7 tips to get the most out of your dishwasher


A dishwasher saves a ton of time and energy spent cleaning dishes, but the energy costs can add up. That's why we've put together our top seven tips for getting the most out of your dishwasher.

1. Turn off heated dry
The heated dry function in your dishwasher makes your dishes come out hot – a nice luxury, but ultimately irrelevant. Your dishes are clean anyway when they come out, and heated dry does little more than rack up your energy costs. It's definitely something to do without.

2. Fill your dishwasher completely before you use it
This one's a no-brainer. Your dishwasher uses a fixed amount of water and energy to do each load, regardless of the number of dishes in it. If you're only filling it up halfway before you turn it on, that means you're using twice as much energy.

3. Don't bother pre-rinsing
According to Better Homes and Gardens magazine, a newer dishwasher can clean even the dirtiest dishes as long as you clear off food and empty out cups. At this point, pre-rinsing just uses up more time and water than is necessary.

4. Check your filter after each load
According to U.S. News & World Report, industry experts say you should check your filter after each load. Inside the dishwasher is a filter that catches food and keeps it from getting back on your dishes. After each load, just empty it out to keep it from getting too full.

5. Don't install your dishwasher next to your refrigerator
Dishwashers produce a lot of heat in order to kill all of the bacteria on your dishes and silverware. This is a good thing, but if your dishwasher is next to your fridge, the heat is probably transferring. Any extra heat means that your refrigerator has to work harder, costing you money and possibly making your food go bad faster. Keep the two separate to keep your costs down and help food last longer.

6. Check the spray arms regularly
The spray arms are the funny-looking arms in your dishwasher – located at the top and bottom – that spray water and soap to clean your dishes. If you haven't cleaned your appliance in a while, you might find that food has blocked some of the nozzles on the arms, especially the bottom one. Periodically checking and removing food from your spray arms will keep your dishwasher in better shape, and ensure that water is being distributed evenly throughout a wash.

7. The hot water trick
A dishwasher will continue to fill until the water inside is hot enough to kill bacteria. The problem is that – just like in your sink or shower – water comes out cold for the first few seconds. Once the cold water is in the dishwasher, it takes more water to heat everything up than if hot water just came out in the first place. Luckily, your dishwasher probably uses the same water pipes that the nearest sink does. All you have to do is turn on your hot water tap until the water coming out feels hot – just a few seconds – before you turn on your appliance.

Dishwashers are pretty expensive, so also consider buying a TotalProtect® Home Warranty to protect your investment. A home warranty reduces the risk of breakdown to a low monthly cost and helps make repairs or replacement affordable – no matter the age, make or model.

The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.