Dishwasher Cycle Time: How Long Does It Take?

Do you ever stand in front of your dishwasher, mystified by the dishwasher cycle time? Sometimes, it can be hard to tell how long a cycle will take, and it’s not always clear what each option means.

Generally speaking, one dishwasher cycle may take any time between 2 and 4 hours.

The overall length of the cycle may vary depending on your dishwasher’s model, settings, and the number of dishes you’re trying to clean, among other factors.

Factors Contributing to Dishwasher Cycle Time

There are a few factors that contribute to the dishwasher cycle time. These are some of the things that can affect how long a dishwasher cycle will take:

dishwasher time

Detergent You Use

The kind of detergent you use can make a difference in how long the dishwasher cycle takes. Heavier-duty detergents tend to work better on greasy or baked-on messes and take longer to clean than regular detergents.

If your dishes come out streaky after being washed, it might be worth trying a different detergent.

The Number of Dishes You’re Washing

If you’re washing a lot of dishes at once, it’s going to take longer for the cycle to finish than if you’re only washing a few items.

If you have a full load of dishes, it might be worth running two separate cycles so that your dishes come out clean and streak-free.

Your Dishwasher’s Settings

Most dishwashers have different settings that you can choose from, like light, normal, or heavy wash. Depending on the setting you select, the cycle time will be different.

For example, a light wash will generally take approximately two hours, whereas a heavy wash cycle may take up to four hours.

Hard Water

If you have hard water, it can affect how well your dishwasher works and how long it takes for the cycle to finish.

Hard water can leave spots on dishes and make it difficult for the dishwasher to get them clean. If you have hard water, you might want to add a water softener to your dishwasher so that it can work more effectively.

Your Dishwasher’s Model

Not all dishwashers are created equal. Some dishwashers have more features than others, which can affect how long the dishwasher cycle takes.

If your dishwasher has a lot of bells and whistles, it might take longer for the cycle to finish than if you have a basic model. Additionally, newer dishwashers tend to have longer cycles than older dishwashers.

While this may be counterintuitive, it’s because newer dishwashers are more efficient and use less water.

How Often You Clean Your Dishwasher

If you don’t clean your dishwasher regularly, it can start to build up gunk and grease that will slow down the cycle time. If you notice that your dishwasher is taking longer than usual to finish a cycle, try giving it a good cleaning.

The Type of Dishes You’re Washing

Not all dishes are created equal. Heavier dishes, like pots and pans, will take longer to clean than lighter dishes, like plates and bowls.

If you have a lot of dirty pots and pans, it might be worth running the dishwasher twice-once for the lighter dishes and once for the heavier dishes.

How to Reduce Your Dishwasher Cycle Time

While you can’t always control how long your dishwasher’s cycle will take, there are a few things you can do to reduce the amount of time it takes:

dishwasher cycle time

Load the Dishwasher Properly

Loading your dishwasher properly will work more effectively, and the cycle will take less time. Be sure to place larger items in the back of the dishwasher and smaller items in the front.

Additionally, be sure to scrape off any food that’s on your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher.

Skip the Pre-Rinse

If you don’t need to pre-rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, skip it. Pre-rinsing can add an extra step and increase the cycle time.

Remember that this is only ideal if you don’t have a lot of baked-on or greasy messes on your dishes.

Choose the Right Cycle

As we mentioned earlier, most dishwashers have different settings that you can choose from. If you’re in a hurry, select the shortest cycle possible. However, if you have a lot of dishes to wash, it’s better to choose the cycle that will do the best job.

For heavily soiled dishes, select the heavy-duty cycle.

Use a Detergent Booster

If your dishwasher isn’t getting your dishes as clean as you’d like, try using a detergent booster. A detergent booster will help to remove any stubborn dirt or grime that’s on your dishes.

Clean Your Dishwasher Regularly

Clogged drains, dirty filters, and gunk buildup can cause your dishwasher to run slower. If you clean your dishwasher regularly, it will run more efficiently, and the cycle will take less time.

Famous Brands and Their Estimated Dishwasher Cycle

Whether you have an old dishwasher that you’re looking to replace or looking to buy a new one and its cycle time is a factor you’re taking into consideration, there are a few dishwasher cycles to compare.

GE, Bosch, LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool

These dishwashers all have similar estimated times for their Normal wash cycle: about 210 minutes long.

If you’re looking for a speedy dishwashing experience without compromising your dishes’ cleanliness go with any of the three brands above. The Heavy Duty cycle on these dishwashers ranges from 270-300 minutes.

The quick wash cycle on these dishwashers is between 60 minutes for their older models and around 90 – 120 minutes long for the newer ones.

Jenn-Air, Kitchen Aid, and Maytag

These particular brands have a cycle that runs around one hour, making it the ideal dishwasher for people who are short on time. Although, this works best for fresh soiled dishes and falls a little short when it comes to dishes with heavy grease or baked food.

Additionally, this cycle doesn’t include the drying time – that is an extra 30 minutes on top of the 60-minute cycle, which you have the option to skip if you prefer.


This brand by far offers the quickest dishwasher cycle – yet. At 20 minutes for its quick cycle, it’s a perfect fit for someone who wants their dishes clean and doesn’t have the time to wait around. However, take note that this setting is only suitable for light dishwashing.

The Heavy cycle on Asko dishwashers is 210 minutes.


This German-engineered dishwasher offers the second-quickest Normal cycle at 165 minutes long, and like Asko, it also has a Quick setting suitable for light dishwashing loads only.

The difference is that Miele’s Heavy Duty cycle is only 225 minutes long, making it a better option for those who have a few heavily soiled dishes to wash.


Bear in mind that the cycle times that we’ve discussed above fall under the average time for most brands. These numbers may still vary depending on the particular model, so it’s always best to check with the manufacturer.

A longer cycle doesn’t necessarily mean that your dishes will come out cleaner when it comes to cycle time. In fact, some of the shorter cycles do just as good of a job – if not better.

The most important thing is that you choose the right cycle for the type of dishes that you’re washing.

The cycle time is just one of the many factors you should consider when buying a dishwasher. Other things such as capacity, noise level, and features are important considerations as well.

We hope that this guide has helped you understand more about dishwasher cycle times and how they work.