One of the most innovative inventions by modern technology – dishwasher has taken convenience to an entirely new level. The very basic household chore of dishwashing which (very honestly) most women dread doing because it’s time-consuming, tiring and, let’s face it, not a very pleasant one either.

However, with the invention of dishwashers, this never-ending chore for women was put to rest – giving them some breather from the everyday mundane task of washing dish after dish, sometimes multiple times a day.

The dishwasher assured users that all they need to do henceforth is to chuck in all the dirty dishes into an electrical appliance and then literally forget about them! And, even if they do so after dinner, they can enjoy a restful sleep because their dishes would be awaiting them hot and dry, not to forget spotless clean, the next morning.

Dishwashers are also known to save water and electricity compared to handwash, so if you are someone who also cares about the environment, dishwashers are perfect for you. If you do decide to buy a standard sized dishwasher, we’d recommend dishwashers with hard food disposers. On the contrary, for all our readers short on storage space, we’ve compiled a list of sturdy yet cost-effective tabletop dishwashers. The size of the dishwasher you choose would depend on your kitchen size.

Who Invented the Dishwasher?

Let’s start with who was the mastermind behind this fantastic creation that changed the way dishes would be washed in the new era. Interestingly, it was indeed a woman who could understand the agony of others like her around the world and came up with this brilliant idea. It was Josephine Cochran from the USA, and she applied for a patent for the invention in 1887 (yes it’s that long ago), which was granted to her a year after in 1888.

According to Cochran, her invention allowed the dishes to come clean “very readily owing to the force with which the spray is dashed against them, only a very few strokes of the pump being required for that purpose.”

Parts of a Dishwasher And How Does It Work

How Does A Dishwasher Work?

Now this robotic mechanical appliance works on some basic components which complete an entire dishwashing cycle detailed later in this post. Following are the vital parts of a dishwasher:

  • Pump – It’s powered by an electric motor which triggers the pump cycle in the dishwasher. During this cycle, the pump propels water up into the spray arms that spray water over the dirty dishes for washing them.
  • Intake Valve – The water supply from your home faucet enters the dishwasher via this route. When the valve opens, water force pushes water into the appliance. There may be times when the valve gets clogged up, in that following these instructions to unclog your dishwasher should help.
  • Basins and Racks – These are the places inside the unit where the dirty dishes need to be stacked up neatly and carefully to undergo the whole washing cycle. 
  • Water Heater – The heating elements herein heat the water to a temperature of 130-140°F for thoroughly washing and rinsing the dishes. 

How Does a Dishwasher Work Inside?

Now let’s look at how a dishwasher operates; what happens inside a dishwasher – this genius appliance that can wash dishes the same way (or perhaps even better) than our hands!

  1. Our home water supply propels cold water into the dishwasher.
  2. The heating element located at the bottom of the unit starts heating the water to warm temperature of 30-60°C. Note that this temperature is way hotter than that of the water we may be using to wash the dishes by hand. For this reason, dishwashers are considered more hygienic as they better remove bacteria due to hot water and longer wash cycles than hand-washing.
  3. An electric pump at the bottom of the dishwasher propels the water up through the sidewalls of the unit. 
  4. The water then flows through holes in the bottom, the metal paddle, making it rotate. 
  5. Relatively cooler water is then pushed up through the holes in the upper part of the machine, the plastic paddle, enabling it to spin as well.
  6. At this stage, the water gets mixed with the detergent or a tablet/pod that you place in the automatic dispenser of the machine. The detergent-dissolved water is then pushed into the spray arms located across the machine, particularly at the bottom and top, and sometimes under the top rack. 
  7. Once the water has bounced off the dishes, and taken all the stains on them along with it, the water pushes down to the bottom of the machine again where the heating elements again heat it and pump the water around the circuit. At the end of the wash cycle, the water is drained out, and the machine is filled with fresh water for rinsing. 

How Does a Dishwasher Dry Dishes?

How Does A Dishwasher Work?

Some dishwashers may even provide for the dry cycle (optional), wherein the heating element at the bottom of the appliance heats the air inside the dishwasher for drying out the wet dishes. You can also let the dishes dry out naturally to save energy. 

There are other heat-efficient ways too which can save energy as well as help your dishwasher perform its role more efficiently. For instance, consider using a rinse aid to assist in the drying cycle. It enables the water on the dishes to roll off them instead of forming droplets over them. 

If your dishwasher has a heating element, there must be an option for you to turn on the heated dry mode manually. This would speed up the process of drying the dishes, so you get to enjoy perfectly dry and even warm dishes that feel as cosy and clean as the warm and clean clothes from your washing machine dryer!

Here are some other quick tips on drying your dishes faster and more effectively –

  • Load your dishes the right way into the appliance. Believe it or not, this largely impacts the efficacy of the drying cycle of your dishwasher.
  • Leave the unit’s door ajar for a few minutes before unloading the dishes off it. This lets the moisture trapped within to escape. 
  • While unloading, start with the bottom rack first to avoid any excess water from the top dishes to drip onto the bottom ones.


A dishwasher is an amazing creation that makes life a lot easier. Now you can finally enjoy a guilt-free glass of wine without worrying about loads of dishes in the sink to wash up. Besides, the glass from which you drink is now spotless. If you have any other queries on the dishwasher, you can read our FAQs or comment below.

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