Most dishwasher users load their machines every night without thinking too much about how the cycle works. We simply get up in the morning and our dishes are sparkling clean and ready to put away. But, there is a lot more to the process than simply pressing a start button. A modern dishwasher has a number of useful cycles that can save time and energy and even extend the expected lifespan of your appliance. In this article, we will take a closer look at how dishwasher cycles work.
A Brief Primer
The dishwasher is programmed to operate for a certain period of time to make the best use of the water and break down the grime on dishes. The water flows into the appliance and agitates the food debris that’s left behind on the surfaces of your dishes and cookware. The process begins when the discharge pump empties the remaining water into the appliance and then hot water is introduced. This fills a reservoir at the base of the dishwater and energy is expended to heat the water. The exact temperature used will be determined by the cycle that you choose. You want to select a dishwasher cycle that’s effective and yet you want to use the least amount of energy to save money. This is a delicate balancing act and the situation is exacerbated because different makes and models of dishwashers will not perform in the exact same way. So, when you want to get the best performance and maintain energy efficiency it’s a good idea to consult the owner’s manual for your appliance.
8 Common Dishwasher Cycles Explained
Let’s take a look at eight common dishwasher cycles and how they can affect cleaning performance and efficiency.
- Normal: This is the cycle that most people would select for everyday general cleaning and drying tasks. During this cycle, your dishes would be treated as if they are not heavily soiled and no intense heat or extended running time is required. Most modern dishwashers will have a normal cycle length of around 90 minutes,
- Quick Wash: As the name implies, this is a faster cycle for lightly used dishes and cookware. A large burst of heated water is used to clean the dishes in a fast and very effective manner. The typical length of a quick wash cycle is 30 minutes up to an hour.
- Sensor Wash: This is a cycle that sets the wash and dry settings automatically for the wash load for the soil level, load size, and temperature. The exact volume of water used and the energy expended is matched to the requirements. This is a useful cycle to use if you’re washing items that have varying degrees of soiling and you’re not sure which cycle you need to use.
- Heavy: This is the cycle that you need for heavier soiled pots and pans. During this cycle, extra bursts of hot water and higher temperatures are used to deal with stuck on food debris. This is the ideal cycle for dishes, such as casserole dishes, grill pans, cooking pots and to clean away burnt messes. A typical heavy duty cycle can last anywhere up to 4 hours in length!
- Pre-Wash: This is a pretreat function that soaks the dishes to remove baked on food. This helps you to reduce your usual cleanup duties because you don’t need to presoak before loading your dishwasher. Some pre-wash cycles have a separate rinse cycle to remove food particles before they can dry on the surface.
- Delicate: This is a lower temperature cycle to wash glass, crystal, china, and other delicate items that are often washed by hand.
- High-Temperature: This is the ideal cycle to deal with greasy or burnt on food debris. The washing temperature is increased to at least 130º to improve the washing and drying performance.
- Sanitize: This cycle increases the temperature to at least 150º to sanitize the interior of the dishwasher. This can kill 99.99% of the bacteria that can buildup in the appliance from food debris. Some dishwashers even have a steam setting to make the cleaning more effective.
If you want to get access to the latest dishwasher features and improved energy efficiency take a look at our extensive range of up-to-date appliances with this online collection, or speak to one of our home appliance experts for additional help.