How Do Dishwashers Work? (Buyer’s Guides)

A dishwasher is a robot that cleans and rinses the dishes. People have to put the words in the dishwasher, add detergent, set the proper washing cycles, and turn it on, but the dishwasher does many other things independently. But how do dishwashers work? Let's look at how this critical appliance works and give you some tips on how to buy it.

How do dishwashers work

how do dishwashers work

Photo: canva 

Three factors about washing dishes make it so good at making them clean and shiny. Dishwashers clean your words by using detergent, washing systems, and heat:

  •  Detergent: During a cycle, a mix of cleaning agents is dispensed at the best time.

  • Wash system: Water is recirculated through spray arms to wash away food and dirt. Filters collect these soils, so they don't get put back on the load. They are then thrown away through the drain system.

  • Heat: Your dishwasher has a heating element that heats the water. This makes it easier for the detergent to break down food.


The detergent that will be used during the cycle is an important part. Detergent is a mix of chemicals that help remove food particles and residue. It also usually has water softeners, chemicals that stop corrosion, and enzymes that help the washing process work better. At the best time, the detergent will come out. Even though you should always use dishwasher detergent and never dish soap, you can choose any dishwasher detergent you want. Detergent tablets and pods generally work better than detergent powder, liquid, or gel. Check your machine's use and care guide to ensure you use the suitable detergent.

Even though it's easy to forget, a rinse aid is also essential for drying dishes and removing spots and white residue. If you've ever been annoyed by the dried water droplets that sometimes form on your glasses, you can avoid this problem using a rinse aid.

Washing system

During a wash cycle, the pump in your dishwasher will push water through the water jets. Several spray arms will move around the tub and shoot water at the dishes to remove food particles. As the food is washed away, bits of it get caught in a filter. The dirty water and soil are thrown away through the drain hose and into your garbage disposer or your home's waste system. Find out more about how your dishwasher works and what it can do. If your dishwasher has an air gap, that also keeps dirty water from returning to the machine.


Heat is something else that plays a significant role during a dishwasher cycle. The part of your dishwasher that heats the water is usually at the bottom of the tub. This heating element warms up the water, which can get as hot as 155oF, which is more desirable than the hot water from the tap. The water's high temperature breaks down the food and dissolves and activates the detergent.

The last part of a cycle is a heated dry, a step you can choose to do or not. During the wash cycle, the amount of the machine that heats the water will also heat the tub, which will cause the water on the dishes to evaporate. You can skip this step if you save energy.

Dishwasher buyer’s guide 

how do dishwashers work

Photo: canva 


There are a lot of different sizes of dishwashers. The smallest dishwashers are the ones that sit on top of a counter or sink and can clean up to six place settings. Since they sit on your counter, countertop units don't need to be put in. In-sink dishwashers usually fit in one half of a double kitchen sink and can wash a full load in about 20 minutes. A cover on the unit lets it be used as a counter when it's not being used.

A dishwasher is usually 24 inches (61 centimeters) wide. But dishwashers are also 18 inches (46 centimeters) wide and sometimes called "apartment-sized." Of course, a dishwasher can hold more dishes if it is more expensive. You might want a 30-inch (76-meter) model if you have a big family. If it's bigger than that, it's probably a commercial dishwasher.

The dish drawer, a small dishwasher about the size of a large kitchen drawer, is a more unusual option. It uses less water and energy than a full-size dishwasher and is suitable for small kitchens that need more room for a full-size unit. But models with two drawers can hold the same number of dishes as a standard dishwasher. These drawers work on their own and save water and energy. They are also great for kitchens where a dishwasher door would get in the way.

Basins and racks

Some mid-priced and all high-priced dishwashers have stainless steel basins, while some low-priced ones have plastic basins. In cheaper models, food bits get stuck in a filter that needs to be cleaned regularly by hand. Models that cost more have filters that tend themselves, and some have small grinders that break up big chunks so they can go down the drain with the dirty water.

There are many different ways to set up a dish rack. The more you pay for a dishwasher, the more flexible and adjustable it will be, with features like collapsible racks, folding tines, extra shelves, and racks that can be taken out of the machine and loaded separately. If you wash dishes that are big or oddly shaped often, you should take them to an appliance store to ensure they fit on the racks.

Extra features

Modern appliances are getting more innovative and more energy efficient all the time. Upgrades from the past are now standard on even the cheapest models. One example: Most dishwashers now feature a soil sensor that saves water by sensing how dirty your dishes are and adjusting the wash time and water amount accordingly. There are also half-load and Whirlpool cycles that keep energy.

Models that cost more money have WiFi connections that let you control your appliance from your phone. You can start your dishwasher from a distance, check how much time is left in the cycle, lock the buttons if you have young children at home, and get alerts when your rinse aid is low or there might be a leak. You can even program your dishwasher to run only when local energy consumption is low, which may save you money. Other new features include a thin third rack for large, flat items, bottle jets to clean baby and water bottles better, and frames you can move up and down.

Energy cost and usage

The consumption of water and electricity is a final concern. Each year, the U.S. government's Energy Star program compiles a list of the most energy-efficient dishwashers to help you choose the best model for the environment and your wallet.

So, how much can you anticipate paying for a contemporary dishwasher? In 2021, a dependable, functional model would cost less than $600. If you had $1,000, you could purchase a dishwasher with a third rack, a quieter machine, and a substantial food disposal. Dishwashers with every possible option, including WiFi connectivity, additional cycles, remote controls, LED lights, built-in water softeners, and water cleanliness sensors, can cost up to $2,000 or more.


How does water drain from a dishwasher?

You can connect your dishwasher's drain line to your kitchen sink drain or garbage disposal. Internal sludge accumulation within the drain hose can lead to backups and obstructions.

Do dishwashing machines recycle water?

To conserve water, all dishwashers recycle water. After being sprayed on the dishes, the water accumulates in the sink at the bottom of the dishwasher, where it is pumped back up to be used again to wash the dishes. Most large waste particles are captured by a filter, while the smaller waste particles stay floating in the water.

Do portable dishwashers work as well as built-in dishwashers?

Smaller dwellings can be cleaned more efficiently with portable dishwashers. However, the unit capacity of portable dishwashers is far less than that of built-in dishwashers, and there are evident constraints. They may be a suitable option for families who rent their house.


So, how do dishwashers work? We provided the answer and buyer's guide in this article and hoped it would be helpful for you. It's time to browse the top-ranked products.

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