how a dishwasher works

How a dishwasher works?

How a dishwasher works


A dishwasher, going by its definition, is a machine for cleaning dish ware and cutlery automatically. Countries of Western Europe, Canada, United States and United Kingdom are some notable places which have a high sale of dishwashers. Countries like India, Brazil, etc. still don’t see many of these around. The trend of using this machine is still on the increase, and seems to be spreading.

Fact 1

The dishwasher is invented way back in 1850 by Joel Houghton. Preceding the Civil War, a machine with a wheel which was supposed to be hand-turned to splash water on the dishes came into being. This helped in lessening the burden of household chores.

Fact 2

1886: With better improvements came a dishwasher which had a rack to hold the utensils to be cleaned. It was called the Josephine Cochrane dishwasher. This was then released at the World’s Fair in 1893, but it gained popularity for commercial use only.

Fact 3

1929: The indoor plumbing technique was incorporated with the previous ideas of a dishwasher. Miele was one of the first companies to make an entrance in this to-be booming industry. Europe saw Neil Pooley be the first person to introduce the first electric dishwasher, which used indoor plumbing.

Fact 4

1940: Idea of the dishwasher invented at this time is what is continuing till the present, in its most fundamental sense. It had a front door, a rotating sprayer and a rack to load the utensils onto. Back in 1953, it was priced at approximately $500, which had much more value than it now does.

Fact 5

This industry is booming at a pace faster than ever. A research predicts a 6.83% increase in the size of the industry during 2017-2021.

Fact 6

Present: the price of the dishwasher, which was initially very high (1960’s-80’s), came down after it picked up sale in America. At this moment, an average dishwasher ranges in the price bracket of $400-$700.

Let’s get a sneak peek into the timeline of how this amazing invention came into existence:

How a Dishwasher works?

You look around and you have a machine for anything. In the most basic terms, a machine is anything that makes man’s work easier. Our world is full of them. One of the most unique ones is the dishwasher. It’s something which helps the family members of the house and reduces man’s effort greatly.

Coming to the basic purpose of a dishwasher, it simply washes the dirty utensils and cutlery, which you might otherwise wash with your own hands. This not only helps in saving effort of the dish washer (anybody who is washing the utensils), but also saves their time. Other than that, this is a safer alternative (considering one can hurt themselves while cleaning utensils), it is much safer and has a lesser environmental impact since it uses a given amount of water, according to the number of utensils to be washed.

Also, it is more sanitary because one doesn’t have leave dirty utensils out which could breed germs and spread a bad odor. As we can see, there are enough advantages to buying a dishwasher, let’s see how it actually cleans up dirty dishes.

A dishwasher usually has 6 basic cycles with different options. Some of them are as follows:

  • Rinse and hold: This doesn’t involve any detergent mixed with water or the drying step. It is to give a quick rinse to the utensils.
  • Normal: For this type of cycle, a normal load of dishes is put in the dishwasher. With the use of lesser energy, apt amount of detergent and mild temperature of water, it can clean a number of utensils in one go.
  • Delicate: This is put into use when the utensils to be washed, are fragile and need lesser pressure for cleaning. Also, it uses lesser detergent and energy to run an entire cycle.
  • Sensor/ Auto wash: is used most of the times. It senses the soil level on the dishes and cleans them accordingly.
  • Heavy: One uses this mode to clean utensils with a high level of soiling dishes, pots and pans. This uses the most amount of energy, amongst all modes of cycles.
  • Sanitize: While many dishwashers may not have this cycle, it is meant for people who are health conscious. There are many people who are sick and whose dishes are exposed to raw meat. In this, the water temperature is raised to 160° F (71° C) and drying time is prolonged. By this, most of the germs are killed and it gives nicely sanitized dishes.

A major question that most of you might ask: what’s the average price of a dishwasher? Depending upon the features of a dishwasher, it can be of the following types, which further decides the price of it:

  • Budget dishwashers: It is best suited for people who have a limited budget and want a machine which does its work, at the most basic level. $249-$499 would be the price range you’d be looking at, if this is the product you desire.
  • Midrange dishwashers: These dishwashers hover in the price range of $500-$999. Features additional to the budget dishwasher such as adjustable racks and foldable tines will set it apart as a midrange one.
  • Luxury dishwashers: For a person with a lavish lifestyle, this is the right type of dishwasher. These cost anything between $1,000 to $2,000. They are far more, in number, and superior features as compared to midrange dishwashers. They not only do their job, but also add to the look of the kitchen. Thus, they can be a style statement for the family.

let’s understand the basic components of a dishwasher:

Control mechanism: This is the part located inside the door, behind the control panel this controls the timer, which basically monitors the duration of the wash cycles and timings at which other components are should be activated. More expensive dishwashers might have a computerised control system and/or a door latch or child lock.

dishwasher control

Intake valve:

dishwasher intake valve

This is the unit which connects the home water supply to the dishwasher.


dishwasher pump

This is powered by an electric motor. This is the main component which is responsible for efficient cleaning of the dishes, since it is this which forces water up into the spray arms. It is placed in the center of the dishwasher, mounted under the basin.

Much to people’s shock, the working of a dishwasher is actually something that can be understood easily. Surprisingly, a dishwasher doesn’t actually fill up with water; it is just the basin that is filled with it. With heating components fitted inside, the water is warmed up to 130°-140° F (45°-75° C) which is moderately warm. It could be mixed with the required detergent, or it might not. Then the pump, with the motor fixed in it, pushes the water up till the roof of the machine, with the required pressure.

With an obstruction over it, it forces the water to go in different direction. The force of the water also makes the arms that hold the spray jets rotate, just like a garden hose. This helps the water reach in every nook and corner of the area, for an efficient clean of the dishes. Once this has been done, the water settles and drains itself out of the dishwasher. Depending on your configuration type, it might drain straight into the pipes under your sink or travel up to a hose, into your sink itself.

This last step is optional, and depends on the selection of the cycle- the dry cycle. The same heating component, which heated up the water, heats the air inside the machine to let the dishes dry. Many might ignore this step in order to conserve energy.

For a better understanding, it is always to see procedures play out in front you. Many people, with the same curiosity, have been able to record what exactly happens in the dishwasher. A link to one is here:

One of the most important inventions of all time, the dishwasher has made the lives of millions of people easier over the world. It has saved up many hours of man effort and has made the lives of housewives way easier than before. Last but not the least, it has also revolutionised the idea of modular kitchens. The prominence of the idea of better looking, designer kitchens involve sleek dishwashers

For the upper class, it is more a style-statement than a necessity. With the average prices decreasing, better looking designs are entering the midrange and the budget strata, as well. So look out for the one that not only suits your budget, but your style statement too!


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