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How Long Does A Dishwasher Run For?

How Long Does A Dishwasher Run For?

A dishwasher is a great home appliance. Dishes are one of the most hated chores in the entire house. But if you have a dishwasher, no one in the house has to fight over who’s going to do the dishes after dinner.

Just load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher and turn it on. But how long does a dishwasher run for?

The time a dishwasher runs depends on the selected cycle. Some dishwasher cycles only last for about half an hour, while other cycles can last for up to four hours.

Dishwashers also have a cleaning cycle that cleans the dishwasher itself. Manufacturers build dishwashers with a silent mode so they make minimal noise. You can turn on the dishwasher at 2:00 a.m. and not wake a single person in the house.

Dishwasher manufacturers create their appliances with water-saving features. Washing a load of dishes in the dishwasher will only use about 10% of the water if the same load of dishes were washed by hand.

Woman putting tablet in dishwasher detergent box

How Long Does a Dishwasher Run For?

Loading a dishwasher full of dishes and pressing one or two buttons is so much easier than washing dishes yourself.

Not only will using a dishwasher automate the tedious task of doing the dishes, but the dishwasher uses much less water than traditional hand washing. You won’t waste water and you can slightly lower your water bill.

Using a dishwasher is not faster than hand washing dishes. But, when you use a dishwasher to wash the dishes, you don’t need to stand in front of the sink. Just press the button and go on and do whatever you want to do.

The time it takes for the dishwasher to clean a load of dishes depends on the selected cycle.

Regular Wash Cycle

Most regular dishwasher cycles run for about an hour. Some take about 45 minutes, and other types of dishwashers take an hour and 45 minutes. But an hour or an hour and a half seems to be the general time for a regular cycle.

Speed Cycle

Most dishwashers have a fast cycle or a speed type. Some speed cycles take less than 45 minutes and some speed cycles can take 20 minutes. This cycle is best for utensils and small cups.

Heavy or Ultimate Cycle

Plates and pans coated with heavy sauces or burnt pans will need to go through a heavy wash cycle. On average, a heavy wash cycle can take anywhere from two and a half to 4 hours.


Besides a heavy cycle, regular cycle, or speed cycle, you can also program your dishwasher to pre-wash a load of dishes. Pre-washing usually takes anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.

Sanitizing Cycle

Let’s say the dishwasher programmed a load of dishes and then you forgot to remove the dishes for 3 days. If you do not remove the dishes within a few hours, moisture and wetness can build up around the dishes. But you don’t want to run the wash cycle all over again. You can program the dishwasher to run a sanitizing cycle. But running a sanitizing cycle can take over 3 hours!

Woman checking dishwasher

Can I Leave the House While the Dishwasher is On?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to leave your home while the dishwasher is on. The dishwasher is an automatic appliance so it will turn off when it completes the cycle. Some modern dishwashers can even connect to Wi-Fi. When the dishwasher connects to your Wi-Fi signal, you can control it through your smartphone.

By connecting your dishwasher to your smartphone, you can monitor its progress and receive a message if there is an issue. You will also receive an alert when the cycle is done.

A regular load of dishes takes longer than it used to a year ago. Is there something wrong with my dishwasher?

There could be two reasons your dishwasher is taking longer than usual to wash a load of dishes.

The Dishwasher Is Old

The first reason is the age of the dishwasher. As appliances get older, they will not be as powerful and they will take longer to do the same amount of work. This is just the natural deterioration of an aging machine.

You can call a maintenance person to service your dishwasher and repair any old or broken parts. It may or may not help speed up the cycle of the dishwasher, but it can help. If your dishwasher is slowing down, it has probably been a while since you last cleaned it.

Food buildup can slow down a dishwasher. Activate the dishwashers’ self-cleaning routine, as it may improve the performance of the next few washing cycles.

Your Dishwasher Could Be Broken

The second reason is a part of the dishwasher is breaking and preventing the machine from working properly. Calling a maintenance person would definitely resolve this issue, as they will pinpoint the problem in the dishwasher and fix it. The dishwasher may need a new part. When you replace the broken part, the dishwasher’s performance should improve.

How to Clean a Dishwasher

In order to keep your dishwasher clean and functioning properly, clean it from time to time. Cleaning the dishwasher will prevent bacteria from building up on the rubber and mechanical parts, and it can clean away any food particles that have fallen in the cracks and crevasses.

Cleaning the dishwasher is relatively simple. All dishwashers have a self-cleaning cycle. Just add the soap to the soap compartment, close the dishwasher door and allow it to run until it finishes the cleaning cycle.

Here is how to prepare the dishwasher for a self-cleaning cycle:

First, remove everything inside of the dishwasher. There should not be any plates, pans, bowls, utensils, and cups. There shouldn’t be any racks or other removable items that came with the dishwasher. The dishwasher must be completely empty.

Since you must remove the racks, you yourself will have to wash the racks in the sink. Dishwasher racks can handle hot water so allow them to soak in the hot water for at least 20 minutes.

Now, check around the floor of the dishwasher and remove any small food pieces. Also, look for any small pieces of glass on the bottom as well.

Now you can start the self-cleaning cycle. In every dishwasher manufacturer’s guide, there should be a recommended brand of dishwasher soap to use to clean the dishwasher. Some dishwasher manufacturers use baking soda and hot water, while others recommend using small dishwasher soap tablets.

If you no longer have the manufacturers guide, you can download one off the internet. Just go to the manufacturer’s website and type in the make and model and the word guide.

After the dishwasher finishes its cleaning routine, add baking soda to the empty compartment in the dishwasher and have it go to the self-cleaning cycle again. Baking soda is a great natural cleaner that can help remove any bacteria or food particles that survived the first cleaning cycle.

Conclusion to How Long a Dishwasher Runs For

The dishwasher cycle can take anywhere from half an hour to an hour to 4 hours! A heavy cycle can take about 3 hours, while a regular wash cycle can take about an hour and a half.

You can also program the dishwasher to run a pre-washing cycle, which will add 15 minutes to half an hour. If you notice your dishwasher running slower than usual, a part in the dishwasher might be broken or it could slow down with age.

Wash your dishwasher at least once a month to prevent food building from slowing the machine.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.