Solving the big issues: Cutlery placement

Last week my post on correct bed making procedure opened up a plethora of comments and discussion on important house keeping matters. Who knew people felt so passionate about the mundane in our day to day lives? It pleased me no end for the mundane, and especially the household mundane, is a passion of mine.

Today I am opening up an age oldΒ argument discussion between Rob and myself, and that’s the placement of the cutlery in the dishwasher.

Riveting I know.

I am of the School that cutlery should be placed fork, blade, spoon UP. So that the bits that are dirty are up and out and cleaned in the best possible way.

Rob is of the belief that they should be downwards. So that when they are cleaned they can be pulled out by the handle rather than getting your mits over the clean, exposed eating areas. I say whatever. I’m right.

All I know is that the chances of the cleanest cutlery utensil will be achieved using my method. I stand by the stand up method. I will teach my children this method. This is the correct way to do things.

But I am happy to hear your thoughts. Down or up?


  1. Everything points up EXCEPT sharp knives. Learned that one from (repeated) experience.

    Also, gotta side with ur neighbour: no dish cloths are used to wipe the floor at our house. BUT I don’t clean my floors nearly as often as you.

    However my dirty tea towels hang out with dirty undies all the time. Never even thought about that one!

  2. I’m definately an ‘up’ girl but he does have a valid point about pulling them out hmmmm, But even still, us women are always right.

  3. Damn Kylie beat me to it but I was about to say the ame. I read in the news about a child being impaled on a sharp knife in a dishwasher cutlery holder when the door was open and lower drawer pulled put & they fell on it. Sharp knives always DOWN now! The rest: up πŸ™‚

  4. We used to have this argument as well, I’m an up, he’s a down- you can fall on the dishwasher and stab yourself, it happened, it was on Oprah apparently. I don’t know why he was watching Oprah, whatevs.
    But now we have a Bosch that has a cutlery draw up the top where you lay them into slots. So rather than having the up/down argument we have the “all the same together vs random so they clean better” but he rarely stacks the dishwasher these days so I get my way! I’d prefer he did it though (and did it my way :P)

    • LOL!

      How unlucky would you be if you fell over your dishwasher & landed on your cutlery section.

      I shouldn’t laugh, but because I’m a nurse, I giggled at the prospective emergency department presentation.

      Thankyou for the really inappropriate giggle πŸ™‚

    • Having the dish drawers it would take a seriously unfortunate accident to fall into the drawer, but if it was on Oprah IT HAPPENED!

    • I think the scary thing is my husband watched Oprah to have seen it!

    • It happened to me. Open dishwasher, arms full of towels, BUTTER knife, lots of blood, emergency dept dash, a tetanus shot, lots of stitches and now one yuk scar on my thigh. I was always an up girl before that, but learned my lesson.
      Put everything down, not just the sharp knives!! I still think it looks wrong but it still gets cleaned!

  5. Up. nuff said.

  6. Up. I am not an animal.

    mind you we have a cutlery drawer, so sideways here

  7. Yup up, for sure. Except the sharp knives. Loved the podcast… too funny… looking forward to the next one!

  8. The biggest dishwasher-cutlery argument my husb and I have is over my insistence that all the knives go in one slot together (or two if there’s a lot), all the forks in another, all the tea spoons, all the dessert spoons etc etc. Makes it so much easier to unstack. But someone just can’t remember to stick to my rule.
    PS – I’m with Kylie and Anonymous everything faces up except the knives!

    • Anonymous says

      But don’t they all stack in the holder and not get clean? My MIL did this and the spoons would still have gunk between them after washing.

    • My little sister informed me this morning that she and her husband do this too! WEIRDO’S. I also think the spoon cluster issue is a valid one. SO MUCH MORE TO UNCOVER!

  9. My 2 cents?


    And then you pull the tray out & grab the lower section πŸ™‚

    I’m a mundane kinda girl too πŸ˜‰

  10. I would side with Rob on this one. All cutlery down – I don’t like the idea of touching ‘the food’ side once they are clean. Another question, how do you order cutlery in the draw? I do from left to right, knife, fork, dessert spoon, soup spoon – I find it weird seeing others cutlery draws not in that order!

  11. I thought this post was going to be about setting the table, I was all fired up…
    And food end up…

  12. Definitely up, though now we have one of those fancy schmancy ones with a cutlery tray at the top in which all the knives and forks lie down! It’s nice.

  13. Up! Sharp knives down please…I almost lost a finger stacking the dishwasher once (slight exaggeration, but it did bleed…lots). Now I don’t even have a dishwasher (tears), so actually I don’t care how you stack your dishwasher! Jealous much..

  14. Never food end down. Otherwise the fork tines slip through the little holes and get stuck. Annoying.

  15. I’m worse than mundane….I read manuals and all sets of instructions before use. I’m pretty sure that if you read the dishwasher manual it actually says up….or am I remembering that the way I want to be right in my house too?

  16. ps – i hand wash my all sharp knives, sad but true.

