All You Need To Know About Dishwasher Programmes and Cycles
A modern dishwasher may have a range of different programs. You have some basic programs that you will find on just about every machine, and then you have some special programs that might be exclusive to a brand or model.
When you use your dishwasher, the program you select will make a difference in your results. Depending on the program you choose, you’ll have a different water temperature, the rinse time may vary, and the amount of water used. With some models, special features are also employed during certain cycles.
Below, we will provide an overview of some of the more common dishwasher programs that you may find. We’ll explain what they are for and why you may want to use them.
One important note is that some of these names may vary depending on the manufacturer, so just because you do not see one of the names that we have listed below, that does not mean that the machine does not have the specific program that we are talking about.
This is the program that you are going to use for most of your dishwashing needs. It is designed to handle the average soiling you would find on plates, cups, and utensils. With most machines, this cycle will run in about an hour and a half to two hours, and it generally operates with a water temperature that ranges from 60-65°.
The intensive program is for dishes that have heavy soiling or food that is baked on. It is good for cleaning things like pots, pans and casserole dishes. This program has a high-temperature setting to help remove cooked-on food.
For most dishwashers, this cycle will have a temperature of about 70°, and it usually takes two hours or more to run. The one point that needs to be noted about the intensive program is that it is not suitable for glassware and china. The high temperature can damage delicate items.
This program is an eco-friendly alternative to the normal cycle. It is supposed to wash all of the same types of dishes with the same level of soiling. The eco-program saves on water and electricity by running for a longer time at a lower temperature.
If you are interested in saving money on your utility bills, it can be good, but the long runtime means that many people will avoid using it. For an eco wash program, a short runtime is about three hours. With some models, the eco wash even goes to four hours or more.
If you find yourself needing some dishes cleaned in a hurry, then the quick wash cycle or quick programme can be good. You can find some machines with a quick wash that runs in less than half an hour, and it can work well depending on the situation.
To achieve these faster times, the machine will usually use more water, and in many cases, they will cut the time of the drying stage down. While it can be good for times when you need dishes cleaned fast, there are some drawbacks. For the most part, the quick program is only good for dishes that are lightly soiled, and with the shorter drying time, the dishes will usually come out damp.
This program is designed to wash things like glassware and china. These items are sensitive to high temperatures, so the glass or delicate program is designed to clean at a lower temperature.
This avoids chipping and cracking issues that can occur when you wash these items at the wash temperatures that you would find in the regular cycle. The delicate program on most dishwashers will usually run with a water temperature of about 40°.
Some machines now come with an auto program that uses sensors to manage the operation. The sensors will detect things like the amount of soiling on the dishes, and it uses the feedback to adjust things like water temperature, the amount of water used and the length of different stages in the program. So, if you have a smaller load, fewer dishes, or lightly soiled dishes, it will use less water.
Most machines with a sensor wash setting are used as a replacement for the normal program. In addition to that, you may find some models that have auto programs for settings like intensive and delicate.
A half load function is designed for washing dishes when the machine is not completely full. The intention is to save time and reduce the amount of water and electricity used when the dishwasher is not full. Some machines have a specific half-load program, but this has become less common in the newest models.
Instead, manufacturers are switching to using a specific half-load option to add to different cycles or load-size detection. With load size detection, the machine automatically adjusts water usage for smaller loads.
Pre-rinse is not a full dishwasher program that is designed to clean the dishes. It is just a rinse that can be used before you run a full cycle. The pre-rinse is generally used to help loosen up dried-on food before you run the cycle.
You do not use any detergent; it is just a rinse with water. This can be useful when you load the machine up partially, but the dishes have to sit there for a few hours until the machine is full and ready to run.
Some dishwashers are equipped with an energy-saving programme mode to conserve half the water and water heating energy used by other cycles. An air-dry cycle can use unheated air to dry the dishes, for example. This programme allows you to save between 15 and 50 per cent of your dishwasher’s operational costs.
It is similar to the eco programme. Some dishwashers with this energy saver programme also use around three litres less water consumption than a standard dishwasher cycle and have a low water or quick wash programme as well that you can use.
If your appliance has a sanitize programme, it uses hotter water during its cycle and a longer washing time to kill up to 99.999 per cent of food soil bacteria on the dirty dishes. The minimum heat required with this sanitize programme is approximately 65-degrees Celsius, but some dishwasher brands may even go beyond this.
If you don’t want to have to dry the dishes when the washing cycle is done, you will probably want to find a dishwasher equipped with a dryer setting programme. Many modern dishwashers come with this feature.
- Air Dry: commonly found in newer models, the air dry feature automatically pops the dishwasher door open after the cycle is done to allow the steam to escape
- Heated Rinse: another programme more commonly found in modern dishwashers, the heated rinse increases the water temperature toward the cycle’s end. This allows the hot water to evaporate more quickly
- Fan Dry: dry settings often increase the energy output of your dishwasher. If you want to avoid higher energy bills because of the drying function, choose a dishwasher with fan dry settings. The dishwasher will use circulated room temperature air to dry the dishes
- Heat Dry: This setting uses an internal exhaust fan to dry the dishes with the heated air. This isn’t a setting you want to use if you will be out of the house when the dishes are drying
Some premium dishwashers come with what is known as “quiet mode.” This features reduce the amount of noise the dishwasher makes when it is in operation. It is good for homes with an open floor plan.
With delay start, you can set a time that will activate the cycle and settings you have chosen at a time that is more convenient for you.
Now that you know more about the many dishwasher programmes and features there are with newer and more modern dishwashers, you can make a more informed decision when choosing your new dishwasher.