Dishwashers are one of life’s great conveniences. We do not really need a dishwasher, but they sure make things easier. The only downside to having a dishwasher is that planned obsolescence often rears its ugly head.
When you buy a dishwasher, it is only a matter of time before it breaks down and needs to be repaired or replaced. That means buying a new dishwasher. For something so convenient, a dishwasher usually becomes very inconvenient.
Thankfully, that need not always be the case. There are some dishwashers out there which last for a long time, and there are things which you can do to lengthen the life of your dishwasher. With a few simple tweaks to your buying process and dish washing routine, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and money.
How Long Should A Dishwasher Last?
9 years. That is it. That is your lot. Depending on how you use it, that could extend to 12 years, but most people will have to buy a new dishwasher after using it for 9 years.
Of course, this depends on how you use it. Someone who is using their dishwasher once a day is going to have a dishwasher which will last longer than someone who uses their dishwasher twice a day.
You also need to think about any other factors which may affect your dishwasher, such as electrical surges and the handling of the appliance.
A quality dishwasher will also last a lot longer than a cheap dishwasher, and will often save you more money in the long run.
The bottom line is that your dishwasher should last 9 years but can last a little longer if you take care of it. However, at Durability Matters, we believe that this is not good enough. We believe that if you invest in a high-quality dishwasher and actively take steps to protect that dishwasher, it can last a lot longer, and we have the proof with my dishwasher in progress.
My Dishwasher Story
In 2009, I needed to buy a dishwasher. I was sick and tired of investing my money in appliances which seemed cheap at the outset but actually ended up costing me more money in the long run.
I bought a Bosch Super Silence (model SD6P1B) dishwasher and have never looked back. I use it once a day on the Eco-Cycle, rinse dishes before putting them in to wash, and clean the filter once a year. I only use premium tablets (even though they cost a little more) and bought the dishwasher at a premium price.
Despite spending the extra money, I have saved a lot of money by not having to fix or replace the dishwasher. The dishwasher is still going strong, and I see no signs of it ever stopping (I presume that at time point it will, but that is years away).
With it being a quiet and eco-friendly dishwasher, I also notice that my water and electricity bills are slightly lower because of this dishwasher. It is a win-win-win situation.
How Do You Make Your Dishwasher Last Longer?
So, what can you do to lengthen the life of your dishwasher?
If you want your dishwasher to last for as long as possible, then you have come to the right place. Through a mixture of research and experience, I have some great tips which will boost the longevity of your favorite household appliance (except for perhaps your juicer).
1. Start With Quality
At Durability Matters, we know that investing in quality will save you money in the long run. It may be tempting to buy that cheap dishwasher and save yourself some money, but that dish-washer is going to break down quicker and is probably not going to do as good a job as a high-quality dishwasher.
When you invest in quality, you set yourself up for success. It may cost you more at the outset, but it will save you money in the long run.
2. Scrape, At Least
Before you put your dishes in the dishwasher, scrape off the large debris and chunks of food. You do not necessarily need to rinse the plate (that will help with keeping your filters clean, however, you also have to use more water), but you should remove any solid items which could clog the filter, hose, or pump, and damage them in the process.
Scraping your plate takes a few seconds and makes a world of difference.
3. Care For Your Filter
The filter is there for a reason. You do not want all of the large food particles being sucked through and into the hoses or pump. The filter will catch the larger debris for you. As the filter becomes clogged up, it starts to take a strain on your pump.
Cleaning out your filter regularly will help the pump to run without any strain. If you are scraping your plates before you use the dishwasher, then you will not have to do this as frequently.
The filter is easy to clean, and you usually only have to pull it out from the bottom of the dishwasher, rinse it, and remove anything which is stuck.
4. Watch Out For Hard Water
If you live in an area where the water is hard, then that can cause issues for your dishwasher too. Mineral films can develop inside of the dishwasher, and this can lead to a cloudy film on your dishes.
One easy way to deal with this is to use a citric acid-based dishwasher cleaner. You can also add some vinegar into your wash cycle every week to remove the minerals.
