When it comes to washing large pots, pans and cookie sheets, nothing beats a thorough cleaning through the dishwasher. Larger items cannot fit when the top rack is in place, but it is possible to remove a dishwasher's upper rack and make room. The upper rack is connected with a track that allows you to pull out for easy loading. Though each brand is different, the upper rack can be safely removed from its track to allow an open space to fit all your pots and pans.
Locate the Rack Tracks
Open up your dishwasher door, and pull the top rack all the way toward you until it comes to a stop. The rack tracks are able to slide thanks to two sets of wheeled assemblies that glide the tracks. Some models may boast an easy lifting motion to remove the top rack, but most are locked into the wheeled tracks.
It’s a Snap
At the end of each upper rack track is a plastic end cap. On newer models, these plastic end caps can snap off or to the side to remove the upper rack from the track rails. This is as easy as gently pressing or squeezing the indicated tab on each plastic end cap and guiding the rack out. On older models, the plastic end cap can be removed by inserting a screwdriver behind the bottom peg located on the back side of the plastic cap. Gently push the screwdriver toward the wall of the dishwasher, and turn the cap inward. The cap should come off. Do not force it because the cap can break and may not be easily replaced depending on the age of the model.
Like the name implies, track stops prevent the rack from sliding out of the tracks. They click into place when the rack is completely pulled out. These are small plastic stops are located toward the back of the appliance. If your model has this kind of rack, the wheels will come out with the rack when removing. The track stops have a cover that will flip back to open. After opening both track stops on either side of the rack, pull the rack forward so that the front wheels slide out of the tracks. Gently pull until the back wheels are visible. Pull the back wheels up and out to remove.
It's possible that your top rack may not be removable. The dishwasher model may require a technician to move height adjustable upper racks, or the model may not accommodate rack removal. Older models, some prior to the 1990s, may not have a way to remove the rack without damaging the appliance. Always check your owner's manual for instructions. If you do not have one, find the model number and brand of your dishwasher. A quick internet search may provide you with an online version of your owner's manual.