How To Sort Silverware In The Dishwasher

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How To Sort Silverware In The Dishwasher

How To Sort Silverware In The Dishwasher

In the process of cleaning and getting ready for company this morning I was reminded of something I have wanted to share.

I was putting away my silverware and was thinking of a time many years ago when I was helping someone we were staying with do the dishes after dinner. I carefully rinsed a handful of silverware and started putting it in the dishwasher. Before I knew it, my hostess yelled at me (literally) to stop. I didn’t know what was wrong.

She said, “Don’t put the silverware in the dishwasher like that. You need to separate it and put all the like items together–spoons, forks, etc. That will save time and make things more organized.” Since I was in her home I did as she asked. Over the years I have heard this same tip many times and very often by people who are considered “experts” in the area of cleaning and organizing. I thought this through the first time I heard it and could not make sense out of this tip.

First of all, what difference does it make timewise if you sort it when you put it into the dishwasher or if you sort it when you are putting it in the drawer? It works out to use the same amount of time.

Secondly, I would much rather handle the silverware and sort it when it is clean and dry than to sort it while it is wet, sticky and dripping everywhere.

Last but not least, whenever I sort the silverware the spoons will often pile on top of each other, sticking together so they don’t as clean.

When you hear anything, whether it is advice on cleaning or advice about how to handle your money, whether it involves big or little things, start thinking carefully about that advice. Ask yourself “Does this really make sense? Is that the way it works best for me? Can I modify it to work better? Is there a better way?” Too many people hear a plan and immediately adopt it. Take some time to listen to a tip or plan and then use your brain power to evaluate it yourself.

There are a lot of plans and decisions being made today, whether they are in individuals’ everyday lives, in organizations or all the way up to the government that don’t always make sense. I sometimes wonder if these things have really been thought through all the way to the finish to see if they will work. Is it the best plan or could the same results get done in a better way?

The moral of the story is: Start thinking. : ) Jill


  1. Angie says

    Awww, still no baby? :) I’m going to be on pins and needles until he’s here.

    You guys have a lot going on right now. It seems like there is always a flurry of activity like that before any baby’s arrival.

    Good advice on the blog Jill. Thinking advice through like that is always a good thing. I know lots of people that make simple tasks complicated. When I’ve tried to show them a simpler way, I always hear “Well, that’s the way I was told to do it.” or “I’ve always don it that way.” I always get a chuckle over that.


  2. says

    A good reason for not putting everything presorted is that the similar shapes and sizes will nest together and won’t get clean in between each item. I don’t care how you put the spoons in, even if individually and turned different ways, they always end up “spooning” and not getting clean.

  3. sophie from France says

    Dear Jill,

    i had to smile when reading your comment about spoons. I had the same reaction when my wife wanted to sort the silverware in the dishwasher.
    I do it my way and i know i’m right because when i load the dishwasher the dishes are always cleaner than when she does!

    It’s funny your friend commented on the way you loaded her dishwasher because if it were me, I would be so glad that guests are helping, I wouldn’t have dared commenting.

    Best to you and family, esp. Tawra + baby

  4. says

    Come on Tawra!! Come on Tawra!! Yea yea yea!! Come on Tawra!!

    Fondly, Peg

    As for sorting silver before washing??? Why??? I’m with you 100%. Too much sorting before washing in a dishwasher makes more work–silver gets nestled and thus not clean. Then you either put the dirty silver back in the dish washer for wash it my hand, I’m too “lazy” to make more work for myself., I also prefer to sort clean silver, not dirty silver. I’m waiting for a reply on the “flip” side,


  5. Priscilla M says

    So funny that you mention that. I purposely try to separate the kinds of silverware (spoons away from other spoons etc) so that they get cleaner. Sure it might take an extra few seconds, but frankly I’ll take clean dishes over a few more seconds added to my day.

  6. jill says

    I have to agree with Sophie from France. If someone offers to help with the dishes we really shouldn’t complain. Not only with our guests but with our family members too.

    We really need to start letting the little things go and not be quite so legalistic in all areas of our lives and really remember that just because someone does something different from us doesn’t mean it is wrong, only different.


  7. says

    Lol… Hope the little guy comes soon and it’s “easy”. Well, as easy as birthing can get anyways =)

    I too take extra time to purposely separte the silverware from eachother. It makes it easier for me at least… no recleaning required.

    However, I find it a bit odd no one commented on the thinking part. I think that’s the greatest advice ever. I’d love to see more people think for themselves. Expecially in Washington.


