How Long Does A Dishwasher Run?

You are looking for information about how long a dishwasher runs. Maybe you are looking for a new dishwasher and want to get the best one on the market. Perhaps your dishwasher is running for 4 hours and you are wondering if this is normal. There are different factors that determine how long a dishwasher runs. We've researched this topic to bring you a thorough review of dishwashing times.

Dishwashers run between 1 and 4 hours. Most dishwashers have a low, medium, and heavy cycle. Some dishwashers have a quick cycle that will run for just an hour. The heavy cycle takes the longest. The speed of the dishwashing cycle varies based on whether the water is hot enough, the age of the machine, the sensor, the brand, and how dirty the dishes are.

We will talk more about the dishwashing cycles and help you determine which cycle is best for you. We will also discuss the difference between brands when it comes to run time. Keep reading to learn the answers and to know how often you should run the dishwasher.

Clean dishes in dishwasher machine after washing cycle, How Long Does A Dishwasher Run?

How Long Does A Dishwasher Run?

Older dishwashers had shorter cycles. New dishwashers are more energy-efficient and use less water than older machines. Even though it runs for a longer period of time, it uses less electricity to get the job done.

The average run time for a dishwasher is 2.5 hours. This is based on a normal cycle with a newer machine. Most, if not all, new dishwashers have sensors that detect how dirty the wash water is to determine how many rinse cycles to execute. Sometimes that sensor can be dirty, which will falsely tell the machine to keep running rinse cycles. Here are the descriptions of dishwasher cycles and estimated run times.

Open dishwasher with clean glasses and dishes close-up after washing

Rinse Cycle

The rinse cycle will not clean your dishes and does not use detergent. The whole cycle will run for 10-15 minutes. You may use this setting to clean off the residue from newly dirty dishes if you do not have enough dishes to run the machine for a full cycle. When you do run the dishwasher with a full load, you will not have to run the machine on a heavy cycle.

Express/Quick Wash

This is a high temperature and pressure setting that will finish in about an hour or less. This setting requires you to prewash the dishes and remove any hardened food particles. Manufacturers do not list cycle times because they can vary based on power, water pressure, and temperature.

The Miele PG 8061 is estimated to have the shortest cycle of 15 minutes, but the price tag runs over $5,000. Bosch, Maytag, and LG all have models with quick wash times of about an hour.

Auto/Smart Wash

Most new dishwashers have an auto setting that senses how dirty the dishes are. The machine will adjust the temperature, water pressure, length, and number of rinse cycles based on how dirty the dishes are.

This will become the standard option for most people to choose rather than the normal cycle because it is intuitive. Since this cycle automatically adjusts, there are no specific estimates of run time.

Normal Cycle

When you don't know what setting to choose, the normal setting should do the job. The run time is about 2 hours and 15 minutes for the Bosch 80 model while an LG dishwasher runs an average of 2 hours 28 minutes. This Maytag blog states that normal dishwasher cycles run from 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours, but it does not state a specific model.

Pots And Pans/Heavy Duty Cycle

This cycle is for pots, pans, and dishes with hardened baked-on food particles. It requires the most water, energy, and time to complete. There are no manufacturer estimates for the run time, but this is the cycle that can run for 3-4 hours. You are not expected to do any hand rinsing or washing of the dishes.

Sani/Anti-Bacterial Cycle

This washing cycle is created to meet the standard of the National Sanitation Foundation, which will remove 99.999 percent of bacteria by using water temperatures of 150 degrees.

For GE dishwashers, Sani Rinse is an option that is added to the normal or heavy cycle and will add another 20 minutes to the runtime with a high-temperature rinse cycle at the end. Whirlpool states that the Sani cycle can add up to 1 hour 30 minutes to the run time.

Which Dishwasher Setting Is Best?

