performing it’s dishwashing duties in a way I found totally satisfactory.

(i’m not a pre-wash kind of gal.  i scrape off the big chunks and throw them in the machine.  that works 99% of the time.  the rest of the time the dishes go for a soak and a second wash.  no big deal to me.)

One evening, my husband is laying in bed reading the month-old manual for the machine.

Hubby:  Hey! I think I solved your problem with the dishwasher.

Me:  I didn’t know I had a problem.

Hubby:  I noticed one of the forks didn’t get clean.

As I recall, he then got out of bed and went back into the kitchen to test his theory.  He says he didn’t and that I’m using creative license in my story telling today.  It was three years ago, I’ve slept since then and I’m not going to argue the details.

(my hubby is a pre-washer.  by the time he puts the dishes in the dishwasher they are clean enough to eat off of.)

The next morning, the dishes were spotless.

Hubby:  See?  If you load them the way the manual says to then all the dishes get clean.

Me:  I am NOT going to load it the way you want me to.

In an effort to convince me of the error of my ways, hubby helpfully located multiple online videos on the subject.  I pretended to care.

Time out.

I was not being a model wife, true.  But it’s not as bad as it sounds.

I’m left handed.  My husband is right handed.  I tend to load the dishwasher from left-to-right across the racks.  My husband (and my right handed mom) tend to load the dishes from right-to-left.  That variation alone drives them both bonkers.  The whole left versus right thing had been an issue for my entire married life.

So I was already a little testy about the dishwasher loading procedure.

Back to the dishwasher.

It’s three years later.  I still don’t comply with the dishwasher instruction manual.

I won’t put the bowls where my husband thinks they belong, and even when I do I apparently load them wrong.  I’ve caught him unloading and reloading the bowl section because it did it wrong.

(hello! the dishes are in the dishwasher.  how can that be wrong?  how can that not be better than dirty dishes in the sink!)

I somehow fail to load the plates correctly.  He wants all the big plates loaded together and then all the smaller plates.  Me, I load them in the order I find them.

(i do load them all facing the same direction and separated by the little prong things.  it’s just a size thing.  and the right versus left thing.  apparently i put them on the “wrong” side of the machine.)

But the number one thing I fail at is the flatware.

how engineers load the dishwasher

notice all the flatware nested in the little holes like soldiers.

My husband loads all the knives, forks, and spoons into the tiny little slots in the utensil basket.

One item per hole.

All sorted by type.

All facing the same direction.

(this is “optimized” loading according to hubby.)

When the dishwasher was initially installed, I yanked the little grid thing off the basket and tossed it under the sink.  It was re-installed the night my husband read the dishwashing manual.

It has been the bane of my existence ever since.

(ok, forgive the poor photos. i had to sneak the shots when my husband wasn’t looking. i don’t want to hurt his feelings.)

how normal people load the dishwasher

notice the handful cluster of utensils.

In keeping with the whole “I don’t pre-wash” theme, I tend to grab a handful of flatware and drop it into the basket.

The exception would be if we’ve eaten something notorious for sticking on the spoons through the dishwasher cycle – say macaroni and cheese.  Then I work at it a little harder.

Sometimes, a spoon has to make a second trip through the dishwasher because of my methods.

I view this as an exiting adventure for the spoon.  We own flatware for 16 and there are only 4 of us.  I can afford to give the spoon some alone time.

Rewashing the spoon is not a big deal to me, and I certainly don’t view it as a failure of the dishwasher or of my dishwashing methods.

My husband has other views.

If he has to re-wash dishes he tends to take the dishwasher apart to see what the mechanical failure was.

He seems to view a single dirty spoon as a personal failure.

As a result, he will “fix” my loading “mistakes” by reloading whatever dishes I’ve placed in the dishwasher.

I really shouldn’t complain.

My husband loads the dishwasher every chance he gets.  If I wanted to, I could just leave nasty dishes in the sink and he’d take care of it.

I know that makes me an incredibly lucky woman.

(i’d be more thankful if it was done with a helpful spirit.  he does it because i still haven’t mastered the “right way to load it.)

My husband unloads the dishwasher every chance he get.  He’s asked me to label the shelves so he gets things in the “right” space.

I know that rocks.  I love him.

(i’d be more thankful, but he does it so he can inspect the dishes.)

Bottom Line?

