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How Do Portable Dishwashers Work?

A collage of portable dishwashers.

Do you love your kitchen but feel like you are really missing out because you do not have a dishwasher? Perhaps your kitchen does not have enough room to allow for a traditional dishwasher. As a result, you may feel like you just have to live without one.

However, with portable dishwashers, that is not the case. A portable dishwasher may just be the appliance you need if you have a small space. Continue reading to find out more information about portable dishwashers to determine if they are right for you. 

What is a Portable Dishwasher?

A portable dishwasher is similar to a traditional dishwasher in the way it cleans dishes. What sets a portable dishwasher apart from a conventional dishwasher is that you can move it around. It is not connected to the plumbing in your house like a built-in dishwasher is.

You can clamp a portable dishwasher to the faucet when you need it. When you are not using it, you can roll it out of the way. You can also use it as extra counter space. 

How Do Portable Dishwashers Work?

Side view angle of a portable dishwasher with full dishes and kitchenware.

A portable dishwasher is simple to use, and if you are familiar with using a traditional dishwasher, a portable one will not be much different. For a portable dishwasher to work, you must hook it up to the sink every time you want to use it.

The dishwasher is on wheels, and you can roll it close to the sink. There are some smaller versions that can be placed on a countertop when you want to use them. They must be close enough for you to connect them to the faucet.

The portable dishwasher must be attached to the faucet and plugged into an outlet. When you start the cycle, it pulls clean water from the faucet and dumps dirty water into the sink. 

A portable dishwasher uses an adapter to connect to the faucet. Therefore, it is essential that you know if the portable dishwasher you are purchasing requires a special adapter. You may need to purchase that separately. In addition, there are adaptor kits available, giving you increased flexibility with the placement of your portable dishwasher. 

While a portable dishwasher is smaller than a traditional one, it still offers the same features and options. It has the same type of cycles, such as heavy, normal, and light. They take anywhere between 80 minutes to 150 minutes. As with a traditional dishwasher, you want to ensure that you scrape any food off the dishes before loading them.

Does a Portable Dishwasher Have to Be Connected to the Sink?

There are some portable dishwasher models that do not have to be connected to the sink. This means they do not require a hookup to work. Instead, they have a built-in water tank that pulls clean water. You must fill up the tank with water before using the machine. 

In most cases, you will have the option of using the faucet or built-in tank for the water. The wastewater still needs to be dumped from the portable dishwasher. You can use a bucket and a hose to remove the water. This type of dishwasher gives you the ultimate portability. These units are often smaller. 

Do Portable Dishwashers Come in Different Sizes?

Close up photo of a thin-sized stainless protable dishwasher isolated in a white background.

Yes, you can typically find a portable dishwasher in one of two sizes. They are 18-inch or 24-inch. The 24-inch is considered full size. The 18-inch option is the smallest option which means it takes up the least amount of space but also requires multiple loads to wash all the dishes. As a result, it is more affordable than the larger model but is not always as efficient. 

The 24-inch option is larger and costs more. This is the more common size and easier to find. This option takes up more space but can also wash more dishes at one time. As a result, you will have to do fewer loads to wash all of your dirty dishes. 

Do Portable Dishwashers Need Maintenance?

Yes, portable dishwashers require some maintenance, just like a traditional dishwasher does. First, you want to ensure that the spray arms are able to spin freely. To do this, you want to reach into the dishwasher and spin the arms to make sure they move.

There should not be anything in the way to obstruct their movement. You should also occasionally clean the seals to ensure that grime does not build up on them. Portable dishwashers also have filters that need to be cleaned on a regular basis. This routine maintenance will ensure that your portable dishwasher functions correctly and fully clean your dishes.

Related: How to clean a dishwasher properly

Additional Points to Know About a Portable Dishwasher

Front side view of the portable dishwasher with colorful dishes and kitchenware isolated in a skyblue background.

Portable dishwashers are portable and convenient, but they are less durable because of their portability. They withstand a large amount of wear and tear from being moved around. As a result, they are at a higher risk of being damaged as they are moved. The connection points are also vulnerable. These points include the hoses and power cables. 

Portable dishwashers are noisy, more so than a traditional built-in option. They do not have the same insulation as conventional models, so the noise is not reduced. Without the sound buffer, you can hear all the moving of water and bumping of dishes.

The tubs in the portable dishwasher are made from plastic, not stainless steel, to keep them lightweight and portable. Unfortunately, the plastic tubs also add to the noise you hear.