Dishwashers: Science Behind the Machine

Dishwashers: Science Behind the Machine

New dishwashers have taken on the mantra “work smarter, not harder.” This is a change from the old style units that would essentially pressure wash and heat dry your dishes. New dishwashers take advantage of new technology so they can be more efficient. They also make less noise than the old dishwashers.

When the main wash starts, your detergent is dissolved and cycled through the pump with water. It is important that the water is hot entering the machine (run your hot water at the sink unit hot before turning on the dishwasher). New machines will not heat water, they just maintain the temperature of the water entering the unit. The pump then sprays the detergent on the dishes to clean them. The ingredients go to work to dissolve the soils on the surface. During the rinse cycle, rinse agents are applied to help clean and dry the dishes.

Without rinse agents, new dishwashers will not dry the dishes properly. Rinse agents allow water to sheet off so there is less water left on the dishes when the drying process begins. In the portion below, the post covers how detergents and rinse agents work with their ingredients.

Dishwasher Detergents

Dishwasher Detergents

The Main Task:

  • The main task of the detergent in a dishwasher is to clean the dishes. Detergent does this by removing the soils from the surfaces of the dishes and prevents new from sticking during the cleaning.

Ingredients in Action:

  • Alkaline: Remove soils from the surfaces and help regulate the PH of the detergent
  • Bleach System: Eliminates certain soils (e.g. tea and coffee stains) by oxidizing them and making them water removable
  • Enzymes: Acts as a catalyst for other ingredients, works best when water temperature is over 120 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Protease: Breaks down protein-based stains
  • Amylase: Breaks down starch-based stains

Rinse Agents

Dishwasher Rinse-Aid

Main tasks:

  • The main task of rinse agents is to allow water to “sheet” off of your dishes. This leaves them shiny and allow them to dry more efficiently

Ingredients in action:

  • Non-ionic surfactants: Turns water into thin “sheets,” which allow it to run off of the dishes leaving them clean. This also heavily assists in the drying portion of the cycle
  • Polymers: help create the shine

Proper loading is also essential to make sure your dishes are cleaned properly. Click HERE to read about loading your dishwasher properly.


Click the images below to purchase detergent and rinse agents!

If your dishwasher or any other Whirlpool brand appliance is not working properly give us a call at (865)947-4100 to set up service in Knoxville and surrounding areas. Thank you for your support!

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