How to Make the Most of Your Dishwasher (And My Passionate Love Affair with my Maytag Dishwasher)

I’ll admit it.

I applied to be a Maytag Mom for the fridge.

Ours was in her old age, unable to do the tricks she once could do (like making ice) and constantly tinkling on the kitchen floor.

What I didn’t know, though . . . was how much I would love my new dishwasher.  When she first arrived, I thought she was pretty.  She did a better job of cleaning dishes than my old one did, so I was glad to have her.

It wasn’t until I went to Michigan and visited the Maytag labs that I truly began to use her correctly and now she’s my very best (kitchen) friend.

I’ll share with you some of her best personality traits (which less sentimental, less personification-prone people might call features), and I’ll bet you will learn some things that will help you improve your own relationship with your dishwasher.

First, she has a strange configuration at the front.  I had no idea what that was for (since I rarely never look at instruction manuals), but I learned that it’s to prevent you from putting dishes where they would block the soap dispenser’s door from opening.

Whenever the door failed to open in my old dishwasher, it honestly never occurred to me that it might be my fault for blocking the door with a cookie sheet.  Now I know . . . but I don’t have to remember because my dishwasher has her special way of saving me from my own absent-mindedness.  (See?  It’s like she was made for me!)

Has your soap dispenser door ever not opened? 

Second, she provides stadium seating for my top rack of dishes.  This allows me to put two 9×13 pans (long side up) on the left side of the bottom rack, and still have some taller glasses on the right side of the top rack.  AND the top rack is adjustable so if I have lots of taller glasses, or a taller pot I can give extra space to the top or bottom rack.

Isn’t she brilliant??!!

Third, she’s energy efficient.  Now, I’d heard that modern dishwashers use significantly less water than hand-washing.  Do you know what I learned up at Maytag/Whirlpool headquarters?  My dishwasher (and most modern dishwashers) uses about THREE GALLONS of water for an entire load!

And even though I’m NOT a math person, I’m going to share some math.  (Forgive me for my dorky excitement.)

The average person uses three times the water capacity of a dish when handwashing it.  So, when I run my dishwasher every single night, and therefore have enough room to wash my big stuff like pasta pots or skillets . . . I’m saving, like . . . a BUNCH of water!

But wait . . . I’m not done.  You might remember that I’ve always hated pre-washing.  Well . . . the Dishwasher Lady at Maytag assured us that pre-washing is not necessary.  In fact, she was anti pre-RINSING.  Yep.  She said to scrape (not rinse) off the big stuff, but otherwise just stick it in.

This has shortened the time it takes to clean up the kitchen, and has also helped me chill out while the kids are the ones loading the dishwasher.

I also learned to USE all of the features on my dishwasher.  I’d always just put it on Normal.  Now, I use jet clean and tough scrub and hi temp wash and whatever other buttons I feel like pushing.

This has made a HUGE difference.  Oh, and Hubby is totally on board and often says that this dishwasher is his favorite of our new appliances.  If you remember, he was once a fanatical pre-washer, so that’s a big deal.

And a little more about the energy efficiency, it only costs around 12 cents of energy to run a load (including heated dry which makes a HUGE difference in how the dishes look).  We also use SO much less water by skipping pre-rinsing and by being confident that it will get crazy-dirty dishes clean without pre-washing them.

I don’t have any pics of three-days-crusted dishes since I’ve been rocking the kitchen clean-up lately, but here’s a dish I put in Wednesday night:


Here it is Thursday morning:

I do need to say that on the advice of the kitchen lab experts at Maytag, I have started using the more expensive dishwasher detergent.  As they said, the dishwasher does its best, but some baked on stuff requires “chemistry” to come off.

Oh.  And one note.  It takes a LONG time for the dishwasher to run a cycle.  Like, hours.  I turned mine on Wednesday night before we left for church at 6:30.  When I got back from vocal practice at 9:30, it was still going.  But . . . the lab people assured us that whatever process it uses that takes so long is the reason it’s using less energy.  I don’t understand, but I believe it.  Oh, and it’s so incredibly quiet  that I can start it right after supper and it doesn’t disturb us at all.

Obviously, I would highly recommend this dishwasher, but I think my old one (also a Maytag) would have done a much better job if I had known some of these things.

This is my last official Maytag post (though I’ll share more I learned in the future), so I’m supposed to share my overall experience with my new kitchen appliances.

I love them. 

I am extremely grateful for them.  I get a little teary-eyed sometimes when I use them.

The only con I’ve found is that stainless steel does show splatters and such  more than our old stuff, and it is more difficult to clean.  A quick wipe-down by me isn’t usually enough and a quick wipe-down by my six-year-old makes it look worse than before.  But . . .  it’s worth it to me for the overall beauty and dependability.

