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How Long Does a Dishwasher Cycle Take? Ultimate Guide

how long does a dishwasher cycle takeYour day should not end with you wearing PVC gloves on the kitchen sink and scrubbing your pots and plates. Instead, you should relax in a bathtub or watch your favorite show. Thankfully, some machines help you achieve this dream. A dishwasher is a helpful appliance because it removes the need for elbow grease to keep your cutlery shiny and plates sparkling.

If you are new to the dishwasher, you are probably wondering, how long does a dishwasher cycle take? What affects the time the dishwasher takes to complete a cycle? How can you lower the runtime while still enjoying spotless cleaning?

On average, a dishwasher cycle takes about 1.5 – 4 hours to end. However, this is dependent on many factors. If you are curious, we have some answers.

How Does a  Dishwasher Work?

To understand the cycle time of a dishwasher and how it can affect you or how you can improve its efficiency, you should understand how a dishwasher works.

A common misconception is that dishwashers fill up with water. That is not particularly the mystery behind the closed doors of a dishwasher. So, let us correct that misconception.

After switching on the dishwasher and loading with your plates, cups, and pots, you close the door and hear water flowing into the machine.

Water pools in a basin at the bottom of the dishwasher. The water is then sprayed onto the dishes using rotating arms in the washer for a pre-wash. Also, an internal heater raises the temperature of the water to match the select settings.

The machine releases detergent onto the hot water before spraying the mixture on the utensils with the rotating arms. Next, dirty water drains and freshwater rinse the utensils. The residual heat in the dishwasher then dries the utensils before they are ready to take out.

What are the Different Cycles in a Dishwasher?

Depending on the model, you may be enjoying more or fewer cycles. These cycles differ in terms of time, temperature, and type of utensil you are handling. A basic dishwasher will have at least 3 cycles, while some modern ones have up to 8 cycles.

These cycles include:

  1. Normal cycle– Used to wash and dry everyday utensils without heavy soils. This cycle can handle an everyday leftover mess without extra heat, water, or time. On average, the normal cycle takes 2.5 – 3 hours to finish.
  2. Quick wash cycle– If you ever heard of a 1-hour wash, this was it. The quick wash cycle cleans and dries utensils in 1.5 – 1.75 hours. The cycle uses more water, heat, and energy to deliver results faster. If you have lightly soiled plates and bowls you need to clean in a hurry, this is the cycle of choice.
  3. A sensor cycle– In this cycle, you let the dishwasher choose the most appropriate time and temperature to run the dishwasher. These two depend on the soil level and load size and only use the water and energy needed. A standard sensor cycle runs for 2.5 – 3.5 hours and is perfect for dishes with varying levels of soil or a mixed load.
  4. Heavy cycle– If you have heavy-duty pans and pots, they would need more water, higher temperatures, and longer cycles to clean. The heavy cycle takes between 2.75- 4.25 hours to finish and is best suited for grimy tableware, heavily soiled plots and plans, and casserole dishes.
  5. A Pre-wash cycle– This is a soak and clean cycle. If you have pots and plates with dried foods or which you used to bake, the pre-wash cycle will help you save time and energy. To complete a pre-wash cycle, including the wash and heated drying cycle, it takes an average of 6-8 hours.
  6. Sanitize cycle– some dishwashers come with a Sani- Rinse of sanitizing cycle. The dishwasher raises the temperature enough to kill germs on the dishes and glassware.
  7. High-temp cycle– if you have utensils with baked-on foods or too much grease, a high temp cycle can help you improve the washing and drying performance.
  8. A delicate cycle– this is the cycle you use when cleaning glass or other fragile cutlery. The reduced temperature prevents the utensils from cracking, while the low water pressure prevents them from being knocked over.

Why is My Dishwasher Taking Ages to Finish?

Using a new dishwasher may be challenging at first, but you soon get used to it. However, if you are struggling the first few times, you are probably running your dishwasher longer than necessary.

Here are a few things that could make your dishwasher take ages to complete a cycle:

How Long Should a Dishwasher Take to Complete a Cycle?

From the different cycles, you can already tell that different settings will have different cycle times. On average, your dishwasher should run for 1.5 to 4 hours. However, this time will depend on how dirty your plates are, how long the dishwasher takes to heat water between cycle phases, and the sensor readings.

What Can You Do to Help Your Dishwasher Run Efficiently?

If you have concerns with the time your dishwasher takes to complete a cycle, there is something you can do to help the machine run more efficiently. Some of these techniques include:

Final Thoughts

Your dishwasher could take you an hour or eight to complete a cycle. However, you can always do something to reduce this time and save water and energy. However, the dishwashers are greatly water-efficient. Longer cycle times may indicate more water. So, if you want a new dishwasher, choose the right size, select the proper cycles and enjoy the luxury of a chill evening while your machine cleans your utensils.

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