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Getting The Most Out Of Your Dishwasher & Keeping Your Refrigerator Organized

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Sometimes the simple things can cause the most ridiculous disagreements in the household. Case in point: Loading the dishwasher!

Consumer Reports Dan Wroclawski says people are set in their ways when it comes to the dishwasher. "For instance, my own mother in law insists upon pre rinsing all of the dishes that go in the dishwasher and I've told her many times you don't need to do that."

Really?! You don't?

"No you really don't. The only thing you have to do is scrape off you know large chunks of food, but you don't actually need to rinse them.

Most new dishwashers now actually have special sensors in them that can detect how dirty the dishes are and adjust the wash cycle according."

Wroclawski says your dishwasher has a filter that will catch anything significant and you do need to clean it out occasionally otherwise it will start to smell. "That's an indicator that you need to empty that filter."

When it comes to loading the dishwasher, no layering. "So for your top rack you want things like cups, glasses, small bowls, and then any dishwasher safe plastics." He says always keep the plastics away from the heating element in the bottom of the dishwasher.

"It's really important though to make sure everything is nestled in those prongs because it'll just help to keep everything in place."

On the bottom rack, Wroclawski says while some believe all plates need to face the center, Consumer Reports has found the direction doesn't matter as long as they are separated to allow for water flow.

"You want to have things with cooked on like you know baked on food, you want to have those also in the middle face down so that the spray arm below can really get at those to get everything that's cooked on off of them."

And when it comes to silverware, its handles down for forks and spoons and handles up for knives.

Wroclawski says mix em up, "and that helps to prevent nesting and prevent them from just you know, clinging together and making sure that they get adequately washed."

Large items like cutting boards should be put along the side or back but never the front because they could inhibit the spread of the soap out of its dispenser.

And give that upper spray arm a spin to make sure it is not hitting anything. If it does, readjust.

There is even a right and wrong way to unload your dishwasher.

Wroclawski says, "It's very simple, all you want to do is make sure you unload the bottom rack before the top rack. And the reason for that is water can pool in the concave parts of you know, to have glasses and cups on the top rack. And so if you empty that, first, you're going to end up spilling water that often has, you know, little bits of food residue on to those nice clean plates and other things in the lower rack."

Watch as KDKA's John Shumway reports:


While we're in the kitchen can we talk about the refrigerator? Wroclawski says there are common mistakes that people make that can clutter your refrigerator.

"There's a lot of produce, you know, that doesn't need to be stored in the refrigerator, things like onions or citrus fruits like limes, and oranges. Those things really don't need to be stored in the refrigerator."

Even where you put things in the refrigerator is a source for discord in families. "The biggest one that I always think of is milk. Most people like to store it in the door and that's actually really not a good place for it. The door shelves don't usually get as cold as the actual interior. So things like milk and other things that could spoil quickly. You want to put those in the actual shelves in the back of the fridge."

Wroclawski says the refrigerator drawers are often misused. "The ones that really matter are the crisper drawers because those actually do attempt to regulate the moisture in the air. So you do really want to put your your vegetables in the vegetable drawer and your fruits and again the fruits that are supposed to go in the fridge in that drawer."

To combat smells that might develop in the refrigerator, Wroclawski says besides clearing out old food, putting an open box of baking soda will help absorb smells.

But he warns, write the date on the box when you put it in and replace it after three months.

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