How Long Should a Dishwasher Take to Wash?

Have you thought about the inconvenience of washing your dishes by hand and how much of your valuable time you are wasting on this task? You might consider getting a dishwasher to save time and energy, giving you more time for the things that really matter. The loading and unloading process is, of course, easier than washing everything by hand. But the dishwashing process itself tends to take longer than it would to hand wash everything. Will a dishwasher offer you enough benefits? How long does it take? Will it be convenient? We will work through these questions so you can make a decision that is best for your home.


How Much Time Does It Take?
Depending on the machine and the chosen cycle, the time for dishwashing will vary between each option. Eco-friendly options are often more energy efficient and faster cycles, while the heavy-duty options often take longer to allow for the full, intensive cleaning process. Additionally, countertop and lighter portable machines are generally faster than larger, built-in dishwashers. On average a dishwashing cycle will vary between 1.5 to 4 hours in total.

Hand Washing Vs Dishwashing

Despite the initial cost of a dishwasher, dishwashing tends to offer greater value for money than hand washing. A dishwasher offers a convenient, economical, efficient and time saving alternative to hand washing. Dishwashing takes longer than hand washing, but offers you the convenience of not having to do it all by hand. If you only spend limited time washing dishes, a dishwasher may not be a suitable choice for you.


To reiterate, depending on the brand and type of dishwasher you select, the duration of the cycles will vary.

For the most part, countertop and portable dishwashers offer faster cycles than the larger built-in dishwashers. Heavy-duty intensive cycles will also take longer compared to more eco-friendly cycles. Overall, dishwashing cycles range from 1.5 to 4 hours.

Further information about the specific cycle times will be available in the manufacturer’s user manual. Most machines these days will also display a countdown timer on an LED screen so you know how much time is remaining on the cycle.

Is Your Dishwasher Taking Longer?

Your dishwasher may be taking longer for some of the reasons below:

Your dishwasher is older. Newer dishwashers have been optimised to take less time.

The sensors may require calibration or they may be malfunctioning.

Your dishwasher is new and has had limited cycles. The machine is still calibrating and working out how long it needs.

It is running a longer cycle because your dishes are very dirty and require a longer program.

The water hardness is interfering with the sensors. Be sure to keep an eye out for build up that requires additional cleaning.

If you have ruled out some of the above and you are concerned about the time your machine is taking, try calling the manufacturer for further guidance.

The Most Time Efficient

Are you looking for a machine with the shortest cycle? Some machines can take as little as 15 minutes, but is it worth the additional price?

Miele PG 8061 – Depending on power conditions, water temperature and water intake, this dishwasher has a 15-minute cycle.

Thermador DWHD870WFP – With the Star Speed cycle, this dishwasher takes only 20 minutes.

Asko D5436XLS – Best used for only lightly soiled dishes, this dishwasher has a 20-minute cycle.

Bosch SHXN8U55UC – The Bosch takes less than 30 minutes on an express cycle.

Electrolux EI24ID50QS – This machine has a 30-minute cycle.

We recommend having a look at some of the above options if you are considering a dishwasher with a short wash cycle.

Looking to Save Water?

Compared to hand washing your dishes, a dishwasher saves a large amount of water. On average, a dishwasher will use three gallons per cycle, whilst hand washing can take up to 27 gallons! The dishwasher may take longer than hand washing, but overall, a dishwasher will save you time, money, energy and water.

When Purchasing

When looking for a new dishwasher, keep an eye out for Energy Star certified options. These options cost less to run and use less energy and water, paying for themselves quickly.

How Often Should You Be Running Your Dishwasher?

It depends on the size of your home and how many dishes you use. Most households will run the dishwasher daily, and most recommend running it in the evenings so your dishes are clean for the following day.

It is strongly recommended to avoid leaving dirty dishes in the dishwasher for a long period of time. This can cause the food to dry on, making it harder to clean. It can also cause bad smells. It is suggested you run your dishwasher at least every few days.

Running Your Dishwasher at Night

Despite many people choosing to run their dishwashers at night, there is some debate about the safety of this. It is best to check with the manufacturer whether it is safe to do so as some warn of fire risks.

Due to the potential risks of overnight running, it is mostly recommended to run your dishwasher in the evenings after dinner. This is an ideal time as you will be finished with most dishes for the day and will still be awake in the event of something going wrong.

Stopping Your Dishwasher

If needed the dishwasher can be stopped mid-cycle, usually with a pause or cancel button on the machine. If your machine doesn’t have a button, you can usually open the door and the cycle will automatically stop. When stopping the dishwasher mid-cycle, the dishes may be wet and covered in detergent.

Cycle Duration

As mentioned above, most dishwashers will average between 1.5 and 4 hours for a cycle duration. There are many benefits to using a dishwasher compared to hand washing, including saving water, energy, time and money.

If you have enough dishes and the time to wait for the job to be done for you, we strongly recommend a dishwasher.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.