If you have a loved one with engineering disease, think this through.  If you show them the manual for the dishwasher, your life will never be the same.

UPDATE:  When I read this story to my husband, he laughed.  He agrees the spirit of the story is true, even if a few details aren’t quite perfect.

Hubby: Remember how I turned your underwear pink when I washed a red towel with them?

Me:  Yes…?

Hubby:  And now you won’t let me touch the washing machine.

Me:  Yes….

Hubby:  This is the same thing only in reverse, isn’t it.


 Which camp of dishwashing habits are YOU in?  Suggestions?  Ideas?  Can you help me????

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Houston Mom Blogger Susan Baker has a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood. She has two elementary school boys, one engineering husband, and one cat. She has a strange fascination  for eggs, socks, and books.  She spends far too much time on Social Media and at Target. She is crazy in love with her family.  She serves an amazing God.   She lives an ordinary life filled with wonder. [/author_info] [/author]

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
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  1. LOL I love this! Though I don’t see it ever happening with my husband. He has this tendency to put things together how he seems they should (he’s a computer guy if it works then he doesn’t question) while I sit there and read the instructions. The few times he can’t figure it out he hands it to me and normally it is some little diagram and he says, “You’re a drafter what do they mean?” And then he still doesn’t follow the directions!
    I put plates in largest to smallest, and separate my silverware so no two like kinds are together because my washer doesn’t have that top separator so if you stick 2 small spoons together the chances are they will stick together with yuck in between.
    You’ve got a great hubby for even trying! And it is a total engineering thing to go into great detail about the things that don’t matter to the layman I estimate he does quite well in his field LOL
    Elizabeth recently posted..Why Being a Stay-At-Home Mom was a Bad Fit – Back History on MeMy Profile

    • As long as most of the dishes come out clean, then I think they must have been loaded correctly – no matter what the directions say. 🙂 I don’t like it when the spoons get that back to back thing going either – bleh.

  2. Oh my goodness I loved this! I’m with you. I just throw them in there. I’m married to an engineer so I know how they think! Thankfully my husband has never seen the dishwashing manual, and thanks to your post I’ll make sure he never does 🙂
    Shannon recently posted..Great And Cheap Way To Store Your MagazinesMy Profile

  3. Your husband cracks me up. He just wants things to be done right!

    I’m kind of in between the two of you with my dishwasher loading habits.
    Patty recently posted..How To Clean BlindsMy Profile

    • I adore my husband and I’m very thankful he cares about the dishes. It cracks me up that he’s so precise about them.

      Personally, I love hearing all the variations on how people load their dishwasher. Who dreamed there was more than one “right” way to load it!

  4. TN Lizzie says:

    Hi! Don’t know how I found your blog, but I’m loving it (and therefore, YOU!)

    This dishwasher-thing may be less an Engineering issue and one of Perfectionism. If you could see my Diningroom, piled with piles. of. stuff. waiting for shelves in the garage (but I digress) you’d laugh, but I am perfectionistic about the dishwasher.

    I’ve been told, “Housework done wrong still blesses the family” butI struggle against reloading the bowls. I don’t care if the washer fills right to left or left to right, but PLEASE don’t put bowls so they cover and block the water coming out!!!

    Now, about silverware: Does your dear husband (DH) realize that when all the spoons and forks face the same direction, they NEST? This means that glue made from oatmeal, potatos, and mac-n-cheese can/will stick those utensils together so they cannot get clean?

    My first thought on your post is that you could sweetly give him the dishwasher job, since he’s so incredibly good at it ;o}

    Another thought is to suggest a family policy – ANYONE who stand at the sink and washes dishes (and does a good job) gets a free backrub! Lots of interesting conversations happen at my kitchen sink. There’s something that loosens a teen-age tongue when we don’t sit eyeball-to-eyeball! :o)

    • I’m not sure how you found me either, but I’m happy that you did. 🙂

      My husband completely denies his perfectionism. He says “I just like things done right.”

      ’nuff said.

  5. Susan, You are one lucky woman :). By the way good bottom line out there, show your loved one’s the manual and then they do the rest for you.

    And I am an engineer myself, so I try to do everything according to the instructions mentioned in the manual. Just different people with different views. Love to help others and if you don’t mind say “Hi, to your hubby for being an helpful hubby :)”

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