Rearranging the Dishwasher


Here’s something I don’t understand:

Why do people get all defensive and judgey about people who rearrange the dishwasher?

I do rearrange the dishwasher. My husband rearranges the dishwasher. I grew up in a house with a father who rearranged the dishwasher (we were actually instructed repeatedly to load according to the dishwasher manual best practices).

I’ve never been offended by the dishwasher being rearranged after I loaded it.

I have seen many an internet meme about “people who rearrange the dishwasher.” You know, “those people.” More than a few times good friends have said to me with much disdain, “Oh, I bet you are one of those people who rearrange the dishwasher, aren’t you?” I am. And I am proud of it. I’m not sure why this would ever be a bad or offensive thing.

Here is a dishwasher scenario: Today there was a big popcorn bowl and some dishes already in the dishwasher. I made a batch of big soft ginger cookies and wanted to add in the big mixer bowl.



I could have just shoved it on top like this:


Then I pretty much would have had to run the dishwasher and the mixer bowl might not get entirely clean at the side where it overlaps the red bowl. It also ended up rubbing against the the top rack sprayer when I closed the bottom rack.

But by shifting two things, both big bowls now slide under the top rack, the bowls will get cleaner since they can be fully sprayed, and I have room to fit dishes from the entire rest of the day and maybe even make it through breakfast tomorrow morning. It takes around 6 gallons of water and 1 kWh of energy to run a load of dishes, so not rearranging them might make one and a half times that impact since I’d have run it this morning and again the next day.


Why do people try to make dishwasher rearrangers feel neurotic or like we have control issues? I don’t understand what the controversy is.

Some Reasons I Support Rearranging the Dishwasher:

  1. If someone is rearranging the dishwasher, that usually means someone else is doing the dishes and you are not. This should be the only reason you need. Why complain? Let them do it and walk away, anyone else doing the dishes is AWESOME.
  2. Appliances aren’t built to be very heavy duty these days. Some of the items we shove in our dishwasher are heavy duty. Dishwasher racks are built like cantilevers, if heavier items are loaded towards the front, or the weight is not distributed evenly, the rack can break or bend slowly or quickly. Sometimes weight needs to be redistributed to save the dishwasher. That saves frustration, cleanup, money and downtime for repair, which is AWESOME.
  3. Sometimes you load the dishwasher all nice, but then in the next meal something else unanticipated comes along. Maybe an awkward platter. Maybe a big bowl. Maybe a whole bunch of mugs. Do I want to run the dishwasher half full of bowls with a sink stacked high with plates? No. I can just rearrange the dishwasher and fit it all in. I’m saving energy, water, electricity and a couple hours of having to look at a sink full of dirty dishes. And that’s AWESOME.
  4. My dad has read the manual, and I’ve seen the How It’s Made episode on dishwashers, so we can tell you dishwashers are made to clean things efficiently and most effectively if used a certain way. Some sections are hotter, some sections receive more water. The water is shot out  from certain directions. You don’t have to follow this for maximum efficiency, BUT you do know from experience and common sense, the dishwasher has to be loaded reasonably to get everything clean. Sometimes two knives or plates get squashed together in quick general loading. When the dishwasher is run, they won’t get cleaned and you have hard peanut butter or egg or eggplant parm cemented to your dishes. Now it’s dried and caked on, and you get to scrub it manually, sometimes it takes a soak and has to be put it back into the dishwasher, either way you are washing it twice. OR you can see that you need an adjustment before the dishwasher is run, make a shift and you’ve saved frustration, water and energy again. AWESOME.
  5. Sometimes you are in a hurry or kids throw stuff in the dishwasher. Should you have plastic on the bottom rack? No, most everyone knows that by now. Should you have chopsticks falling through from the top rack or knives slipping through the utensil basket section that has the big rip in it to block up the sprayers? No, you don’t want your dishwasher to break. Should you have trays or Tupperware blocking the jets so they can’t clean anything but the back of the tray or Tupperware? Of course, not, you want everything cleaned. You’re awesome, you know how to move things around and make things work so you don’t break expensive stuff or set your house on fire.
  6. Some people just really like the way it looks and feels to have everything lined up together. I like this and when starting with a fresh dishwasher or have extra time, I might make it look like this and it is pleasing and happiness inducing. Everything lining up in the dishwasher isn’t a priority or a necessity for me, but I’m not sure why it’s a character flaw if it is for someone else. Some people like their nails, or hair or clothes or bookshelves or car exterior to look nice and neat, what’s the difference? When I see a cleanly loaded and lined up dishwasher someone else has loaded, that might make me happy too, so the loader/rearrangers has made themselves and someone else happy. They spread happiness and get dishes clean and that is AWESOME.

I don’t regularly open up the dishwasher and see a half full loaf plates or cups of different sizes all over the place and put them together, but I can’t say I haven’t ever done. I don’t curse the person who put something in one place instead of another (though I know people who do). If I’m starting fresh and I’m loading a big dinner or sink full of dishes, I will line everything up nicely with likes together. Otherwise, I just want to fit as much stuff in to get as clean as possible.

Thank you for your consideration. You are awesome.

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