  17. My husband and I have the exact same discussion! Cutlery up, I’m with you all the way in this one. Though his argument runs more along the lines it needs to go down so you don’t stab yourself with the knives or forks taking them out. Seeing as I unstack the dishwasher most of the time, I fail to see why he’s concerned about getting himself stabbed by the cutlery πŸ˜‰

  18. How about….. we don’t have a dishwasher so the argument is null and void?????? We have a worm farm septic system and I still don’t trust any of the greenie claims on the soap powders so we don’t have one. Can’t afford to kill my little worms. πŸ™‚

  19. I have always placed them down πŸ™‚

  20. I have always placed them down πŸ™‚

  21. lol…I love arguing over this type of bulls^%$ with my husband. I think they should be pointing down so when my children unpack the dishwasher, they don’t get stabbed by knives or forks…but that’s just me, my husband thinks they don’t get clean enough when their heads are shoved at the bottom….lol…so glad your having these very serious issues also :-)))

  22. As I’m living in a shed until our house is finished (hurry up 2 months) I don’t have a dishwasher. Of course when I do get one, I’ll agree with you.

  23. I’m with you… Definitely up.
    I used to put them down, as I thought the same as Rob but I have since proven that they just don’t clean as well if they are down.
    Love these discussions!

  24. Up, that’s the only answer. Except for the sharpies. And if so inclined in groups of the same.
    Silly men folk, thank god us women rule the world,

  25. Lisa Laird says

    Everything up except sharp knives – and Rob can wash his hands before unloading – problem solved, cutlery clean.

  26. I’d prefer that everyone puts it UP but to be honest I’m just happy if they put anything in the bloody dishwasher!!!

  27. Up. I just wash sharp knives separately. I think they wash better facing up.

  28. yes knives down, they are dangerous and little hands are always a-playing in the dishwasher. Like Anonymous said a little child got impaled in the dishwasher with a knife that was facing up- horrific!
    I get lazy sometimes and put the others down (forks, spoons) cause its easier and i am holding the handles. But I think what Rob says about handling clean cutlery by the handle seems very plausible.

  29. The only way is UP.
    (Well, when I load the dishwasher anyway. And now I am not going to be able to get that song out of my head…)

  30. I put all cutlery food end up and sharp knives go in the section next to where the cups go so that there is no chance of sliced fingers! But I am with Pollyemj, all cutlery sorts of the like have to go into the same sections! It makes for easy unpacking and saves me precious moments of time! But, how often do you think this actually happens? I dont know how many times I have “politely reminded” anthony…..

  31. It looks like it’s case closed on this issue, sorry Rob -everything but the sharp knives are up, up, up! And they’re cleaned perfectly.

    I have a friend who puts all knives in one section and all spoons in another, etc etc but that’s just too much fart-arsing around for me – I don’t have that much time in the day!

    I’ve got another question for your list of big issues: Should you hang your freshly washed clothes inside out or right side in?

    BIG issues, Beth. HUGE. :)))

  32. Up my dear except for the sharp knives! I get so cranky with my hubby when they are the WRONG way ie down!

    …also knickers in with the tea towels ; )

  33. Anonymous says

    Everything up except sharp knives.. my husband is a bandit for putting forks in with prongs down, you go to pull open the dish rack and BAM freaking thing jams due to prongs of fork sticking out, does my head in.. I would rather he leaves the dishes on the bench so i can stack it the CORRECT way !

  34. Lordy, I’ve never thought of this one before. In my dishwasher, it’s however they stack when I’m randomly throwing them in trying to get the damn dishes over and done with as quickly as possible.

    Then again, I’m also a non-rinser, so what do you expect from me? πŸ˜›

  35. Ok, so I always thought up. Then I was watching The Martha Stewart Show (don’t ask!) and Martha herself said if you put some up and some down, then you will be able to fit more without compromising on cleanliness. Turns out she was right and that’s how I’ve been rolling ever since! I ain’t gonna argue with Martha πŸ˜‰

  36. Could be an ‘urban myth’ but my cousin told me her friend tripped and fell on her open dishwasher…carnage especially with all the utensils up.

    My face down!

  37. I’m of the stack like with like school (knives together, spoons together etc). Cause it’s much easier to unpack. Harder to train hubby on that one though.

    With spoons, teapoons and forks – some go up and some go down so there is no cluster/gunk issue. More fit in and there are no grotty surprises.

    Sharp knives never go in the dishwasher – it blunts them. So I guess we are safe from random impalings round these parts.

    Loving your housework rules dilemmas posts! I also get off on this – I think it’s about figuring out how to do things you have to in a quicker/better way.

  38. A girl after my own heart I love this kind of stuff.
    Up all the way, it’s the ONLY way they get cleaned properly. I do wash my sharp knives separetely too, only since I lost a couple of good knives while the dish washer was running on bore water, but previously they did face down.

