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Little boys loading the dishwasher.
Research report

Dishwasher drying issues

If you’re fed up with the dishwasher leaving dishes wet, here’s some tips for a drier load.

Not all dishwashers dry dishes well, so here’s some tips to help your machine dry better.

Our testing shows most dishwashers wash well, but drying performance can vary considerably. Several factors affect how well a dishwasher dries dishes:

  • Size: How large your dishwasher is can have a big effect. The smaller the washing compartment, the quicker it is to heat and dry your dishes.
  • Temperature: Anyone who has hand-washed dishes in a sink knows a hot plate dries faster. So a hot final rinse is important for quick drying.
  • Eco-mode: Using eco-mode is a good choice for your wallet and environmental footprint. However, the trade-off is this mode often cuts back on drying times, doesn’t heat the water as much or skips the last rinse cycle.
  • Extra features: Some models have drying aids, such as fan-assisted drying. This is where a fan inside the dishwasher pushes warm air around.

Our testing also showed dishwashers that scored well in drying were usually not very energy efficient. This is because the drying part of a washing cycle can be the most energy-intensive part of the wash.

Drying tips

If your dishwasher doesn’t dry well, here’s how to give it a helping hand:

21may dishwasher drying issues drying tips
  • The best drying method, while time-consuming, is easy – air-drying. Open the door a few inches once the cycle is finished and come back in an hour.
  • Rinse-aid speeds up the drying of dishes and prevents water marks, especially when using powder dishwasher detergent. It isn’t as necessary if you use dishwasher tablets with rinse-aid. If your dispenser has settings, try tweaking them to get the driest dishes possible.
  • Plastic items can slow drying as they don’t retain heat like crockery. If possible, hand-wash plastic items instead. They’ll likely last longer as well.
  • A full dishwasher dries better. More dishes mean more heat and therefore drier crockery.
  • Pooled water slows drying times. Make sure containers, bowls and glasses are angled down so water can drain away.

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