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How Long Do Dishwashers Last?

A collage of dishwashers.

Based on responses from appliance makers, Consumer Reports estimates that the average lifespan of our dishwashers is a decade. However, by half that time, problems with the appliances typically emerge. Some dishwashers last up to fifteen years.

Taking care of our dishwasher is important since it’s not a lifetime appliance. While it is built to last upwards of ten years, low upkeep can lead to problems and ultimately digging into our pockets for a new one.

Let’s get down and dirty (or clean) as we look at the lifespan of dishwashers, how to maintain them and what to avoid.

How Long Do Dishwashers Last?

It’s not a myth that dishwashers only last a few years. Most manufacturers put the lifespan of a dishwasher at around 10 years. Problems with appliances, however, typically emerge by or before the fifth year.

The typical lifespan of a dishwasher is around 10 years, though some brands claim even longer. When it comes time to replace your appliance, you might find the following guidelines helpful:

From Samsung to Whirlpool, Bosch, Kenmore, and most other brands, the manufacturers say the lifespan is 10 years. Meanwhile, Miele says its washer can last for 20 years.

Improving a Dishwasher’s Reliability to Extend Its Lifespan

Close up photo of a kitchen utensils after being washed.

Learn how to get more out of our dishwasher and increase its lifespan with these helpful hints.

  • Reduce your dishwasher’s wear and tear by not using it nightly. To get the most out of the machine, let it fill up completely before initiating a cycle. To top it all off, you’ll spend less on soap and rinse aid. Some dishwashers include racks that can be adjusted to accommodate a wider variety of dish sizes and shapes.
  • Price is often a consideration in making a decision, but putting it ahead of quality might backfire. Appliances of poor quality may need fixing or replacing sooner than intended. The money you save may be canceled out by this. However, you should still do your homework, as a more expensive computer is not always the safest option.
  • As with any new piece of machinery, you must do routine maintenance as directed by the manufacturer. Some washing machine manufacturers suggest using a washer cleaning product once in a while to help eliminate buildup and improve performance. We should scrape dishes before loading, and clean the filter regularly to remove debris.
  • Service with integrity; only use a certified repairman. Investing in a service contract that provides for scheduled maintenance visits is a good idea.

Should I Repair or Buy a New Dishwasher?

Depending on the age of the dishwasher and the terms of any applicable maintenance contract, it is not always cost-effective to make some repairs. In addition, newer models often include improved functionality. Here’s when to call the plumber:

The Drainage Is Inadequate

Close up photo of a freshly installed dishwasher drain.

After the cycle has finished, if there is still liquid at the bottom of the dishwasher, you should look into the problem. Possible causes include obstructions in the drain, both big and small.

Before calling a plumber, make sure the drain is clear of any food particles or other debris that could stop water from escaping at the end of the cycle. The drain may have split or crumbled internally if you don’t see any obvious issues.

Dishes always Come out Cold

The use of hot, soapy water is crucial for achieving a successful dishwashing result. The FDA recommends washing dishes at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, whether you do it by hand or put them in a dishwasher.

Your dishwasher’s heating coil might malfunction if your dishes aren’t hot and steaming when you take them out promptly after the cycle (or electric heater).

This is what makes the water from the faucet extremely hot, which is necessary to kill any bacteria that might be present in the load, so if it breaks, you’re probably looking at a hefty repair or replacement bill. In some cases, a new machine may be the best option.

Energy Efficiency Is Poor

A photo of a professional repairman repairing some wiring in the dishwasher.

Your appliance’s energy efficiency is important, but it may not be as pressing as the aforementioned concerns. Upgrading to an Energy Star style dishwasher is a good idea if your current one is older than ten years. 

The accreditation indicates the machine cleans better, consumes less water every cycle, and is significantly quieter than the one you’re replacing.

Rust is Visible

Every once in a while, use a white towel or rag to clean the area beneath the dishwasher. Flake-like rust is an indication of water intrusion into unintended areas. The time has come to replace your current dishwasher with a new one.

If you find rust on the tub of your dishwasher, check to see if any of the plates (pie sheets, cookie sheets, etc.) came into contact throughout the last cycle. If that’s the case, a cycle without any items in it and some citric acid should do the trick. If the metal or plastic is corroding and rust appears, a more extensive repair or complete replacement is required.