  8. Lynne says

    Whe.n you sort the silverware after it is clean, you are handling it longer and thus getting it dirty before it is used. Some items you put in the dishwasher as one or two pieces at a time–those are the ones that are faster to sort. After dinner I’m already at the sink doing the other dishes and pans. A few more seconds doesn’t add very much. In the morning I’m usually in a hurry to get on my way, so the extra time sorting seems longer. Also, if I don’t have time to put the silverware away, I simply take out the whole silverware hlder from the dishwasher & put it on the counter. For breakfast we can just take the silverware from there and put it away when we come home later.

    I am a sort as you put-it-in person. I never was before; it has just sort of evolved.

  9. Mary Crabtree says

    Dear Jill and Tawra,
    Great advice (as always)! Since you both seem like family, you are much on my heart right now. Just wanted to let you all know that I am praying for you during this move, for safety and health, and also praying that Tawra will be surrounded by wonderful new friends in her new neighborhood! God bless each of you in this time of great transition. Mary

  10. Susan says

    We have two types of ‘silverwear’, somewhat better stainless steal that we got at a huge discount and plastic/metal that they were practically giving away from IKEA. We do not seperate any of this stuff when putting it in the dishwasher. We do seperate the stainless in a drawer but… our quickest solution, particularly with families with kiddies, is to have a cute bucket and just shove the plastic IKEA stuff into it. That way when young friends are over, or there is a birthday or even everyday, even the youngest of children can pick it out of the dish washer basket and put it away. I have a cute rooster one that we leave out all the time.

  11. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    People in Washington normally REACT just like everyone else does. Thinking is hard work, otherwise everyone would do it.

    If they had thought they wouldn’t have yelled at someone helping them or put silverware in the dishwasher in a manner that contributed to spooning and additional washing.

  12. Cindy says

    Since it’s just my husband and me at home these days, I keep most of the silverware in a clay pot (painted to match the walls) on the kitchen counter. It’s easy to grab whatever we need and easy to empty the dishwasher. A pot can be decorated however you like.

    • says

      Cindy I have always thought that putting the silverware in a pot is such a good and practical idea. I have had for years an antique tray with a handle on it. It is divided in sections and was to put the silverware in. They would dry it at the sink and put in the tray then grab it by it’s handle and set it on the table or where ever they needed it for the next meal. I thought what a handy thing and clever idea.

  13. Dolores Andrews says

    I have three kinds of flatware stainless steel,silver plate,and sterling silver.I agree that spoons nest together and do not come out clean but one very important to know is if silver plate or sterling silver touch the stainless steel the chemicals in the soap cause a dark stain on the silver and it needs to be polished. When I have guests helping I just but a plastic bowl in the sink filled with water and ask them to put the spoons ,forks and knives in there to soak. My daughter is the only one who remembers this but my Grand children would have to check their smart phones or text to even know whaat day it was.

  14. Teresa says

    Hi I have also found that my silverware gets cleaner when I mix the types together in the dishwasher. The spoons, esp. nest tgether, and often have to be washed, again, when put all together. I also refused to put the knives upsidedown, for a long time, but now put them blade up, because, so many times, they didn’t get clean.

  15. Paul Hill says

    hi i like the fact that you use your common sense. thanks for all of your advice i go through your pages of living on a dime and find i m already doing many things but pick up a few things now an then. thanks again, keep it up.

  16. Mary Jane says

    This story makes me laugh. Sometimes our way of doing things is a tried and true method, some times it is just about having control. Thinking just opens us up to possibly learning something new, or at least sorting out what isn’t working for us. This reminds me of a story about my deceased grandmother on my Dad’s side. She had such a clean house, that she valued her house and it’s condition over the well being and comfort of the people who were living or visiting there.(REAL control issues at work) When my brother and his wife visited her years ago, after travelling along way over many days to see her, my sister-in-law asked Gramma if she could use her facilities to do a few loads of laundry. Long story short, Gramma had a melt down when she came into the laundry area in time to see the wash machine being loaded with a load of soiled clothes. Her words? “You have to wash that underwear by hand first. There is no way you are putting your filthy underpants in my brand new washing machine!!” Hysterical. Gramma has been gone for many years, but she still makes us laugh.

  17. Deb says

    My dishwasher came with a frame fitting over the silverware basket which has slots for individual pieces. This makes it easy to sort without anything touching, and I have a routine that separates knives from forks, spoons, serving utensils, and measuring spoons as I put them in throughout the day. It makes it so much easier when putting everything away – I can just grab all the knives and put them in one section of my Oxo utensil holder, then the forks, spoons, etc. All the measuring spoons go in a 1 cup glass measure right on my counter so they’re easy to grab as I work. I tried taking the frame off the basket only once, and putting things away was such a nuisance I put it back on before the next load.

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