5 Ways to Boost Your Dishwasher's Drying Performance
Expert tips on how to get your dishes bone dry—even if your dishwasher's not great at that part of its job
You’d think that cleaning would be the most difficult—and important—task for a dishwasher. It turns out, maybe not.
“Drying is harder than cleaning because dishes and glasses have areas that trap water, and that water doesn’t evaporate,” says Larry Ciufo, who oversees Consumer Reports’ dishwasher tests. “Also, as the dishwasher cools, water droplets from all that humid air form on the dishwasher’s interior and on the dishes.”
To test how well a dishwasher dries, we place plastic sippy cups on the top rack and run a normal cycle. Plastic is more difficult to dry than glass and ceramic because it doesn’t retain heat that would otherwise contribute to the drying process. Water that remains on plastic doesn’t evaporate as easily.
5 Ways to Boost Your Dishwasher's Drying
There are steps you can take to improve drying performance even if your dishwasher doesn’t have fancy drying options. Here’s what our dishwasher experts recommend.
1. Allow space between dishes. They shouldn’t touch, and your machine shouldn’t be overloaded. The idea is to improve the circulation of the water and air, which improves drying.
2. Use a rinse aid. It prevents spotting and enhances drying. The rinse aid breaks the bond between the water molecules and dishes, causing water to sheet off of your dishware.
3. Use the heat feature. The more heat, the better the drying. Depending on your dishwasher, you may have the option to add heat during the washing, rinsing, or drying cycle.
4. Open the dishwasher door a few inches as soon as the cycle ends. This allows trapped moist air to escape.
5. Empty the bottom rack first. Water collects on concave surfaces, such as mugs and glasses, that belong upside down on the top rack. Empty the lower rack first to avoid spilling water onto the contents of the bottom rack.
Dishwashers That Ace Drying and Cleaning
Of the more than 140 models in our dishwasher ratings, only nine earn Excellent ratings in our tests for both washing and drying. Here are the top three.