Funny Noises

Close up photo of a some kitchen utensils and cutlery being washed with splashed waters.

Dishwasher motors and pumps can make some unusual noises from time to time. Both the pump and motor are relatively easy to access and repair because of their compact sizes. If that doesn’t happen, you need to get a new washer.

Dripping Water/Leaks

Puddles after each cycle may be the result of a worn door gasket. However, flaws in the dishwasher itself are another common cause of leakage. If that’s the case, you’ll need to get a brand-new one.

There Are Problems With The Door’s Latching Mechanism

The washer won’t turn on if the lock isn’t closed completely. It could be as easy as replacing the latch, or it could be a symptom of more serious problems, such as leaks causing the machine to deform. Therefore, you should get a replacement unless you plan to resort to hand washing from here on out.

Ways to Preserve the Lifespan of our Dishwasher

We want to get the most out of our dishwasher after spending so much money on it. Here’s how:

Don’t Rinse the Plate, Just Clear it

A woman removing some plates from her dishwasher.

Most dishwashers don’t require a pre-rinse, but you should still remove these materials using a scraper. These tough particles can rip the filter to shreds, ruin the pump’s impeller, and clog the drain hose.

Help to Clean the Filter

If your dishwasher doesn’t contain a food grinder, you’ll have to remove the remaining bits of food from the filter by hand. Do it monthly, or more frequently as needed. When you start noticing a decline in washing performance or your dishes start to feel gritty, it’s time to replace the detergent.

In most dishwashers, once the bottom rack is removed, there’s a plastic cylinder that we can unscrew and lift out. Remove any remaining particles from the filter by rinsing it well. Soft sponges and warm soapy water are acceptable for removing hard food particles, but steel wool and abrasive brushes can harm the filter and should be avoided.

Also, if you see any holes in the filter, you should get a new one right away so that no seeds or splinters of bone make it into the pump. If they don’t, they risk ruining expensive components like the motor seals and pump impeller.

Related: How to clean a dishwasher properly

Eliminate The Gunk From the Door Seal

Close up photo of a man holding a dishwasher door seal with grease.

We can use towels and white vinegar to remove the residue along with food particles that accumulate in the seal between the tub and dishwasher door when needed. This accumulation can generate unpleasant odors, promote the growth of mold, and prevent the door from closing correctly.

When cleaning a stainless steel door or tub, you should not use bleach-based wipes, strong chemicals, scouring pads, or anything else that could scratch the surface.

Clear Away Mineral Buildup Caused by Hard Water

It’s common for dishwasher interiors to become discolored and covered in mineral deposits if you reside in a region with hard water. The rack rails and wheels may experience friction and the dishes and interior of your machine may develop a foggy coating due to these deposits, as described by Hofmann.

To keep your dishwasher in tip-top shape, experts advise cleaning it once a month with a cleanser containing citric acid. To eliminate the residue left by hard water, use the product as directed.

When dealing with hard water, some people recommend adding a regeneration salt to the dishwasher’s water softening system. As a result, cleaning is enhanced, as spots and clouding are less likely to occur. The salt has the additional benefit of keeping the dishwasher free of mineral deposits.

The spray arms should be looked at as number five. Make sure the spray nozzles, also known as wash arms, are clean and unblocked every few months.

Close up photo of a dishwasher interior with greases and food particles.

There’s no need to panic if you find food particles clogging a spray nozzle; just use a toothpick or a pipe cleaner to carefully pry them out. You must be careful not to distort the hole in any way. The dishwasher’s effectiveness and spray pattern may be impacted.

To clean the spray arms, you can detach the bottom one by giving it a light tug at its base. Using a Phillips head screwdriver, remove the middle wash arm from the bottom of the top rack.

Put some rust preventative on the shelves. Replace any time tips that become damaged or chipped, or reapply vinyl paint to restore the plastic coating. A lack of this preventative measure could lead to rusty metal particles entering the pump via the racks.

Seven, make sure it isn’t stuffed to the gills. If there are too many dishes in the dishwasher, the water spray patterns will be impeded and the dishes won’t get clean. Your dishwasher’s lifespan will be shortened because you will have to wash the dishes again.