Why your dishwasher isn’t drying your dishes properly
When we put our dishes in the dishwasher, the last thing we are expecting is for them to STILL be wet when the cycle is finished. Unfortunately it’s a frustrating problem that many of us end up dealing with on a daily basis. It leaves a lot of people cursing their dishwasher and left considering buying a new one. However, not everyone has the luxury of being able to just do that ‘on a dime’ (as they say in the USA).
So what’s the alternative? Shouting at your dishwasher? Hitting it with a spanner? Giving it the side eye? Well, we think there are better alternatives than that. But, in order to get to those solutions, let’s try and understand the problem. At Repair Aid, our engineers repair dishwashers for a living – so we know our stuff. Here’s what you need to know about dishwashers not drying your dishes properly.
The hea(r)t of the problem
When a dishwasher isn’t able to get rid of all the water on dishes, there is always an explanation. There are generally two mechanisms used by dishwashers to dry dishes: hot air and the condensation method. Usually older dishwashers make use of the hot air method through an exposed circular rod that is heated up from the bottom and makes the hot air rise to the top. However, this is a very expensive method of cleaning (leading to larger energy bills) and uses a lot of energy which isn’t good in this environmentally-conscious age.
The condensation method, utilised in near enough all modern domestic dishwashers, uses hot water instead of hot air to dry the dishes with warmer water. This water is then attracted to the interior of the dishwasher, which is rather cool (cool as in temperature and as in pretty neat), before it is then deposited down the drain. However, as plastic dishes don’t retain heat as well as glass or ceramic, they don’t get as dry. More environmentally-friendly; less effective with plastics.
Another explanation is that we’re unloading our dishwashers wrong. Are you pulling out the dishes from the top first? If so, you may be unseating some water that drips down onto the dishes below.
What is being done about this?
So how do manufacturers solve this problem with tech that is environmentally-friendly? Bosch is one company trying to change things by incorporating a mineral in its newer dishwashers. These are ‘zeolite’ crystals and they basically mop up moistures during the wash cycle and supercharge the hot water to make it even warmer – resulting in dishes that are drier in less time and that use less energy.
There are others providing solutions too. Frigidaire is utilising convection heat in a way that’s similar to how convection ovens work – blowing hot air around the interior to increase the speed of the drying process. Alternatively, the likes of Whirlpool and Maytag still do offer some machines that operate on the older principles of hot air and a dry cycle.
What can I do in the meantime?
As we said at the beginning, no-one should have to be forced into buying a new dishwasher to solve this problem – so here are some alternative solutions.
Firstly, you should always unloaded dishes from the bottom rack first. This ensures no leftover water will spill onto any of the dishes below. Rinse aid may also be worth using too which, paradoxically, is all about drying – not rinsing. Make sure to consult the directions and your machine’s user guide before using it.
Another good technique is to space out your dishes better on the racks. If there’s more space between dishes, there’s more chance of them being drier when they come out. One offshoot of this is to place the items to make them more amenable to drying quicker. For example, a bowl should be tilted to the side to ensure that water doesn’t get trapped and can freely drip off the dishes or glasses.
Make sure to open your door just a wee bit after a cycle is done to allow air in. After 15 to 30 minutes, the dishes should end up being drier. Just make sure not to do it before it’s done (and note that your dishwasher may already do this by default). Lastly, make sure to pick the right type of cycle as you may have one specifically for heated drying.
These are just some of the ways that can help you get drier dishes today without having to buy a new unit to resolve this problem.