You want the best performance from your dishwasher: from shiny, gleaming glasses to the effective removal of food residue and stains. Though we rely on our dishwashers to do all of this and more, many of us aren’t actually aware of how dishwashing temperature can affect performance. From how the system operates, to the optimal washing temperature and what to do if it isn’t high enough, here’s everything you need to know.
What is the best temperature for dishwashers?
Dishwashers' temperatures are fixed by the manufacturer to make sure it’s the most efficient that it can be. An average dishwasher temperature runs its main cycle at about 130-140°F.1 This is because the temperature of water in the dishwasher needs to be hot enough to ensure that the detergent is fully dissolved and activated, while also dislodging any leftover food and grease. During the rinse phase, the water is heated to slightly higher temperatures of up to 180°F to make sure the dishes are safe to eat from.2 The high heat water also helps with the drying as the dishes will be warm.
Dishwasher temperature and food safety
Any temperature over 110°F is too hot for your hands to withstand.3 However, dishwashing temperatures tend to reach far higher temperatures, and the hotter the water, the more thoroughly your dishes and cutlery will be cleaned.
How to tell if your dishwasher water temperature is not hot enough
You can usually tell that your dishwasher water temperature is not hot enough if your dishes do not come out as clean as they should, or if your dishwasher detergent tablet has not fully dissolved. If you suspect your water temperature is lower than 122°F, consult your hot-water heater’s manual or contact a service technician to adjust your settings.
Can water temperature be so high that it damages your dishwasher?
Although your dishwasher water temperature needs to be hot enough for sparkling clean glasses and a thorough clean, high temperatures combined with lax maintenance can be bad for your dishwasher itself. Also, a water temperature above 140°F from the hot water heater can cause issues, as the water can cause the enzymes in the detergent to die off too quickly and not be able to clean. Here are some of the problems that arise and how best to fix them:
Hot water and limescale
The natural calcium and magnesium content of water can cause limescale to form on the inside of your dishwasher, especially under high heat. Over time, this can cause build-up that can hamper the efficiency of your dishwasher. To solve this, use a product such as Finish® Dishwasher Cleaner once a month to remove the limescale and any grease and food waste that remains. This will make sure that it looks shiny, smells fresh and most importantly, keeps your dishes as clean as possible. This also helps to maintain the machine by removing the buildup that could be filling the hidden parts of the machine.
Hot water and cloudy glasses
High temperatures can also make your glasses appear cloudy over time. Hot water agitates the molecules of the glass. Although still smooth to the naked eye, these small imperfections affect the way light passes through the glass and gives them a cloudy appearance. This would only happen with hot soft water.
Finish® Quantum is specially formulated with the ability to clean the toughest of stains without damaging glassware. This means you don’t have to worry when putting your dishes, and even your crystal, in the dishwasher (be sure to use the appropriate cycle for delicate items). Not only will they get a great clean, but you can rest assured that their shine will be protected, too.
Next time you’re not sure whether your dishwasher is working at the optimal temperature, refer to our tips and tricks to solve the problem. Always take the necessary steps to safeguard your machine and glasses against the effects of hot water.