INDIANAPOLIS - When catering to a crowd, it's important to avoid overloading your household appliances, especially your dishwasher.
Chris Sublett with Vogel Appliance Service had a few tips to pass on to homeowners.
"If you have hard water, the only thing you should be using (in your dishwasher) is a powder," Sublett said. "You should remove any food particles that are the size of a nickel. Other than that, you can stick dishes right in the dishwasher.
Although in most cases, it's how you place the dishes in the dishwasher that's important.
"If your dishwasher is one with one spray arm, you should only stack vertical dishes on bottom rack. No bowls, glasses on the bottom rack, leave those for the top rack," Sublett said.
Even though your dishwasher cleans your dishes, it's also important to clean the machine itself.
"When you open your dishwasher and you see any white film built up on the inside of the dishwasher, that means you need to have your dishwasher cleaned. You can do that yourself. There are several different products you can buy at the grocery store," Sublett said.
Angie's List founder Angie Hicks said that many homeowners don't notice a dirty dishwasher.
"Many people may not realize the kind of build-up you can get from the hard water in your dishwasher and that it needs to be cleaned to make sure your dishwasher operates properly," Hicks said.
Dishwashers can last up to 13 years, however if yours is seven years or older, repairs can cost more than half of what you'd pay for a new appliance.