My dishes have irked me for years because they don’t fit in my dishwasher. After researching a solution, the most popular response to my problem was to get a new dishwasher. Really?
The second solution was to load the dishwasher properly. Of course, I know how to pack my dishwasher. Thinking that I would find supporting evidence of my expertise, I went back to Google and found; How to load a dishwasher and You’re doing it wrong; how to load your dishwasher. Low and behold, there were a few helpful suggestions;
- Move the upper rack to fit the need.
- Space dishes properly, so they don’t touch.
- Don’t block the upper wand with spatulas and similar tools from the top rack, or by cookie sheets and tall items on the lower rack.
- Don’t cram silverware into the holes provided, if you want them clean and sanitized.
- Don’t block the soap dispenser with an odd-shaped dish.
While these revelations have improved my loading technique, I still “needed” a new set of dishes.
White dishes suit my lifestyle. They can be dressed up or down with different linens depending on the mood, season, event. Whatever your preference, make sure that the new dinnerware fits your table settings.
Determining the make and quality of dinnerware for your purpose is essential when looking for a new set. Here are some helpful definitions:
Earthenware is the most affordable choice. It’s a fired and glazed ceramic. While dishwasher and microwave safe, it isn’t as strong or as chip resistant as other options. This set is from Crate and Barrel.
Stoneware is similar to earthenware. The difference is glass has been added to the clay, making it more durable. Fiestaware is a popular example.
Porcelain is made of fine particle white clay, fired at a high temperature. The result is a light, almost transparent dish that is chip and stain-resistant. Porcelain is dishwasher and microwave safe. This set from Villeroy and Boch is charming.
Bone China is made from white clay with bone ash added for strength and translucence. It has a delicate appearance but is the most durable of these options. Bone china can be used for everyday dining. Pottery Barn has this nice everyday bone china set.
These dishes from Haviland and Parlon Syracuse are gorgeous. Dishes with metal rims or inlay do not go in the microwave.
Melamine is useful for many situations like outdoor dining and kids’ meals. Unbreakable, melamine dishes have a polished shine to them, come in a variety of colors and levels of sophistication. It is not microwaveable. We’ve written about Melamine before; Marvelous Melamine Dinnerware and Melamine Dinnerware for Outdoor Dining.
Simon Pearce makes beautiful dishes that we love. They are hand-thrown, designed for day use and entertaining. Sold by place settings and individual pieces.
ASE reader Emma A. wrote in to tell us about Rigby dishes. They are hand finished in Portugal, dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe. They come in 4 colors. Rigby also carries glassware and silverware.
When you’re ready for a new set of dishes, here are some things to consider:
- Boxed sets are more affordable than buying separate pieces. However, a collection may come with more or fewer dishes than you want. Choosing patterns sold as open stock (individual pieces) will make finding replacements and accessory pieces easy. Replacements Unlimited is a great resource for separate new and vintage china, crystal, and silver items.
- Get the dimensions of your cabinets (and dishwasher) before you start your search.
- Dishes vary in weight. Make sure that your choice works for you.
Here are care suggestions from Pottery Barn.
- Remove hard-water spots on dinnerware and glasses by soaking pieces in white vinegar for three minutes before rinsing and towel-drying.
- Remove coffee stains from mugs and fork marks from plates by rubbing a paste of baking soda and water over the area before rinsing and drying.
- Stack plates and bowls that you use frequently, but nestle fine china or chip-prone dinnerware in a padded storage case, or with felt between each piece to prevent scratching.
Having done this research, I found a set of everyday bone china that works well for my needs. They came in a box set and are also sold on open stock. The bonus of my purchase is that I didn’t have to buy a new dishwasher.
*Note – What to do with old dishes – take to Goodwill, garage sale or skeet shooting range. Don’t save them for the kids – they won’t want them either.
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