I'm a working dad, and as a working dad, I'm not home a lot of the time, and don't really do the dishes all that often. I chip in after dinner practically every night, though, so don't you ever believe that I don't help.
However, when it comes to loading the dishwasher, I've found that unless I personally do it things don't get very clean. I have my own "loading pattern", which has worked well for me for decades, but which my wife and children don't seem to understand. It is, in fact, a pet peeve of mine that they don't load the dishwasher very well.
So it is with great joy (okay, I'm easily pleased) that I see some of my technique echoed in an article (see the full article) that outlines some of my suggestions for how to properly load the dishwasher. The article states:
1. Load large items at the sides and back of the dishwasher, so that they don't block water and detergent from reaching other dishes.
2. Place the dirtier side of dishes toward the center of the machine to provide more exposure to the spray. Don’t let dishes or utensils nest, or rest side by side, which can prevent water from reaching all surfaces.
3. Use the top rack for plastic and delicate items that are dishwasher safe.
4. Rest glassware on prongs to prevent breakage. And to prevent chipping, make sure that china, crystal, and stemware don’t touch other items. Don’t machine-wash brass, bronze, cast iron, disposable plastics, gold-colored flatware, gold-leaf china, hollow-handle knives, pewter, tin, or anything made of wood or with a wood handle.
5. Load silverware with handles down but place knives with the handles up. If your dishwasher has an open basket, mix spoons, forks, and knives to prevent them from sticking together.
6. Place items with baked-on food facedown and toward the sprayer in the bottom rack.
Now, I don't really worry too much about wooden stuff or disposable plastics, but the rest seems pretty spot-on to how I load the dishwasher. And it works! Really! You should try it ... you just might make somebody happier.