5. Check Your Dishwasher
Once a month, give your dishwasher a once over. This is especially important for the spray arms. If the little holes get clogged or blocked, it can lead to bigger issues down the road.
Cleaning your spray arms is easy, and a pin or a toothpick should be all you need to remove the blockage. The spray arms can also be removed and cleaned by hand every so often.
6. Take A Load Off
When you are filling your dishwasher, resist the urge to overfill it. It can be tempting to add a couple more dishes to complete the load, but this slowly takes its toll on the machine.
With too many dishes in the dishwasher, the spray patterns are thrown off, and you may have to rewash some dishes, either by hand or in another load (further reducing the life of the dishwasher).
Take care not to run partial loads too, or you are lessening the life of the dishwasher unnecessarily.
7. Stick To Dishes
There are many YouTube videos out there that show you how to wash a variety of things in your dishwasher (car parts, for instance). This is a bad idea.
If dishwashers are handling parts which they are not supposed to and being filled with dirt which they are not supposed to be filled with, then it can only make an impact on the lifespan of the dishwasher.
Longevity By Brand
If you are in the market for a new dishwasher, then you should be aware of what brands will give you the most life, and weigh this up against the cost. From this, you should be able to discern your best investment.
For example, a dishwasher that gives you 16 years of use, against one which gives you 10 years of use, but costs twice as much, may not be the best investment (however, better dishwashers usually consume less water and less electricity as well). Of course, you need to factor in the hassle of going out and buying a new one and getting it installed.
Here are our top brands from which to choose.
Not many dishwasher are rated for 20 years but there is one. If you want the dishwasher that will last the longest, and can find it at a good price, then go for a Miele.
LG dishwashers will give you between 10-15 years (and I am sure that you will get 15 years out of it if you care for it).
Kenmore, Beko, Blomberg, Electrolux, and Frigidaire will all give you more than 10 years of usage.
Bosch, Thermador, Maytag, KitchenAid, and Whirlpool will all give you up to 10 years of use.
When To Buy A New Dishwasher
No matter how well you look after your dishwasher, there will always come a time when you need to replace your dishwasher.
Replacing a dishwasher is a sad day for everyone involved, and no one wants to have to do it. Before your dishwasher breaks down completely and causes more trouble, like flooding, you should be preparing to replace it.
So, what are the signs which you should be looking for?
The age is not the best marker, but it can suggest when the end of the life of your dishwasher is getting closer. As dishwashers age, they also become less efficient, which can cost you money and cause you headaches.
As your dishwasher reaches the upper limit of its suggested lifespan, be prepared to replace it.
Any appliance which starts to rust is getting old. If you have some on the outside of your dishwasher, then that is no big deal, but the problems begin when it starts to rust on the inside.
Rust can mean the there is a water leak somewhere inside of the dishwasher. Rust can also begin to fleck off and damage the dishes and pump.
Be sure to check that you did not wash anything with rust on it before you think about replacements.
Is there water left in the dishwasher after running a cycle?
That could be down to a blockage (which can often be easily fixed), but it could also be something more serious.
If there is an issue with the drain, it may need a plumber to fix it, or you might need to think about a replacement.
4. The Door
If the door does not latch or lock, then you could be in big trouble. The door stops the water from getting out, and water getting out can be a major headache. This could be an easy fix (like water in the bottom) or could be a part of something more serious.
Check whether your appliance is still under warranty and if it can be easily fixed.
5. No Heat
The dishes should be hot after the cycle is run. You need that heat to wash the dishes adequately and also to sanitize them. If the water is not getting hot during the clean cycle, then this can pose a health hazard to you and your family.
This could be an easy fix or could be more expensive than the dishwasher itself.
6. Cracks, Leaks, & Unusual Noises
If your dishwasher is cracked in any way, that crack could be letting water out or could at some time in the future. You do not want water to do damage to your floors and walls.
If water is already leaking, then that can be an expensive fix. Try not to get to that point.
If your dishwasher is making funny noises, then that could mean any number of things. It could mean replacing your motor, and that is often more expensive than replacing the dishwasher itself.
Take the time to look after your dishwasher and, hopefully, you will never have to worry about any of the above.