All About Dishwashers

Dishwashers are appliances that wash dishes, dishwasher-safe cookware, and utensils for you by spraying hot water onto the dish. It usually uses less water than washing them by hand, and it can also be quicker (unless you have to wait for the machine to fill up).  

Many dishwashers use an electric motor or gas heating element to pump filtered tap water into a spray arm that rotates around the bottom of the tub. At the beginning of each cleaning cycle, a small amount of detergent (about 1 tablespoon per wash load) dispenses from a dishwashing liquid dispenser. Many models use an air dryer to help dishware dry. Some use a heating element right above the sprayer arm to heat up the tub and dishes, allowing items to dry faster.

What materials can I put in?

Any dishwasher-safe material can be washed in a dishwasher with one exception: wood utensils. Dishwasher detergents are acidic and, over time, may cause wood utensils to leach chemicals into your food. Glasses, dishes, plastic ware such as forks, spoons, knives (no serrated edges), pots and pans, etc. All those should be fine in the dishwasher. Ensure there is no leftover food or grease on the dish or dishware before putting it in your dishwasher.

How do dishwashers work?

Most dishwashers have a timer that will control the dishwashing cycle. After the water has been pumped into the dishwasher tub and dishwashing detergent has been added, you will usually have to wait 30-90 seconds for the dishwasher to start washing. The dishes and dishwashers inside a machine fill with soapy water and then get sprayed with hot water from below, either by spraying arms within the tub (traditional top-down sprayer) or from jets attached to the bottom of each rack (hydro flow).

During this time, pre-rinsing is not necessary because there will be enough detergent left on them to provide dishwashing action. A dishwasher will then drain the dirty water and pump clean rinse water through the sprayers or jets in a process known as “transitioning.” Finally, dishwashers will either dry using forced hot air or with little or no heat.

You should always check the manual for your specific model, so you know how to properly operate it.


There are many benefits. It can save you time, money, water, dishwashing soap, and energy. It also reduces the energy used on dishwashing by hand because dishwashers use around 50% less energy than dishwashing by hand. A dishwasher will allow you to have more control over your dishwashing schedule and save dishwashing time with dish rotations for dishwasher loading.