The Surprising Reason Dishwashers Take Longer to Clean Dishes Than Washing Machines Do to Clean Clothes

Have you ever wondered why your dishwasher takes significantly longer to clean dishes than your washing machine does to clean clothes? It’s a common question that many people ask, especially when they’re waiting for their dishes to be ready. The answer to this question lies in the different processes and technologies used by these two appliances. Let’s delve into the details to understand why dishwashers take longer to clean dishes than washing machines do to clean clothes.

The Cleaning Process

Firstly, it’s important to understand that dishwashers and washing machines clean in fundamentally different ways. A dishwasher sprays hot water and detergent onto the dishes, then rinses them off. This process is repeated several times to ensure all food particles are removed. On the other hand, a washing machine agitates clothes in a drum filled with water and detergent, then spins them to remove the water. This process is faster because it’s more direct and less repetitive.

Heat and Drying

Another factor that contributes to the longer cleaning time of dishwashers is the heat and drying process. Dishwashers use heat to sanitize dishes and a drying cycle to ensure they’re ready to be put away. This process can take up to an hour. Washing machines, on the other hand, do not have a drying cycle. Clothes are usually spun to remove excess water, then hung up or put in a separate dryer to dry. This makes the washing process quicker.

Energy Efficiency

Modern dishwashers are designed to be energy efficient. This means they use less water and electricity, but it also means they take longer to clean dishes. The dishwasher uses a process called ‘soak and pulse’ which involves soaking the dishes in hot water and detergent, then spraying them with water to remove the detergent. This process is repeated several times, which takes longer but uses less water and energy. Washing machines, on the other hand, use a lot of water and energy to clean clothes quickly.


In conclusion, the reason dishwashers take longer to clean dishes than washing machines do to clean clothes is due to the different cleaning processes, the heat and drying process, and the focus on energy efficiency. While it may be frustrating to wait for your dishes to be clean, remember that your dishwasher is working hard to ensure your dishes are sanitized and ready to use, while also saving water and energy.

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