Every day, I put utensils in the dishwasher one way, and you put them in a different way. I’ve discovered that we both are wrong.

How many conversations, in the history of time, have there been about the correct way to put knives, forks, and spoons into the dishwasher. I’d venture a guess of at least a gazillion…if that’s a number.

Here is how it plays out according to specific people who are “in the know” as dishwasher loading experts.

Southern Living magazine says, “handles up and sharp edges down.” This makes sense to me because not only is it safer, but it seem to also be more sanitary since you can grab them by the handles when unloading the dishwasher. “Picking up forks by their prongs with your fingers, especially if unwashed, can just cause the build-up of germs and bacteria, negating some of the work your dishwasher just accomplished.” See…makes sense doesn’t it.

The Queen of all things “proper” in the kitchen, Martha Stewart, asked an appliance expert about it and she said items should go in handles-up. “You won’t handle the part of your spoons and forks that will eventually go in someone’s mouth.” Yep, we are still in agreement.

Now it’s time for a little wrinkle in things (and somewhat of a cop-out) from Emilio Gonzalez, a senior test program leader of Consumer Reports, and he said do what the dishwasher manual says. “Put your spoons facing up, forks facing up and knives facing down, so you don’t cut yourself.”

If you’re keeping track, that 2 out of 3 for handles up.

So if we go by what the manual says, here is where the dishwater gets a little murky.

According to G.E. place forks and knives with the handles up to protect hands then place spoon handles down if there is an unusually large load of silverware or utensils in the basket. Otherwise, place spoon handles up also. Ok hang on, I’m starting to get a little confused here.

“The best washing results are when the silverware is mixed and evenly distributed, not nested together.” Does that mean to mix and match them all willy-nilly, and just throw them in?

Not all manufacturers are in agreement about this. LG and Bosch suggest forks down for safety. But Kenmore manuals say forks up for best results, while GE is neutral.

So what have we learned here today? My guess is that we will still have conversations (arguments actually) about the “correct” way of loading the dishwasher. And we haven’t even started talking about how other items are loaded in, or if the belong on the top or bottom racks.

Let the arguments continue!

Chris Kennedy