How long does it take for a dishwasher to run?

Has it ever happened that you’ve put the dishes in the dishwasher, and after watching what feels like 100 videos on the internet, it’s still not done?

If that sounds familiar, you’re in the right place. We often put clothes in the dryer or dishes in the washer and forget about it, only to come back to see it still doing its thing. When it comes to a dishwasher, each cycle’s duration is determined by several factors.

Some determining factors include how old the machine is, the type of cycle, and the number of clean dishes. For this post, we have conducted some in-depth research regarding dishwasher cycles. Today, we will be talking about how long does a dishwasher run for, among many other things.

Enough chit-chat, let’s dive into the details now!

How Long Should Dishwasher Run?

Dishwasher Cycles – New and Old

Before we get into the duration of each cycle of a dishwasher, let’s talk about the kind of cycles the dishwasher has. Much like a clothes washer, it has a minimum of three standard cycles – light, normal, and heavy. While there may be more than these in premium dishwasher models, all of them have some basic cycle options.

A light cycle is mainly for glassware and any delicate utensil. Normal cycles, on the other hand, are for dishes that are used every day. Finally, a heavy cycle is for anything that needs a deep clean such as cookware with stubborn stains. Since they are three different cycles aimed at different things, the duration also differs.

Apart from these standard functions, modern dishwashers have additional features like quick wash, auto wash, half load, and more. Needless to say, even in these modes, the duration will differ.

How Long Does A Dishwasher Cycle Last?

Now, coming to the most important aspect of this post – we are here to answer the age-old question: how long does a dishwasher take to run? Although the cycle type does matter, the general range of a typical dishwashing cycle can range from 1 hour to 4.5 hours. For standard dishes that do not need any special attention, a cycle could go on for at least 2 hours.

The thing worth remembering is that while older standard dishwashers took less time, they also consumed a lot of water and energy. With advancing tech, companies are trying to minimize water wastage and increase efficiency. This often leads to an increased duration for washing since a lower quantity of water is being used.


Discussing two significant points regarding dishwashers is not enough, especially for people who are new to this appliance. While many use it as they would use a clothes washer, some people do have certain doubts. Read on to find the answers to common issues regarding dishwashers.

Is there a specific time to run the dishwasher?

Many people argue that dishwashers should be used during the day since the noise might be disturbing at night. However, it is important to consider that using it during the day can lead to vast energy consumption since many more appliances will be running. Be it a TV or clothes washer, combining it with a dishwasher can waste energy.

That’s why it is essential to be smart about the amount of energy that is being consumed. Using the dishwasher at night before sleeping or while a majority of the family members sleep ensures that only one major appliance is running. This way, nothing else consumes energy.

As far as the noise is concerned, it can be way more distracting during the day when you’re trying to focus on doing other things. At night, that’s the only source of noise, and if it is low enough, it can be in the background like white noise.

Is the cycle that long or is my dishwasher damaged?

One of the most common doubts is whether the dishwasher is broken or if it generally has a long cycle. This type of doubt usually occurs after the dishwasher has been used a decent number of times. In the initial days, if the cycle is long, that’s mainly the case because it’s a new machine that needs to calibrate.

A longer cycle could also be due to the load in the washer or maybe the sensors adjusting to a deeper clean. However, after some time, if the machine still takes longer than usual on an average load, look at the user manual.

Standard cycle times are given in the manual, making it easy to figure out if there is a problem at all. In such a case, we recommend getting in touch with a professional at the earliest.

Is it safe to open the dishwasher mid-cycle?

Yes and no! This is totally dependent on the mode the dishwasher is on. In specific cycles, opening it in the middle does not hamper the cleaning. However, we would advise not to open it when it is in a drying stage, as that will interrupt the process.

And do not worry, as your kitchen will not be flooded with water if the dishwasher is opened mid-cycle like it’s shown in the movies.

Final Words

To reiterate before we bid adieu, a dishwashing cycle can have a range of 1 to 4.5 hours. That being said, standard units can have a cycle that’s about 2 hours long at the very least. If you find a new model which boasts of faster cycle times, the chances are that it consumes a lot of energy which is not ideal today.

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