Should Silverware Go Up or Down in the Dishwasher

When it comes to loading the dishwasher, one of the perennial debates is whether silverware should go up or down. Everyone seems to have their own preference and reasoning behind it. In this article, we’ll delve into this common household dilemma and explore the arguments for both sides. By the end, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to make an informed decision about the best way to arrange your silverware in the dishwasher.

The Upward Argument

1. Preventing Residue Accumulation

Silverware aficionados who argue for placing silverware facing upwards claim that it prevents food particles and residues from getting trapped in the utensils. This way, they contend, the water jets can effectively remove debris from the surfaces, leading to cleaner results.

2. Safety Concerns

Another rationale for placing silverware with the handles up is safety. Proponents of this approach highlight that it reduces the risk of accidents. This is especially important for households with young children, as it minimizes the chance of someone accidentally touching the sharp ends of knives and forks.

The Downward Argument

1. Ensuring Thorough Cleaning

On the flip side, those who advocate for placing silverware downward assert that it allows water to reach and clean the parts of utensils that might not be reached if they were facing up. They argue that the water pressure and jets are better utilized when the silverware is placed in this manner.

2. Convenience While Unloading

Supporters of placing silverware downward point out the convenience of unloading. With the handles facing out, you can easily grab and organize utensils in their respective compartments without having to touch the eating surfaces. This can save time and maintain hygiene.

Considerations for Silverware Material

1. Stainless Steel

When dealing with stainless steel silverware, both placement options are generally acceptable. Stainless steel is resilient and can withstand the water pressure and detergents commonly used in dishwashers. Therefore, your choice can depend on your personal preferences.

2. Sterling Silver or Fine Silver

For sterling silver or fine silver utensils, the consensus leans towards placing them downward. Sterling silver can be more delicate and prone to tarnishing when exposed to detergents and heat. Placing them facing down helps protect their luster and longevity.


In the great debate of whether silverware should go up or down in the dishwasher, there isn’t a definitive right or wrong answer. Both methods have their merits and considerations. Ultimately, the decision should take into account factors like the type of silverware, convenience, safety, and personal preference.


Is it safe to put sharp knives facing upward in the dishwasher?

It’s generally safer to place sharp knives facing downward to avoid accidental cuts while loading or unloading the dishwasher.

Can I mix stainless steel and sterling silver in the dishwasher?

It’s best to separate these two types of silverware to prevent any potential interaction between metals.

Does the dishwasher heat damage silverware?

Dishwashers use high heat during drying cycles, which can affect the appearance of sterling silver over time. Placing them downward can help mitigate this.

Are there any shortcuts to ensure silverware comes out spotless?

Pre-rinsing heavily soiled silverware can improve the cleaning results regardless of how they’re placed in the dishwasher.

What’s the best way to avoid water spots on silverware?

Using a rinse aid can help prevent water spots and ensure your silverware comes out looking shiny and clean.

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