When you sit down and list out the myths that surround dishwashers, there really are so many!  We’ve all heard at least a handful of them.

So the team at dishwashingexpert.com.au got together and busted the top 10 myths about dishwashers.

Read on … you’ll feel great if you already own a dishwasher and if you don’t, you’ll be rushing out to find the best one to suit your needs!

Myth No. 1  |  A dishwasher fills up with water and therefore costs me money on my Water bill!

Anyone who opens their dishwasher door in mid-wash will see a surprisingly small amount of water – less than a bowl-full in the base of the machine.  This is because a dishwasher actually cleans and recycles small amounts of water to be ultra-efficient. It’s been calculated that 10 litres of water has the equivalent cleaning effect of 4,000 litres, passing through the machine!

Myth No. 2  |  Bacteria builds up inside damp dishwashers …

We are facing bacteria everyday and everywhere in our lives. At home, it is mainly the kitchen where most of the bacteria is found. This is due to food remnants, humidity and insufficient kitchen hygiene. Indeed, wet and dirty hand wash utilities, tea towels and the kitchen drain itself provide perfect living conditions for bacteria if these items are not cleaned regularly.

The high temperature in a dishwasher plus the bleach in the detergent ensure that bacteria is removed in a dish washing cycle. However, food remnants can build up on the door gasket and seals of a dishwasher. Because these parts don’t get in contact with water and detergent, they need to be cleaned regularly by hand. Clean the door gasket with a damp cloth to remove food particles and other debris. Also clean the door seal, located inside the dishwasher at the bottom of the door.

Myth No. 3  |  Dishwashers are not for small families or couples …

Many people think they won’t have enough dishes to fill a dishwasher and so may not be using it efficiently. However, dishwashers come in a range of different sized models, not only 60cm wide appliances.

For example, modern slimline dishwashers are only as wide as a standard cupboard at 45cms, while compact dishwashers can fit on worktops. Slimline models can be loaded with 8 to 9 place settings, compact dishwashers with 4 to 6 place settings. And both dishwasher types work as efficiently as the standard sized model. Before purchasing a dishwasher, it is useful to review the amount of dishes available.

Many standard sized dishwasher models feature the half-load function for when just a few items need to be washed. That means only upper or lower basket contents are cleaned during a cycle.

Myth No. 4  |  Items washed by hand come out cleaner than from the dishwasher …

For getting a good cleaning result when washing up by hand, you need to bring in a lot of mechanical force as this is the main cleaning factor. Temperature and the hand wash liquid itself are less effective as the maximum temperature can only reach about 45°C and the detergent needs to be a mild formulation.
This is different for automatic dishwashing where temperatures can rise up to 70°C and the detergent includes different ingredients which are specially formulated to remove various food residues, like starch, protein or bleachable stains. A dishwasher works more effectively on food stains, as proven in different studies by Bonn University. Results show that washing in a dishwasher leads to better cleaning results than washing up by hand.

Download Bonn University Abstract on washing up vs dishwasher here.

Any unreliable cleaning results could be due to poor loading, or use of low quality detergents. See our Tips section!

Myth No. 5  |  A dishwasher doesn’t clean pots, pans and cookware properly.

Heavily soiled items like pots, pans and cookware should be washed in an intensive cycle with higher temperatures. Together with the detergent recommended by your manufacturer, even the toughest stains like grease and baked-on food will be removed.

Finish Quantum tablets contains powerful stain-soaking enzymes and due to its fast solubility (< 5 minutes) it releases the enzymes early in the cleaning cycle when the lower temperature (< 50°C) creates the right conditions to break down baked on stains. This means you don’t need to pre-wash those tough to clean dishes like lasagne or shepherds pie.

Myth No. 6  |  A Dishwasher uses lots of electricity which means big electricity bills.

A recent study showed that washing up dishes by hand uses more electricity than using a dishwasher. The electricity in a dishwasher is used to heat up the water which is pumped and recycled around the machine. The less water used, the less electricity is needed to heat up the water.

Compared to washing dishes by hand, dishwashers use much less water. A modern dishwasher needs as little as 6.5L of water, while washing up the same amount of dishes by hand uses up to 49L (Source Intertek). Dishwashers heat up the water in a very efficient way by using a continuous-flow heater which results in less heat loss than heating water in a tank and transporting it to the sink. In addition, the appliance is insulated to avoid heat losses from the interior space.

Myth No. 7  |  Your best glasses get damaged in the dishwasher.

Glassware is generally suitable for the dishwasher: However, depending on the type of glass and the conditions in the machine, in a few instances the glass may become cloudy. A fundamental distinction can be made between two different clouding effects on glass:

1) Lime deposits: These are caused by inadequate water softening, and can easily be removed by rubbing with citric acid or vinegar. In Australia, this is generally not a concern, however as a precaution, ensuring sufficient rinse aid is added to the rinse aid dispenser will prevent lime deposits on glasses.

