The program you set the dishwasher to run will have a considerable impact on the time required to wash the dishes, the economy of the wash, and the quality of the cleaning.
We will tell you the advantages of each program and which programs are not worth worrying about, and learn about other settings that allow you to customize the dishwasher program.
Or go directly to our collection of the best dishwashers.
When is it used? You can use it every day.
Why? This procedure is very suitable for regular dirty dishes and daily dirt.
The main or normal program usually washes between 55ºC and 65ºC. Except for some budget models, you can find one on almost all dishwashers.
We test the cleaning ability of each dishwasher, and the difference may surprise you-the best dishwasher keeps everything spotless, while the worst allows you to clean the dishes from last night's dinner.
Check out our dishwasher reviews to find out which is impressive.
When is it used? every day.
Why? The automatic program uses sensors to detect how dirty the meal in the machine is, and then automatically sets the water temperature, the amount of water used, and the washing time to match.
In theory, when stubborn stains need more intense cleaning, this should help clean everything. In the case of only slight stains, this procedure should save you money because it should take less time, powder and water to make the dishes sparkle.
When is it used? Every day, for dishes that are not too dirty
Why? It uses less energy and water than normal or automatic procedures-20-40% less
This is probably the most environmentally friendly way to wash dishes, and it has now become a standard feature in all modern dishwashers-even very basic dishwashers.
Energy saving or ecological programs use less water and wash at lower temperatures. But please note that they usually take longer than standard washing procedures.
When we test dishwashers, we measure the amount of energy and water they use so that we can tell you the cost of running each model for a year. The best can save you more than 300 pounds over its entire life cycle.
Check out our guide to the most energy-efficient dishwashers.
When is it used? Suitable for slightly soiled dishes
Why? It is very useful when you are in a hurry because it takes less time than any other washing method. But usually only recommended for light stains.
In recent years, we have seen a lot of adoption of "fast" washing, and more and more dishwashers use it as the default setting.
They are suitable for slightly soiled tableware that needs to be cleaned quickly, and may take any time between more than an hour to 15 minutes-so if you want a tableware with super fast washing capabilities, please check before buying.
When is it used? For heavily soiled tableware
Why? It uses higher temperature and water volume to clean heavier stains and dirt. But it also consumes more energy and water.
The intensive dishwasher program is perfect for very dirty pots, pans and dishes that usually need to be soaked.
But in order to deal with baking stains, the intensive program uses more energy and water than the main program or energy saving program.
Not every dishwasher is equipped with an intensive program-if you do not plan to use the dishwasher for very dirty items, you can leave it out.
When is it used? For glassware, including wine glasses, champagne glasses and porcelain
Why? It uses a lower temperature to gently clean delicate items such as glassware and porcelain.
The lower temperature will allow these items to withstand less pressure and help minimize the risk of breakage.
To avoid chipping, make sure that porcelain and glass objects do not touch each other when they are loaded into the dishwasher.
When is it used? If you plan to leave items in the dishwasher for a few days before washing.
Why? This procedure is suitable when your plate is very dirty and you want to rinse off excess food and dirt. It does not clean the dishes.
This is useful if you only put the dishwasher on the dishwasher every few days and do not want to leave the dishes with food on the plates before the next wash.
If you plan to wash the dishes right away, you don’t need to use this program, because most dishwashers’ main programs will rinse at the beginning to remove residual dirt and food. But remember, you should always scrape off the plates and bowls of large pieces of food before putting them in the dishwasher.
When is it used? Every few months.
Why? This program will clean at high temperature to transfer dirt and clean the inside of the machine.
Some dishwashers have a self-cleaning program, which you should run when the dishwasher is empty. This will help your dishwasher stay in good condition, thereby extending its life and reducing the possibility of drainage problems.
Depending on the type of dishwasher you have, the system will advise you whether to use detergent for this purpose. If in doubt, check your manual for guidance.
Learn more about how to clean the dishwasher
If you don’t have much to wash, you can consider using a half-load program.
This is a convenient feature, but can use up to 90% of the water and energy used at full load.
If operating costs and energy are important to you, it is worth waiting until the dishwasher is full before using the energy saving program.
Mute or silent programs are becoming more and more common in high-end dishwashers. They claim to reduce the noise generated during filling and washing, which is convenient if you live in an open house.
In the same dishwasher, these are a combination of intensive washing and rinsing, including high temperatures up to 70°C.
In other cases, it may simply be a high-temperature short-pulse flush after the end of the normal procedure.
These procedures are often advertised as making dishes sterile.
Wash twice one after another, but in one program to achieve a more thorough cleaning.
For very dirty dishes, such as greasy pans after baking.
Gently wash the top shelf-usually for glasses-combined with a more intense wash on the bottom shelf for pans and hard dirt.
More and more dishwashers are equipped with additional settings. These are not programs, but allow you to customize the program options more for a variety of purposes-from saving time to more. These are the most common:
To learn more about which products to buy and which features can and cannot be used, please visit our guide to the best dishwashers.