Dishwasher Wash Cycles Explained with Steps

When choosing and operating a dishwasher, we often struggle to decide on a suitable wash cycle for our requirements. In this post, you will learn about the stages of different wash cycles of a dishwasher with duration, temperature, water usage, power consumption, and detergent usage.

Regular wash is the most basic cycle that is present in a dishwasher. The auto and normal wash often go hand in hand to make the process easier. A typical dishwashing cycle can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the load and purpose.

The temperature of water used in this cycle is also moderate. It is suitable for your after-dinner wash where there aren’t heavily soiled utensils.

Dishwasher Wash Cycle Explained With Steps

Pre-Rinse Wash Cycle

Think of this cycle as preheating your oven. As oil stains and grease can be hard to remove from utensils, a pre-rinse might be necessary. This wash cycle is suitable to clean stains and debris of fresh less dirty, coffee, milk, tea.

In this program, the cookware gets sprayed with an initial blast of detergent-less cold water. Then it rinses the utensils with detergent with quantity as low as 5 cm3. It works in loosening up the debris that might be too attached to the utensils.

Automatic Wash Cycle

Auto mode is an easy way to get done with your washing. Most of the best dishwashers come with robust sensors that make them super intelligent. So, all you have to do is to load the utensils and press the button.

In this cycle, the dishwasher detects the load and chooses a custom wash pattern. It takes into account the number of utensils and the level of soiling. The machine also gives you a time in which the dishes will be cleaned and dried.

Many delicate utensils and cutleries aren’t meant to go into the appliance. So, it is crucial to verify if they are compatible with a dishwasher. In they are, it’s right to use the automatic delicate wash function—the water temperature is lower in this cycle to prevent breakage. Many dishwashers even have a dedicated area for the glassware.

An automatic cycle automatically detects the contamination level of dishes and automatically sets the temperature and amount of washing water and washing period. Bosch’s automatic wash cycle is ideal for part-dried, common household food remnants that must be cleaned between 45°C to 65°C.

On the other hand, IFB’s automatic cycles are usually available with three modes-

Automatic Wash CyclesAuto DelicateAuto NormalAuto Intense
Temperature30°C to 50°C50°C to 60°C60°C to 70°C
ContaminationSmallHighHigh
Detergent15-25 cm320-30 cm320-30 cm3
Period64-92 min100-127 min111-183 min
Power Consumption0.80 – 0.99 kWh1.13 – 1.46 kWh1.30 – 1.95 kWh
Water Consumption10.6 – 17.7 L10.9 – 18.5 L12.3 – 24.6 L

Quick Wash Cycle

Are you in a hurry or have a relatively less dirty batch?

Go for the quick wash setting! It is also known as rapid wash, fast wash, or turbo wash, as named by different brands. Contrary to the complete wash program, it will take much less of your time. The dishwasher will use more water or a higher temperature to get this done quickly in this mode.

Brands often focus on this wash setting as it gets things done in a jiffy. Some brands have even gone to include turbo washes that last for just 15 minutes. But, in most cases, it can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes, depending on the load.

Quick Wash Cycle Steps:

  • Clean at 40-45°C
  • Intermediate rinse
  • Final rinse at 50-55°C

For example, Bosch 13 Place Settings Dishwasher SMS66GW01I has a quick wash cycle suitable for slightly adhesive, fresh food remnants and runs by cleaning at 45°C, intermediate rinse at standard temperature, and final rinse at 55°C temperature.

Similarly, IFB Neptune VX Fully Electronic Dishwasher’s quick wash cycle is perfect for food fragments/stains of coffee, milk, tea, cold meat, vegetables. It runs by prewashing, washing at 40°C temperature, followed by a cold rinse and hot rinse. The process consumes 0.88 kWh of electricity and 10.9 L of water.

Read: Bosch Vs. IFB Vs. LG Dishwashers

Heavy Duty/Intense/Kadai Wash Cycle

Can you put your kadai inside a dishwasher?

Yes, you can, but make sure the material is compatible. Most people think that dishwashers aren’t good enough for their greased utensils. But that isn’t true.

The heavy-duty mode, also known as intense or kadai wash, is specially made for cleaning heavily soiled pots and pans. These cycles do tend to last longer, and it uses the water of a higher temperature. It may even require a bit more water than the regular cycle.

Bosch’s “Intensive Kadhai” is one such example of the heavy-duty wash cycle. It works in 5 steps as follows-

  1. Pre-rinse
  2. Clean at 70°C
  3. Intermediate rinse
  4. Final rinse at 72°C
  5. Drying

Express Sparkle 65° is another heavy-duty wash program from the same brand. Companies like LG and IFB named these cycles differently. IFB’s “Super 55” is another example of one such wash cycle. It suits cleaning food particles and stains of soup, sauce, pastry, egg, rice, potato and meals cooked in the oven, fried food, etc. The power consumption and water usage by this program are 1.31 kWh and 10.7 L, respectively.

Eco Wash Cycle

Some of you might be concerned about using too much water. The eco wash uses the minimum amount of water according to the load weight and level of dirtiness. The water used in this wash mode has a lower temperature to reduce the use of energy.

The eco wash cycle runs in 5 steps-

  1. Pre-rinse
  2. Cleaning at 50°C
  3. Intermediate rinse
  4. Final rinse at 65°C
  5. Drying

The wash cycle is usually as long as 156 minutes but consumes less energy (0.95 kWh) and less water (9.5 L). As the dishwasher uses less energy, this mode takes a longer time to clean. Eco wash might not be available in all models, so look for energy-efficient products if it is a must for you.

Sanitize Cycle

Most brands have upped their standard by including other intelligent features in dishwashers. One of them has to be the option of sanitization above 60°C of temperature. The sanitize cycle helps in keeping your family safe and healthy. Some dishwashers also allow you to keep your utensils warm to deter germs and bacteria.

Killing off bacteria and viruses is a must for better health. In a sanitizing cycle, water is sprayed on your utensils to kill any harmful substances. It is a must for households with kids. Sanitizing wash cycles do consume more energy.

Extra Dry Wash Cycle

Once the utensils are clean, it is essential to dry them to prevent mold and bacteria growth. So, hot air gets blasted in the dry cycle to remove moisture from the utensils for an extended period. In the end, you will get clean and dry utensils. It also prevents water spots on your glass and silverware.

These are some of the common wash cycles/programs that you will find in dishwashers. You should note that brands may often rename these programs or get entirely rid of them. Hence, it is always recommended to do thorough research before buying a dishwasher.

Apart from the above wash cycles, these intelligent features also help in using the dishwasher more efficiently. Most reputed brands include these high-tech features in their dishwashers.

  • Automatic Alerts

Some brands have even added technology to send you alerts when the dishwasher detergent is low in quantity or if there has been a power cut. Hence, WIFI connectivity is of immense help when it comes to using a dishwasher.

  • Wifi Connectivity

So, brands have started to add wireless connectivity to all appliances. Using a smartphone as the primary device keeps all tasks sorted. It includes dishwashers so that people can control the device through their phones.

Wireless connectivity can come in different varieties. The simplest thing can be to use a phone as a remote. But, some brands like LG even add wireless diagnostics for their appliances.

In smart dishwashers, a smartphone will allow you to keep an eye on the cycles of change. It may even give you the power to lock or unlock the device. Some are even compatible with the standard intelligent home assistants.

  • Water Recycling

Along with making things more energy efficient, some brands even add good quality filters. Even further, smart dishwashers may include a process to recycle water. But, these are yet to make their way into the most common appliances available in the Indian market.


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