Flatware in the DW--Loaded Pointing UP or DOWN

This is a great test for kitchens. Do you subscribe to the “Down because no one touches it when it’s put away” philosophy, or is it “Up, because the dirty water drains away from the contact surfaces” view?

Personally, when I use a DW, it’s both, depending on the load and the propensity for flatware and utensils to nest–and be shielded from cleaning.

The heavier side goes in first.

Interesting. I’ve never heard of balance as a sorting mechanism for this. Thanks.

Spoons and forks, handles down; knives, handles up.


Heavier items won’t flip in your hands if the weight is already facing down. For a klutz, (firmly pointing at myself) it makes a difference.

Forks tines up, everything else handles up.

Our basket is on the lower shelf and the sweeper arm underneath can catch on fork tines as it spins. I guess we just hit a freaky jackpot with respect to tine spacing vs. basket grid spacing.

Always the “usage side” up (i.e., handles IN to the basket). My sharp knives don’t go in the dishwasher, so I don’t have to worry about cutting myself when removing the utensils.


Same here.

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This is what I do to. The only knives that go in the dishwasher are the practically useless one that match the rest of my flatware.

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Of course only table knives. I was taught that hollow handle knives should not be put in handle down. But what one is taught depends on the teacher’s knowledge!

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Same here, handles down and distributed so the spoons and forks don’t nest. I grab everything by the handles to unload, so there’s no issue with touching the businesses end of utensils.

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Handles up! I’ve stabbed myself on fork tines too many times. Plus, when I was growing up, my parents’ silverware handles were just a little too narrow and the spoons and forks slid through the basket, so we were “trained” to go handles-up.

I feel like this is a debate along the same lines as whether toilet paper should be hung over or under. (There, my favorite mnemonic is: beards are cool, mullets are not.)


Yes, that’s why I asked. I’m a little surprised no one’s claimed their way is superior because X, and any other way causes food poisoning, etc.


Facing up so that the business end is not blocked from the spray. Wife does it the same way, but she puts butter knives down for safety reasons when removing them, even though she acknowledges they are not sharp. Sharp knives get washed by hand.

My dishwasher has a utensil rack in the very top, and the silverware lays flat in the rack. It did come with a basket, but I don’t use that because of the rack in the top. That leaves more room for dishes in the bottom rack.

When I used the basket, I always put the handles down.

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Handles down. I also put all the same utensil in one basket. Makes it less annoying to unload. Have never had an issue with them nesting and not getting clean. That said, I am one of those people who rinses so well that dishes are practically clean when they go in. Also only run it once a week—single person who washes all plastic, pots and bulky things by hand.

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Except that debate is settled law - everyone knows that hanging toilet paper in the underhand fashion is the sign of a deeply disturbed mind.


Or a cat owner…


I third that.

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I mix it up to avoid ‘spooning’ and fork tines getting stuck together. No sharps and the potato peeler gets hand washed as we found the tip was poking through the mesh of the basket bottom.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr