Dishwashers are a common addition to any household in the modern era. They’ll save you time, money, and energy by washing your dishes for you.
No longer do you need to spend hours at the sink scrubbing off the last night's meal.
Each type has its own benefit, and you’re not short on options when it comes to brands. Dishwashers aren’t complicated, but comparing brands can be.
With the different cycles listed, how can we be sure which cycle is right for us? Follow this guide to answer; how long does a dishwasher run, and which wash cycle will give me the right result?
A standard dishwasher has multiple settings – you’ll have different cycles, such as eco, intense, quick wash, etc. Each machine is different and will have different names for different washes.
In terms of timing, it's quite straightforward; a quick cycle will take less time than a more intense wash. Generally speaking, you’re looking at approximately 1 – 4 hours in a standard machine. But this can change, as different factors affect the time.
Dishwashers aren’t meant to tackle debris or food, so this can clog up the drainpipe and extend the wash time if they don't have built-in garbage disposals.
Below are three different cycles and how they compare to each other:
This cycle will use the sensors in the machine to determine cleanliness. The sensor will detect how much dirt is on your dishes and adjust the water temperature. They may increase or decrease the time depending on how much dirt is remaining. For an average load, it will run for approximately 1 – 3 hours.
These settings are designed for a speedier wash and will have multiple names.
This wash isn’t designed for very dirty dishes or glass. An express wash cleans lightly soiled plates that need a quick freshening up.
While this may seem counterproductive, a rinse cycle will help keep your dishwasher from building up bacteria and bad smells.
This will use a little water to splash dishes until they're ready for a proper wash in case you don’t have time to run a full wash.
Popular Dishwasher Brands & Their Cycle Times
Choosing the best dishwasher for your needs will take some time. Different brands will have their pros and cons, and you’re not limited in choice. Below we will discuss some of the brands available and which will give you the best results.
Bosch 300 Series
Bosch is the most efficient brand on the market. They're well renowned for making reliable dishwashers and excellent maintenance. A Speed60 wash will wash your dishes in an hour, and longer cycles can take just 3 hours to give your dishes a superb clean.
GE GDP665SYNFS Dishwasher
A good choice for a mid-range price, the GE dishwasher is an effective washer with 3 racks to allow for extra cleaning space. It boasts 4 jets for more intense cleaning. The shortest cycle on this model is approximately 1.3 hours, and the soil sensors can extend or shorten this based on the grime on your dishes.
KitchenAid KDPM604KPS Dishwasher
A KitchenAid dishwasher will come with useful features for your washing needs. Rotating jets will be able to clean those hard-to-reach places. For its cycles, a Pro Wash setting will use a sensor to determine the load size and grime level, and it takes between 2 – 3.5 hours to clean.
Whirlpool WDT710PAHZ Dishwasher
Whirlpool brand dishwashers are renowned for affordability and quality washes. Their cycles will clean away dirt effectively on any setting. An average wash on sensor settings will last between 2 – 3.15 hours, and a soak and clean cycle can last up to 7 hours.
Frigidaire FGIP2468UF Dishwasher
This model has shorter wash cycles. It comes equipped with Dual OrbitClean jets to remove tough food debris. The speediest cycle is quick wash, which will last just 34 minutes. The longest cycle lasts up to 4 hours.
Learn more about Frigidaire dishwashers not starting correctly.
Thermador Star-Sapphire Series
This model boasts the shortest wash cycle, with a wash being completed in just 20 minutes. It also retains hot water for the next load, giving you the option to run multiple Star Speed cycles in a day. The drawback to this machine is that it’s very expensive and can set you back a pretty penny.
Dishwasher Cycle Options Explained: How Long Do They Run For?
There are many cleaning options on every dishwasher. But if you're not sure what many of them are, we've listed them below to help explain their function.
You'll find this setting on most, if not all, dishwashers on the market. They are suited for everyday dirt and soiled dishes. They'll usually run for an average of 1.5 – 2 hours and will be effective at cleaning off your daily meals.
This will be on mid-range or higher models and has great benefits. Sensors in the dishwasher will detect the load size and amount in the dishwasher and adjust the temperature and time, saving you time and money in the long run. On average, it runs between 1 – 3 hours.
This is now a standard-setting on all modern dishwashers and saves water and energy consumption. It will, however, take longer than most washes, and as it uses less water, so it might not be suited for heavily soiled dishes.
As our lives continue to move faster, dishwashers have come with speed washes as standard to help us keep up. They can take anywhere between 20 minutes to 1 hour and are recommended for lightly soiled dishes.
A delicate cycle is designed for your glassware or fragile dishes. It uses a lower temperature to gently clean inside your dishes and avoid any damage. You should make sure glassware doesn’t touch each other to avoid any chips or cracks.
Not a common setting on dishwashers, but it’s designed for when you don’t have enough dishes for a full load. Usually, it will take up half the time, but still use up to 90% of the water used in a normal cycle.
A useful setting, it will delay the start of a wash at a preprogrammed time (usually between 1 – 12 hours later) if you're planning on going out before the load would finish.
This is designed for a pre-wash and runs water through the dishes before moving on to the main wash. It's designed to clear away particularly grimy dishes or soak them before a complete wash.
A different setting to pre-rinse, this will rinse your dishes on a quick cycle so that the dishwasher doesn't fill up with bacteria or bad smells.
Hold is designed to hold the water to allow the dishes to soak.
This setting is for those plates that need a soak or are heavily soiled. It uses more water at a higher temperature and more energy to clean dishes properly.
It isn't available on every dishwasher and is usually found on mid-range to higher models.
How To Check If A Dishwashers Cycle Time Is Too Long
There can be several reasons why your dishwasher takes longer than it should. In most instances, it won’t require servicing, but be prepared to call out an engineer.
If you live in an area with hard water, mineral deposits will build up in your machine over time. The heating elements will also gradually build up limescale. The best way to avoid this is regularly cleaning your machine with specifically designed mineral cleaners.
Your machine needs time to heat up the water. It can take approximately 1 minute to heat water 1 degrees, so it might be that your water is too cold. Run your hot water taps beforehand to make sure the water going in is hot. If the water isn’t heating at all, there may be a problem with your heating elements.
Modern machines come with sensors to help determine the cleanliness of your dishes. If the sensor is faulty or covered in dirt, it can’t accurately check if the dishes are clean. You may need to call an engineer if the sensor is faulty.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Is it normal for a dishwasher to run for two hours?
On average, a dishwasher cycle is normally 1.5 – 2 hours long, so if it's on the right setting, this is normal. If it's taking 2 hours when it shouldn't, there may be an issue with your dishwasher.
How do you know when the dishwasher is finished?
If your dishwasher has a digital display, it will notify you that the load is complete. There will also be a beep sound when the load has finished.
How long does a dishwasher take to dry?
Depending on the brand and model, it can take anywhere between 1 – 3 hours to completely dry your dishes on a standard load.
When is the best time to run the dishwasher?
The cheapest time to run is at night, when your other technology (TVs, computers, etc.) are switched off. It will also mean that you're able to put in all the dishes you used that day. Some dishwasher models are quieter than others so this is also a consideration.
Does running the dishwasher save water & electricity?
Hand washing uses more water and electricity, so it's more efficient to use your dishwasher. Some dishes cannot be put in a dishwasher, however, and you should always check beforehand.
Can you stop a running dishwasher?
To stop, simply use the pause/stop button. They will also stop automatically if the door is opened mid-cycle.
Your dishwasher is your kitchen’s lifeline. They’re a worthy investment to a busy home and can save you time and energy later.
Knowing how long your cycle is going to run is always helpful, and now with the knowledge of the different cycles, you can make the best decision for your washer.
Josh enjoys researching, testing and diving into home improvement & DIY products. He has a passion for tools, learning new skills and fixing the everyday problems that arise around the house.