“How long does a dishwasher run?” The answer is varied, but it often takes a while to complete a cycle, whether you’re cleaning up after a weekday dinner or a holiday feast. In general, a dishwasher cycle lasts from one-and-a-half to four hours (the average is two-and-a-half hours). How dirty dishes are, the time it takes to heat water between each phase, and various sensor readings can affect run time. The average run time has increased with newer, more energy-efficient models, as they can sense whether dishes are being properly cleaned.

It may seem counterintuitive that longer run times equal less water and energy usage. But the latest changes to federal energy and water use guidelines have resulted in longer dishwasher cycles. The type of cycle affects run time as well. We’ll take a closer look at each below.

Cycle Type and Dishwasher Run Time

The latest dishwashers have various modes you can set them for, including:

  • Rinse Cycle (10-15 minutes): Cleans residue off a few dishes without using detergent. It’s for when you don’t need to run the machine on a full cycle.
  • Express/Quick Wash (≤1 hour): The unit runs at a high temperature and pressure setting; dishes must be prewashed and hardened food particles removed before running this cycle.
  • Auto/Smart Wash: (No specific run time): Built-in sensors determine how dirty the dishes are and adjust the temperature, water pressure, run time, and number of rinse cycles.
  • Normal Cycle (1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours 15 minutes): The normal setting will usually suffice if you’re not sure what setting to use.
  • Heavy-Duty Cycle (3 to 4 hours): This is for pots, pans, and heavily soiled dishes. Requiring the most water, energy, and running time, this cycle does not need any pre-rinsing or washing.

Can I Stop a Dishwasher Mid-Cycle?

A dishwasher can be opened mid-cycle by unlatching the door, waiting for the sprayers to stop, and opening the door. Some models will resume the cycle once you close the door. Other brands and models may require pressing the “Start” button again.

How Often Should I Use My Dishwasher?

A dishwasher cycle should be run at least once a week, or as often as you need it. If you don’t have dishes to wash, run the “Quick Wash” option. Not using the system can cause the motor seals to not work properly.

Can I Tell If My Dishwasher Is Running Too Long?

When you run a new dishwasher for the first time, it may run longer until the sensors calibrate. The dirtier your dishes are, the longer the system will run. However, hard water or mineral buildup can interfere with the sensors. They may then default to a longer setting, but using specialized cleaner tablets every month can keep the sensors clear. If the dishwasher’s cycle times seem longer than necessary, or than what’s listed in the user guide, you may need a technician to provide appliance service.


Contact Wilshire Refrigeration & Appliance

We are factory certified to service Asko dishwashers and other equipment. If you’re concerned about how long your dishwasher runs, our repair technicians can take a look at it, troubleshoot the issue, and correct any problems they find. Our team works to the highest standards and installs only factory-produced parts. To request a visit in Los Angeles, Southern California, or Las Vegas, call 800-427-3653 or request service online.