Do Dishwashers Dry Dishes

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

It’s a question that has been debated for years – do dishwashers dry dishes? Some say that they don’t, and that the water just gets circulated around the dishes. Others say that dishwashers do a great job of drying dishes. So which is it?

So, Do Dishwashers Dry Dishes

According to a study done by the home and garden information center (, “Studies show that in most everyday dishwashers, heated drying is not an efficient process and does little to actually dry dishes.”

Based on this study, it would appear that dishwashers do little to help with the drying process. So how do you get your dishwasher to dry your dishes better?

Some people will tell you that salt or Jet Dry (an additive) can be used in the wash to help with drying. Others say that vinegar in the rinse aid compartment helps. The truth is, you can use all of these things, but it may not make a big difference.

So what can you do? The most important step in getting your dishes dry is to scrape all food off of your dishes and into the garbage, or trashcan. Don’t leave anything on your dishes that would prevent water from reaching every surface on the dish. Do this and you will probably be happy with how dry your dishes are after the wash. Pre-rinse really well, and scrape!

Ways to Boost Your Dishwasher’s Drying Performance

Allow space between dishes

There needs to be space between your dishes for water to circulate. If there is too much space, it’s not going to be able to get into all of the nooks and crannies in your dishes, so you won’t get them dry.

Use a rinse aid

Rinse aids are not the same as drying agents. Most dishwashers come with rinse aid already in them, but if your dishes aren’t drying well, it may be depleted. When you find out how to buy a dishwasher, they recommend that you keep an eye on this level and refill it when needed.

Rinse aids help water sheet off of the dishes, causing them to dry better. You can buy rinse aid from most stores that sell dishwashers.

Use the heat feature

If you have a dishwasher with a heat dry setting, use it. It doesn’t make your dishes completely dry – more of just warm – but it helps. Your dishes will feel slightly warmer after the cycle is finished. Just make sure that if you are using this feature, to avoid opening your dishwasher right away because water can escape.

Open the dishwasher door after

Open the dishwasher door after the cycle ends. If you have a dishwasher that has a heat dry setting, they recommend that after your dishes are washed and the cycle is finished, that you open the door for about 15 minutes. This allows any remaining moisture in your dishwasher to escape. However, most dishwashers won’t be completely dry after this time period, so don’t worry if your dishes aren’t bone dry.

Empty the bottom rack first

If you have a dishwasher with multiple racks, empty the one closest to the bottom first. This is because this rack gets hit with more water than other parts of your dishwasher and then has a chance to drip dry while the cycle runs on other dishes. Just empty it and let it air out while you wait for your middle rack or top rack to finish.

Dishwashers do a pretty decent job of drying your dishes for you, but if they don’t seem to be drying them completely, the reasons could be because you aren’t pre-rinsing well, there isn’t enough space between your plates or glasses while being washed, or that you just have an older dishwasher.

Do Dishwashers Dry Dishes

Reasons Why Your Dishwasher Isn’t Drying Your Dishes

If you’re wondering why your dishwasher isn’t drying your dishes, it could be because one or more of the following reasons:

  • You don’t scrape well enough. When you put dirty dishes into the dishwasher, there is still food on them that needs to come off. So always scrape first.
  • You don’t use the heat dry setting. If your dishwasher has a heat dry setting (it will say this on the dial), make sure to use it. This helps ensure that all of your dishes are dried by using just warm air instead of cool air. Most people think that by turning off the heat dry setting, they are saving energy, but the truth is that it doesn’t take much electricity to use just warm air instead of cool air.
  • If you have a high-end dishwasher, don’t feel like you need to open the door right away. This can actually cause problems because moisture will escape and watermark your dishes (which means they won’t dry as well). Just wait a few minutes after the cycle is finished and then open up your dishwasher to let it air dry.
  • Your dishes aren’t being fully submerged in water. If you have a motorized spray arm, this should take care of almost all of your dishes as long as there isn’t too much food still stuck on them.

However, if the spray arm gets clogged up with food particles and starts spinning around in circles, it won’t be able to get your dishes wet. If this is happening, just take a soft brush and gently push the food away from the opening of where it sprays into. Make sure that when you put dirty dishes in, they aren’t touching each other. This can also cause some of your dishes to not get fully wet.


If your dishwasher doesn’t seem to be drying well, it may be because you’re not pre-rinsing dishes carefully before putting them in the dishwasher. Or maybe there’s too much space between plates and glasses while they are being washed or that your machine is just older than what you need.

We hope this article has provided some insight into ways that can help improve how dry your dishes get after a cycle.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Special offer for our visitors

Get your FREE Guide for Kitchen Home Pros

We will never send you spam. By signing up for this you agree with our privacy policy and to receive regular updates via email in regards to industry news and promotions