  39. Team Beth. Cutlery UP.

  40. Always UP. Who taught Rob?!

  41. Knives are put down but all else SHOULD be up. BUT considering I have four kids and a husband who have NFI in following my rules, I’ll take the dishwasher being loaded correctly or incorrectly anytime! I am glad that there are others who are as passionate (lol) about housekeeping tips as I. I wrote a post a week or so ago about a development in my washing routine, making things a bit quicker. Nothing gets more interesting really does it???

  42. This drives me crazy too πŸ™‚ I stack the cutlery like you Beth with their ‘dirty bits up’ so they will be nice and clean πŸ™‚

  43. I’m just jealous you have a dishwasher! I would love to have that argument with Country Boy lol!

  44. Absolutely DOWN. Yes of course when they are upright they are probably cleaned more thoroughly, however it is SO dangerous to have the blades of knives sticking up in the dishwasher. I’ve always thought this, although my husband disagrees, especially since my toddler has started to hang around whilst I empty the dishwasher. Who knows what might happen?

  45. Down…my ex boyfriend actually almost lost an eye when he was little due to a run in with a fork that was up in the dishwasher tray! If and when I ever get a dishwasher it will be utensils down in my house. And I will be that annoying mother telling her son “You could poke your eye out!”

  46. Up. Definately. Then grab the utensils by the handle below the eating bits when removing. Sharp knives go blunt in dishwashers so they have no business being in there in the first place (lol).

  47. I got nothin’ lady. Don’t have a dishwasher, never have. To my way of thinking though, if you’re going to be needing to pull the utensils out of the dishwasher, I’d have them all pointing down… no germy finger tips on the end you eat off that way. But what do I know!? xo

  48. Always up except for sharp knives!

  49. similar to pick up sticks, I gather them all up and drop, whatever way they happen to land is how they get washed. The dishwasher argument is a constant in this house. Hes a rinser. Im not.

  50. I thought like you….up is the way to go…until my 7 year old tripped and fell into the open dishwasher and cut his hand badly on a upturned knife. Now its all down for me….spoons everything!

  51. Up always and care taken when emptying. Sharp knives should never go in the machine. It’s bad for the blades and blunts them very quickly. My good Global and similar brand knives are washed and dried the minute I’ve finished with them so nothing remains on the blade to pit or spoil it. Global knives sometimes get watermarks on them so I dry them well. Then they are put away out of harm’s reach.

    If hands touching the cutlery will transfer germs, what about the plates being touched? Wash your hands first.

  52. That’s what my dishwasher instruction book says – UP!
    Damn, I’ve already put my good knives in the dishwasher – I wonder if i can have them sharpened and start again???

  53. Actually, new dishwasher has a tray at the top where all the cutlery lays (lies?) down – I thought I’d love it, but I don’t, not sure why……

  54. I can never decide, but I do believe firmly that cutlery should be segregated in categories in the dishwasher. *s*

  55. I’m with you.

  56. The sharp knives go down, everything goes down, for ease of emptying.
    Being able to grab them by handles and pop them straight into the draw is simpler. this way also prevents finger print smudges getting on the tops of the cutlery. I understand the maximum cleanliness issue. But if you’ve got a good quality dishwasher, facing them down makes no difference.

    Im sure Rob would appreciate this one!

  57. The sharp knives go down, everything goes down, for ease of emptying.
    Being able to grab them by handles and pop them straight into the draw is simpler. this way also prevents finger print smudges getting on the tops of the cutlery. I understand the maximum cleanliness issue. But if you’ve got a good quality dishwasher, facing them down makes no difference.

    Im sure Rob would appreciate this one!

  58. The sharp knives go down, everything goes down, for ease of emptying.
    Being able to grab them by handles and pop them straight into the draw is simpler. this way also prevents finger print smudges getting on the tops of the cutlery. I understand the maximum cleanliness issue. But if you’ve got a good quality dishwasher, facing them down makes no difference.

    Im sure Rob would appreciate this one!

  59. The sharp knives go down, everything goes down, for ease of emptying.
    Being able to grab them by handles and pop them straight into the draw is simpler. this way also prevents finger print smudges getting on the tops of the cutlery. I understand the maximum cleanliness issue. But if you’ve got a good quality dishwasher, facing them down makes no difference.

    Im sure Rob would appreciate this one!

  60. This is a constant bone of contention in my daughters household… the power play over the dishwasher with much shuffling & re shuffling going on until the buttons finally pushed. I have been informed that if I neglect to leave my dishwasher (with glide out cutlery drawer) to her in my will that I can forget about cremation… she will throw my saggy, wrinkly arse on the BBQ!

    I knew there would be consequences for weaning her too early!!

  61. manofsoundmind says

    Only a person with Downs syndrome would advocate the placement of “sharp” knives blade up. It is an unnecessary safety risk. If you are THAT concerned with getting the knives clean, wash them by hand. Seriously, especially for a parent with small children, if you place your sharp knives blade up, you are putting them and yourself in danger. I suppose you let your children ride around in the car without child seats or seat belts? Ridiculous.

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