Close-up on woman's finger selecting a program on the panel of dishwasher

When you need a fast wash and have lightly soiled, pre-rinsed dishes, then you can opt for the quick wash option. If you are not in a rush for the dishwasher to complete its cycle, then choose the auto wash or smart wash option.

Some dishwashers don't have this option, so you will have to decide if your dishes have hard baked-on food particles. Choose the heavy or pots/pans option if you have hard, baked-on food. Otherwise, you can choose the normal cycle.

Is It Bad To Stop A Dishwasher Mid-Cycle?

You may open your dishwasher mid-cycle without any problems. First, unlatch the dishwasher door without opening it. Wait for it to stop spraying water, and then you may open the door completely.

Depending on your dishwasher brand, model, and cycle, you may need to hit start on the machine after you close the door to continue the cycle. Doing so will not disrupt the cycle or flood your kitchen floor.

What Is A Quick Wash On A Dishwasher?

Quick wash or express wash is the quickest option for a complete dishwashing cycle. This setting should only be used if you have pre-washed or rinsed dishes without any hardened food or gunk. This setting runs higher temperatures and water pressure to complete the wash in 1 hour or less.

How Often Should You Run The Dishwasher?

You should run the dishwasher as often as you need to use it, or a minimum of once per week. If you do not have dishes to wash, you should run the quick wash option once per week to keep the motor seals working correctly. The average family runs the dishwasher 4 times per week. If you are going on a long vacation, then you may ask a friend or relative to run the dishwasher once per week while they grab your mail.

Why Is The Dishwasher Running So Long?


Unwashed dishes glass cups and coffee mugs on a dishwasher

New dishwashers run for longer but use less energy. If you are washing dishes that are heavily soiled or you are using the heavy cycle, then the machine might run for up to 4 hours. The sensor may be dirty and it will indicate to the machine that the dishes are not clean yet. This is one possible way the machine will run for longer than it needs.

How Much Power Does A Dishwasher Need?

There are some power and water requirements the dishwasher needs to clean the dishes properly and you should ensure the machine is installed properly. Most installations involve a dedicated hard-wired electrical line rather than plugging into an outlet.

Since the dishwasher plug is on the bottom rear of the machine, your kitchen probably doesn't have an easily accessible outlet. The average dishwasher uses 1,200 to 2,400 watts of power, with 1,800 being the average. If you are not providing this much power to the machine, then it will run for longer and may not be able to wash the dishes properly.

Do You Need A Dedicated Hot Water Line?

Most dishwashers run temperatures between 120 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit, with some reaching as high as 160. This takes a lot of power to operate, but it also requires a dedicated hot water line. This is the recommendation by dishwasher manufacturers.

It is the only way to ensure that your machine can reach the temperatures necessary to clean and sanitize your dishes. When installing the machine, make sure a dedicated hot water line is installed.

How Long Does A Dishwasher Last?

An opened dishwasher with dishes and other kitchen utensils inside it, How Wide Is A Standard Dishwasher?

A dishwasher has a lifespan of 10 years. This is based on average usage of 215 times per year, or approximately 4 times per week. The motor or the pump is usually the part that would need fixing, repairing, or replacement. The cost of this repair with labor and parts can be up to $800, which is in the price range for the cost of a new machine.

With heavy use, the dishwasher may only run for 6 years. Some other dishwashers can live to 15 or 16 years before they need to be replaced.

In Closing

Dishwashers run for 1 hour to 4 hours. The quick wash cycle is for pre-rinsed or pre-washed dishes and some higher-end models can complete a quick wash in 15-30 minutes. The normal cycle is 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes depending on brand and model. The heavy cycle can run for as long as 4 hours to remove hard-baked food and gunk from your dishes.

Most new machines have an auto setting that will sense how dirty the dishes are while adjusting the heat, length, and water pressure of the cycle. For more dishwasher tips, check out these posts:

Are Plastic Food Containers Dishwasher Safe?

Are Casserole Dishes Dishwasher Safe? [Here’s Which Ones Are]

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