Even our testers sometimes load the dishwasher wrong
Our washing test for dishwashers is grueling, with 10 place settings slathered with egg yolks, peanut butter, raspberry jam, and other goo left to harden overnight before we run a cycle. We expect a range of results from utterly spotless dishes to those with bits of food still stuck to them. What we didn’t expect was a load of items that stayed dirty because the soap dispenser didn’t open.
But that’s what happened when we first tested the GE GDT550HSDSS, $650, one of the latest conventional dishwashers to join our dishwasher Ratings of 175 models. But it wasn’t the dishwasher’s fault. What happened can occur with any dishwasher if you neglect two everyday precautions: Loading items carefully, and sliding the racks all the way in.
In our case, all it took was the handle of a butter knife leaning at an angle to block the soap dispenser when the door was closed. Like some other dishwashers, the GE GDT550HSDS mounts the utensil basket on the front, outside of the rack rather than nestled inside, which may make it less forgiving when loaded incorrectly. The dishwasher got a do-over. Once we reloaded the machine with freshly soiled items and ran the cycle again, it was top-notch for washing although it fell a bit short of our list of top dishwasher picks.
User error can happen with almost every dishwasher with an errant pot handle or piece of silverware hampering optimum performance. So follow the loading instructions in your owner’s manual. If you’re buying a new dishwasher, check our dishwasher buying advice as well as the results of our dishwasher tests. Top-scoring models include the Kenmore Elite 12783, $1,200, and the Bosch Ascenta SHX3AR7UC, $700. Both models aced our tests although the Bosch did it 40 minutes faster.