Which dishwasher cycle uses the least water

When selecting the best dishwasher cycle, most of us just choose the same one every time. But modern dishwashers have a variety of settings to accommodate multiple cleaning needs. What’s the best dishwasher cycle to use for pots and pans? The Heavy setting uses more water and hotter temperatures to clean significantly soiled cookware. Here’s how to determine the right cycle to use for each load.

 Choosing the Best Dishwasher Cycle to Use

How do I know the best dishwasher cycle to use for each load of dishes? Knowing what each setting does can help you make the right choice, resulting in cleaner dishes every time. The dishwasher settings explained in this guide detail the purpose of some common cycles and why they’re best suited for that job. 

Normal Wash

This all-purpose setting is the go-to for many households, offering solid cleaning power for a typical dishwasher load. A Normal cycle doesn’t use extra water, longer cleaning times, or hotter temperatures, making it ideal for dishes and glassware without excessive soiling. Overall, this is the best dishwasher cycle to use for dishes that have an average amount of daily dirt and grime.

what dishwasher setting should I use
Photo Credit: Whirlpool

Quick Wash

A dishwasher’s quick wash vs normal wash setting uses extra heat and water to reduce the wash time. Though Quick wash times and methods vary for different brands and models, this setting is usually complete in under an hour. Compared to other settings that can take over 90 minutes, this setting is ideal when you need clean dishes as soon as possible.

Heavy Wash

The best dishwasher cycle to use for heavily soiled loads or cookware with caked-on grime is the Heavy Wash setting. Most Heavy cycles use more water or higher temperatures to wash away baked-on food particles that would otherwise require soaking in the sink. The spray may also be stronger, making it the right choice for heavy-duty pots and pans and sturdy dishware.

best dishwasher cycle to use
Photo Credit: Maytag

Eco Wash

Which dishwasher cycle uses the least water? Eco Wash uses less water at lower temperatures, making it a more environmentally-friendly selection. However, while this setting may save money and resources, it comes with some caveats.

Here’s what to keep in mind when using an Eco Wash setting:

  • To compensate for less water and heat, Eco Wash settings are usually longer than a normal cycle. 
  • Heated drying functions are usually skipped in favor of air drying to save energy. This means you may find your dishwasher leaves dishes wet at the end of this cycle. 
  • Lower water usage and temperatures are not ideal for heavily soiled loads that benefit from higher heat and more water. 

Auto/Sensor Wash

Wondering what dishwasher setting should I use when I’m unsure what’s best? The Auto or Sensor Wash setting can make the decision for you. This cycle detects the soil level of your wash load and automatically chooses the right setting. Taking water usage, temperature, and duration into account, the Auto setting makes the most appropriate choice for that particular load.

The team at Just-In Time Appliance can help you choose the best dishwasher cycle to use or assess any malfunction. Call us when you need expert advice or a dishwasher repair technician.

Picture of Justin Duby

Justin Duby

Justin Duby, a Grants Pass native, opened Just-in Time Appliance Repair in 2014 after working with his grandparents in the appliance repair business for almost 10 years. Justin attends various training programs throughout the year to keep his skills sharp.

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