This is the Right Way to Place Pots in the Dishwasher

dishwasher pots

If you’re looking for a quick answer here it is.

The right way to place your large pots in the dishwashers is:

  • Place your pots upside down in the dishwasher
  • Secure them into place using other dishes or pots and test them by moving them back and forth (or special clamp for pots if your dishwasher has one)
  • Don’t place too many pots in the dishwasher because it will limit the water sprayer and other dishes may not get clean (tableware is the most susceptible)

Also, make sure your pots are dishwasher safe!

dishwasher pots

Where and How to Place Your Pots

Use the bottom rack

The top row of the dishwasher should usually be reserved for bowls and cups. It’s not really meant to have the heavy-duty stuff. Make sure instead place the pots in the lower rack of your machine. This is where the jets can really get at them. On most dishwashers the jets of water come from the bottom, so you will get the most soaking power on the lower rung.

Even if the upper rack also has a water sprayer, it’s still not a good idea because pots contain a lot of grease and food particles that will go over the bottom rack.

Secure them into place

Also, there are prongs on the bottom rack. You need to make sure that you use them. You must securely place the pots on the rack so that they are upside-down. You should not place any item loosely in the dishwasher. Instead, you need to make sure that the dishes are in a fixed position.

A good test to make sure that your pots are secure is to try to move them back and forth. If they wiggle away from the racks too easily, then you need to try a different way of placing them.

They need to be in the racks so that they stick in a sense. Make sure that you give room between the pots as well. Otherwise, the water sprayer will not be able to clean other dishes.

Always face down

You want the entire bottom of the pot to face down. This will make the pot receive the full treatment. If you overlap pots, they’re more likely to fly around and certain parts of them won’t get clean.

Here is an instructive, but obvious video:

More details

When it comes to your dishwasher, you want to make sure that you are placing your pots correctly. In the next part of the article, we will discuss more tips for placing pots in the dishwasher so they come out clean.

We will also tell you how to prepare your pots by washing them right away. Then you can put them in the dishwasher for further cleaning and disinfection.

We will compare compact versus large dishwashers and discuss a strategy for you to load each. By the end of this article, you will be an expert on how to correctly place your pots in the dishwasher.

How to Prepare Your Pots

You’ve just finished cooking a delicious meal. It’s time to sit down with your family and enjoy it. However, you are dreading the washing process later. You know that everything will be dry and food will stick onto the pots by then.

You can completely avoid this by simply preparing your pots for the dishwasher.

After you use a pot, you can transfer the sauce and food into another bowl. In fact, you will have to do this to get the meal done and prepped. The pots are usually what you will put in the sink with water in them.

However, I propose that you go a step further. I suggest that you rinse all of the debris off of them. Then you will have pots that are ready for the dishwasher.

The dishwasher is meant to be a disinfectant and sanitizer. That’s why it uses such high heat and special chemicals. You don’t need to wash your pots with soap and water when you are prepping them.

They will get enough soap in the dishwasher. However, if you rinse and scrub off all the sauce and food, it will come off easily if you do it right away. This will prepare the way for your next step.

How To Place Your Pots Depending On Your Dishwasher Size

There are compact dishwashers and there are large dishwashers. You probably have a large dishwasher if you have a single-detached home. This type of living space has more room for this kind of appliance.

On the other hand, if you live in an apartment, you are likely to have a compact dishwasher. This is just the way that it is with small kitchens. Your square footage for the kitchen is minimized and all of your appliances are likely to be compact.

If you have a compact dishwasher, you might want to place them all flat as I detailed above. You can even place smaller, flatter pots on the top rung if you like. After you have cooked your meal, you can put in a load just of pots. This way it will be out of the way and ready for you to later unload it.

You will probably have to promptly reload it with the actual dishes from supper. You might be able to wait until lunch or after you come home from work to run it again. It really depends if you’re cooking for a family or as a single person.

How Do I Fix My Pots in Place?

When it comes to making sure that the pots are really in properly, there is no magic trick. However, you can put them in and get a feel for what fits. It might take some practice at first.

Most people are used to just washing their pots by hand. I, however, do think that’s a mistake. You really want to disinfect your pots so I prefer to put them in the dishwasher. They do fit if you just give them their proper space.

You can tilt them slightly if you have a larger load you want to fit in. You’ll have to make sure that the handles are not in the way of the other dishes that you want to load in. All in all, you will find your rhythm.

The Dishwasher Myth

You may have seen that commercial where the girl wonders what the dishwasher does. She sees her mother cleaning the pots well beforehand. The dishwasher myth is that your dishwasher will always get your pots sparkling clean.

That you can load them however you want and in whatever condition. As much as we would like to believe that this is true, it is not.

With a dishwasher, you will need to load them properly. You will also need to go through the proper preparation. So even though that commercial is just selling detergent, the little girl is right. The commercial, on the other hand, is wrong still.

There is no magic dishwasher liquid that will get your dishes clean if you don’t get them ready for the dishwasher. The little girl is right- you do need to spend some time washing your dishes before you load them. I will tell you the easiest way to do it though so that you save time. You will feel like you actually are using a secret formula.

Final Tips For Better Cleaning of the Pots

Always follow the place rule

Your pots will come clean if you do place them properly. The less that you stack them, the better your outcome. If you do decide to tilt them, it’s best to just give them a slight tilt.

I understand that you want to economize on space. No one wants to run an empty dishwasher or something with just a couple of items in it. However, if they’re upright completely, they may not be stable.

Also, you will need other pots to prop them up. The chances of the water getting to the inside of the pots are minimized this way. It might happen, but you’re not leaving a lot of room.

Wash them right away

Additionally, you need to know that you should actually clean your pots right after cooking. You must do that right away or you may well wash them with soap. If you get to the point where you have to get out your scrubber, you might consider a sink full of soapy water.

There isn’t much point to scrubbing your pots off with soap and then putting them in the machine. You will need soap if the mess is caked on. There really isn’t any way around it. So if you make the habit of completely washing the pan after you use it, you won’t need to worry. It will make cleaning pots much less arduous.

Make sure they’re dishwasher safe

Finally, you should be aware of your pots are dishwasher safe. Most of them are, although your mother may beg to differ. You spend a lot on pots, and you don’t need to necessarily baby them.

I put pots in the dishwasher that my grandmother used to always handwash. They come out clean and there’s really no problem. However, if you have something like a Le Creuset pot, then you might want to be more careful.

These ceramic pots might not be something you’re comfortable putting in the dishwasher. Keep in mind that you can always get stains off of ceramics with Bar Keeper’s Friend. I’m just being the devil’s advocate here at this point.

However, you should always be sure if the manufacturer says dishwasher safe. If they are not approved, then you proceed only at your own caution.


Pots are wonderful to clean if you follow a protocol. They can be horrid to clean, on the other hand, if you let them sit day and night. They are a high maintenance item that you can easily make lower work if you care for them properly.

By staying organized in the kitchen, you can have your pots sanitized by the dishwasher and ready to cook for your next meal. You might even get healthier in the process of all your home cooking.