How does a Dishwasher Work

We all know how a dishwasher works – dishes go in dirty, and then come out clean. But what you might not realise is exactly what goes on during that process. A dishwasher is a machine that performs a fairly complicated series of actions to make sure your dishes get the clean they need, but the mechanisms behind them are actually quite simple. Most dishwashers follow the same seven step process:

  1. Add water. This doesn’t actually fill up the dishwasher, rather a shallow basin in the bottom.
  2. Heat the water. This is done with a heating element in said basin, which is usually underneath the jet arms.
  3. Add detergent. The detergent is added automatically at the right stage of the wash by the dishwasher’s computer or timer.
  4. Wash dishes. The heated water and detergent is pumped up through the jet arms, and the pressure causes them to spin and shot out the water with enough force to make sure the dishes get a good clean.
  5. Drain the dirty water.
  6. Rinse the dishes. Clean water is added and heated as before, but with no detergent this time. This water is pumped through the jets to make sure there is no detritus or detergent left on the dishes.
  7. Drain the second lot of water.

All we have to do in exchange for all of the hard work a Dishwasher does for you (as well as the obvious things such as actually loading the dishwasher) is to use a dishwasher cleaner once a month. The reasons for having to take care of your dishwasher become a lot clearer when we take a look at the components that make up a dishwasher in more detail.

Heating Element

These are pieces of metal that convert electricity into heat, and heat the water to the correct temperature. As these are in direct contact with the water these are particularly prone to accumulating lime-scale over time.


The pump is a motor that either forces the water through the jets during the clean, or to the drain during the draining process. The dishwasher’s computer opens and closes the valves at the right time to make sure the water goes in the right direction.

Spray Arms

These arms are hollow, and the pressure of the water being pushed through causes these to spin, ensuring that all dishes get an even clean. Food, grease, and other dirt can block these jets over time though so it is important to keep these clean.

Just a monthly use of Finish Dishwasher Cleaner helps remove any lime-scale that does accumulate, as well as the other food and grease detritus that can clog up hidden parts. With this amount of care your dishwasher cleaner can help keep it working at its best.

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