The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Washing Dishes

Adult and child washing dishes

Dishwashing is necessary to keep a kitchen clean and plates and silverware safe to use. While some pans and platters need to be washed by hand, the automatic dishwasher has made it much easier to complete this task. Whether it’s time to wash a sink full of dishes or just a few items, our fact sheet and expert advice will help you get the job done.

You will want to use a dishwashing detergent with effective cleaning performance regardless of the brand that you choose. Also learn about safety and ingredient information, directions for use and disposal.

Open dishwasher full of dishes
Using the Dishwasher

Automatic dishwashers represent a tremendous saving in time and effort; they minimize breakage through reduced handling of dishes, help keep the kitchen neater and simplify cleanup after entertaining.

Woman washing dishes in the sink
Washing Dishes by Hand

Find out how to clean off the most stuck-on food and get your dishes, utensils, pots and pans clean.


Be sure to follow these safety tips to keep your dishes clean and your family healthy.

About Dishwashing Products and Dish Soap

Automatic dishwasher detergents provide the chemical energy to help remove food soil from all types of cooking and serving items. Unlike hand dishwashing products, these must be very low to nonsudsing. Suds cushion the mechanical cleaning action of the water and result in suds overflow from the machine. In addition, automatic dishwasher detergents should inhibit foam that certain protein-containing foods, such as egg and milk, create. They must also soften water to prevent insoluble deposits, loosen and hold soil in suspension, leave items clean and grease-free so they rinse and dry without spots, and be safe for a wide variety of dishes, glassware, utensils, etc.