Dishwasher Cycles: Which One to Use and When

Close up of dishwasher controls

You may have noticed that many dishwasher models come with different cycles to choose from. If you are like most people, you end up choosing the normal option most of the time because that’s the easiest one to figure out. However, the other cycles can come in handy as well, and you may even want to consider these cycle options when shopping for your next dishwasher.


This is a great option when you want to load the dishwasher but the load may not be completely full or you would rather run it later. This cycle keeps food from getting caked and dried onto the dishes. Basically, it does the pre-rinsing for you.

Quick Wash

This cycle is usually one pre-rinse cycle shorter than the normal wash. It’s for those times when you are under pressure to get a load done quickly—often less than one hour. It also comes in handy if you have to do a double load after company. 


If your dishwasher model offers this option, use it for wine glasses and fine china. You may still think that your china must be hand-washed, but many dishwashers today have gentler cycles designed to lower the pressure of the jets so that your best dishes get the care they deserve.  


This cycle gets the job done on the average dirty dish. It is energy efficient but not usually very time efficient. It’s a great cycle for every day. 

Pots and Pans

Use this cycle for really dirty dishes or pots and pans that have more baked-on residue. Typically, this cycle adds an extra rinse and uses more powerful jets to get the job done.


Any cycle with this name eliminates 99.9% of bacteria, as required by industry standards. The rinse cycle runs extra hot—150º on most models—and uses a lot of energy. This cycle is best for baby bottles or helping everyone at your house recover after a sickness. Because it uses more energy, only use this cycle occasionally or at night when energy demands are lower. 


This is a great option when you want to capitalize on lower energy costs at night but are afraid you will forget to turn it on before you head to bed. This can also be an option if you don’t want the noise or the heat from the dishwasher to keep your family from enjoying the kitchen. 

Hopefully, this guide gives you the courage to change up your dishwasher cycles and try something different. If you are ready to upgrade to a newer model dishwasher that has more of these options, come into Friedman’s today. We can help you find exactly what you need. 


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