You can follow Maytag on Facebook and Twitter.

I wrote this post participating in a Maytag Moms Dependable Kitchen Ambassador program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Maytag. I was provided with a Maytag kitchen appliances set, including a refrigerator, vent, dishwasher, and range to facilitate my post.




  1. 1

    I have found with my stainless steel appliances that for some unknown reason that I have yet to discover….disinfectant wipes do an amazing job of cleaning off finger prints and for the tougher stuff a squirt or two of glass cleaner works well with little effort on my part. =)

  2. 2

    We bought a new Maytag a few days before Christmas, it is a lower end model than yours, but I so love it! Our old, dying machine could hardly rinse our dishes. This one does a great job and is easier to load than our old model. I too found that springing for the Cascade Complete pacs made a HUGE difference and now I won’t look back!

  3. 4

    So out of curiosity, what model is this Maytag dishwasher that you love? Oh, and your grocery shopping post – that’s how I shop too, with a list for the odd things I don’t normally buy.

  4. 6

    What model did you get? What better quality soap do you use?

    Your pot before and after is very impressive. My mom always insists that you don’t need to wash dishes beforehand – but I have a crappy low-end dishwasher and trying that resulted in a horrible mess of baked on stuff I had to chip off with fingernails, so I’m leery…

    • 7

      It’s a Jetclean Plus Dishwasher with Fully Integrated Controls. I’m currently using finish all in one tabs, but they just recommended any of the all-in-ones. At Maytag, they wouldn’t name a specific brand of detergent, but the lady in the lab did say that since the government made them change dishwashing detergent formulas a few years ago, the manufacturers have been putting their effort into the all-in-one packs/tabs.

  5. 8

    We bought a Maytag in December last year too!

    I have always prewashed…and it annoys me to have to do so. Do you use a special dishwashing soap to avoid that?

    • 9

      I’d give the tough scrub and heated wash features a shot. Also, they wouldn’t name a specific brand of detergent, but the lady in the lab did say that since the government made them change dishwashing detergent formulas a few years ago, the manufacturers have been putting their effort into the all-in-one packs/tabs. So that’s what I got. I know Cascade and FInish both make those packs, and they both work really well.

  6. 11

    HELLO…genius. I never thought that maybe my soap dispenser was actually being blocked from opening by dishes. Duh, Laura.

    Now that I’m running my dishwasher (almost) every day (I’m on Day 19 of 28 Days to Hope for Your Home), I’ve gotten in the habit of checking it while it’s running the cycle to see if the door has opened and then just manually opened it if it wasn’t. Argh.

  7. 13

    Nony, Thanks for this informative post. I had a Maytag dishwasher in my old home and loved it. In my current home I have a dw that’s slowly on its way out. The door kind of flops open, the racks are falling apart, and these days she only cleans well when she feels up to the task. One other thing….the detergent dispenser door is broken off. Which brings me to this question. Because of the broken soap dspenser I’ve been using the short washing cycle, since I was totally assuming I’d lose all the soap with the initial rinse cycle. Now, since reading this post, I’m wondering if I’m wrong about that. Do you know, from your trip to the Maytag lab, if the rinse water is reused for the washing cycle? I could probably experiment and figure this out, but decided to go straight to the expert! Thanks. And… serious dw envy gong on here!

    • 14

      Hmmm. I don’t know. It might be worth searching online for a replacement part. I’ll email this question to Maytag and see what they say.

      • 15

        Thanks. And happy birthday! I’m enjoying your blog. That slob-brain thing relates to me more than I like to admit!

  8. 16


    Love the blog and although I dont have a Maytag I love my dishwasher and all its features.
    Tip on cleaning any stainless steel appliances – a small dot of dishwashing soap (washing up liquid to the Europeans out there) on a kitchen towel – it works wonders to get rid of markes and doesn’t steak.

  9. 18
    Andrea Winbigler says:

    I had a Sears repair guy out 2 years ago for my dishwasher. He told me not to use those packs, and only use 1 tsp of powder detergent. Otherwise it is too much and builds up in the machine over time. He also said rinse well and only use the fast wash setting. Otherwise you are shortening the life of the machine. I sad, but the mfg. says the opposite. His response was of course because they want you to have to buy a new machine sooner. My dishes and machine have been cleaner since I took his advice.

    • 19
      Jeanine says:

      I cut the Finish all-in-one tablets in half with a sharp knife. (Can’t do this will the gel packs though) I’ve found that half a tablet works just fine.

  10. 20

    We bought a new Maytag dishwasher a little over a year ago and it’s been leaking ever since last July. Still in warranty and Maytag has sent several repair people out, but no fix. How long til they just replace it?

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