A dishwasher is a mechanical device for cleaning dishes and eating-utensils.
The mechanical dishwasher cleans by spraying hot water, typically between 130 to 170 °F at the dishes, with lower temperatures used for delicate items. A mix of water and detergent is used for cleaning purposes, followed by clean water to remove the detergent residue, then a drying period with hot, circulated air. Some dishwashers have multiple wash and rinse periods within the complete cycle. In some dishwashers, a rinsing aid (also called rinse agent) can be added to the rinse cycle to improve drying and avoid water spots remaining on dry items.
Dishwashers are a modern convenience that few want to live without. Not only do they allow us to spend more time with our families and less time washing dishes, dishwashers have become so efficient they save us money on water and electricity. Today’s dishwashers use half as much electricity as those manufactured in 1972 and half as much water as washing the same amount of dishes by hand! And many new dishwashers have built-in booster heaters that gets water hot enough to kill germs and cut grease much better than can be done washing by hand.
Listed below are the popular kinds of dishwashers available today. Read about their pros and cons and also special considerations for each type. Remember to bring accurate measurements of the space you want your new unit to fill.
Most homes use under-counter dishwashers today where the dishwasher is a permanent part of the kitchen. This saves valuable kitchen floor space, as opposed to separate portable dishwashing units and offer you many more options and styles to choose from. Under-counter dishwashers also fit more dishes and are available to match your other appliances. They are easier and faster to operate as they are always attached to electricity and water sources and you can use your sink at the same time as your dishwasher.
Dishwashers involve complicated interactions between your plumbing and electrical systems and their complex electronics. If you’re installing an under-counter dishwasher for the first time, extensive plumbing, carpentry and electrical skills are needed. Please consult professionals to make sure your appliance is installed safely and correctly. Also, make sure to accurately measure the space your new unit will fill, which can be difficult, as the old units are built in and it may not be easy to see where they end inside your counters. Most manufacturers can get you exact measurements when provided with a model number.
There are many different features available today in under-counter dishwashers. Make sure to examine your unique needs and choose the correct balance of features. Some features that you may wish to look into include noise reduction, delayed start and filters. Dishwashers can vary in their noise production, which can have a large impact on your family if your kitchen is connected to a commonly used gathering area like a family room. If a noisy dishwasher will interfere with your evening time in the family room, consider a model that has extra noise reduction features. Delayed start features allow you to set a time for the wash cycle to begin later in the day. This is very useful if you want to run your dishwasher at times when noise will not disturb you or energy costs are lower. Under-counter dishwashers have a variety of filtering methods. Some need to be replaced periodically and others have grinders which dispose of large food items without replacing filters. Look into each unit’s filtering methods to see which is right for you.
Portable dishwashers are much less common than under-counter dishwashers but can be a very convenient solution in certain circumstances. Portable dishwashers are stored elsewhere and connected to your kitchen sink when a load is ready to be washed. If there is no room in your kitchen to install an under-counter dishwasher, portable dishwashers can be stored elsewhere and wheeled in when needed. They often have butcher-block tops that can provide extra counter space when in the kitchen. Also, portable dishwashers can be taken with you when you move to another residence.
Portable dishwashers can be somewhat inconvenient since they need to be connected to and disconnected from electricity and water each time they are used. While they can save your under-counter space, they do need to be stored somewhere when not in use and do take up kitchen floor space when in use. These units are usually smaller than standard under-counter dishwashers but still clean effectively.
Make sure to measure the space you have available carefully, including where it will be when connected to water and electricity and where it will be stored when not in use. It is important to understand how to connect it to electricity and water and to make sure the proper connections are available in your space. Less features are usually available in portable dishwashers, but it still important to compare your needs with the features available. See the last paragraph in the under-counter dishwasher section for a review of some convenient features you may wish to research.