2) Glass corrosion: Glass corrosion is a form of damage to the glass which cannot be rectified, caused by the washing-away of the surface of the glass. Glass damage such as this can also be seen on standard window glass which turns “opaque” over time. Poor glass quality, very severely softened water in the dishwasher, as well as high temperatures and long programme cycles are critical factors in the occurrence of glass corrosion. The following tips should help you to prevent corrosion to your glasses:

  • When buying glasses, pay attention to whether they are guaranteed dishwasher-proof. Ensure that your water softener unit is set correctly.
  • Only clean your glasses at low wash temperatures, e.g. in glass / gentle / delicate / quick programmes
  • Once the wash programme is completed (after drying!), open the dishwasher door briefly and allow the water steam to be drawn off. This is not necessary if your machine is equipped with a drier fan. Only remove glasses once the machine has cooled down.
  • Ensure that the rinse aid dispenser setting is adequate.
  • Use dishwasher detergents such as Finish Quantum which have been tested for their care of the items to be washed.
  • Use Finish Protector for 100% protection against glass corrosion. It consists of an alkali phosphate glass which has much lower water resistance than normal domestic glass, and thus gradually dissolves over the course of around 50 washing cycles depending on the washing conditions, e.g. water temperature. Using a soluble glass has the following key advantage: if the specific washing conditions are likely to cause damage to drinking glasses, then a larger quantity of Finish Protector dissolves. Thus this innovative glass releases components which guard against glass corrosion throughout the entire washing process as required.

Myth No. 8  |  A dishwasher takes at least 2 hours to run through its cycle.

This is true on Eco- or Energy Saving Cycles, recommended for every day loads with normal soil levels. In these programmes, the water is heated up and circulated in a much longer time compared to normal or even intensive cycles, which saves a lot of energy.
If you run the dishwasher during the night, you can also save money by using cheaper electricity rates. And if you have lightly soiled dishes such as glasses, cups and saucers, use a short / gentle / delicate / glass programme which only can take around 30 minutes to run.

Myth No. 9  |  Dishwashers take up more space than they’re worth!

Dishwashers can be a useful and valuable labour saving investment for their owners, who soon realise the many unexpected benefits. However, many non-owners fear they won’t be able to fill it or find space for it in their kitchens.

That’s why dishwashers come in a range of different sized models, not only 60cm appliances. For example, modern slimline dishwashers are only as wide as a standard cupboard at 45cms, while compact dishwashers can fit on worktops. Slimline models can be loaded with 8 to 9 place settings, compact dishwashers with 4 to 6 place settings. And both dishwasher types work as efficiently as the standard sized model.

Before purchasing a dishwasher, it is therefore quite useful to recap the amount of dishes that need to be cleaned in the household. And if you still want to buy a standard sized dishwasher, there are models featuring the half load function for when there are just a few items to wash.

Myth No. 10  |  The dishwasher is only for times when you have a crowd of people to clean up after.

Your dishwasher comes with a full range of different programmes that suit a variety of occasions ranging from daily loads to party dishes and family feasts such as Christmas, when it really comes into its own:

  • For daily loads Eco, Automatic and Regular programmes are suited to clean large and mixed loads with normal soiling.
  • For parties where glasses are needed very urgently in a short period, a quick or short cycle is the ideal choice to clean lightly soiled items perfectly. Use Finish All-in-1 tablets which are perfectly suited also for short cycles. Just put the tablet on the bottom of your dishwasher near to the filter.
  • Family occasions like Christmas bring a lot of joy but also a lot of dirty dishes and cookware after a delicious meal. Your dishwasher is perfectly able to deal with this using the Power Scrub / Intensive Programme. Together with Finish Quantum detergent, you will even be able to get rid of baked-on or hard dried-on food remnants from pots and pans. Due to its high water temperature it is not suited for delicate items which need to be washed at lower temperatures.

A dishwasher is for Life, not just for Christmas!

All the information in this post was compiled by the team at dishwashingexpert.com.au.  Visit the dishwashingexpert.com.au site for hints, tips, useful information, dishwasher reviews, instructional videos and cost calculators.

  • My son just got a dishwasher. Happy to see many myths about them busted


  • All interesting myths but a dishwasher does it all,so handy!


  • We don’t have a dishwasher and have no plans for one. These are handy tips to have if you do own one


  • I’ve never used a dishwasher in my life.. Probably because every house iv’e lived in hasn’t had one lol


  • My dishwasher sat unused in my new home for 6 months — because I believed most of the myths above. Once I learned how to pack my dishwasher correctly and most effectively, I have never looked back. I always refer to it as my best friend!!!


  • What a great article, thankyou. I especially like the part about the glassware as I have a few cheap wine glasses that have suffered and now I can stop trying to clean the cloudiness off them and just be content that they now look like they do and keep them for everyday use not for visitors.
    Does anyone know how often i should run a dishwasher cleaner product through and does this really need doing?


  • Very informative and as I have just purchased a new dishwasher, the article made me glad I had!!!!


  • This is useful information for me as we have just bought our first dishwasher and I wasn’t sure what was the best detergent to use. I am also now convinced that we have done the right thing in buying one. Thank you for the insight.


  • good to know – thanks!


  • Dishwashers are great. No more dry, cracked hands from detergents. Dishes are sparkling clean. Saves heaps of time after evening meal. Some bulky items and precious things need to behind washed but that’s no very often. No harping at the kids to dry dishes.


  • OMG I did not even have to reach the end of this article to realise it was made/produced by finish/Reckitt Benckiser.
    I do how ever love LoVe LOVE my dishwasher.

    • And the biggest myth of them all??

      There are other brands of Dishwasher detergent that work just as well, if not better, than Finish! not that this advertorial would ever mention that lol


  • Thank you for a wonderful article, I bet there were lots of us out there who learnt a thing or two. Yes, I like my dishwasher and it does save time.


  • Great to be able to distinguish fact from fiction.


  • I have a benchtop dishwasher & it is fabulous. I run it after 11pm to save on electricity costs. The water is hot throughout the cycle, unlike washing up in the sink where the water temperature diminishes from the time you close off the tap.


  • Many things are true in that.. but still it reduces your time and effort!!


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