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How Long Should a Dishwasher Last—And How to Extend Its Life

Dishwashers are an excellent convenience for the modern home. Unfortunately, they don’t last forever. Heck, nothing in our material world does.

But how long should a dishwasher last on average? Generally, a dishwasher should last anywhere between 7 to 12 years with an average lifespan of 9 years.

However, that answer depends on whom you’re asking. But most importantly, the average life expectancy of a dishwasher can be greatly affected by the factors below.

Dishwasher Model

It’s no secret that a quality dishwasher will serve you a lot longer than a cheap model. Investing in a high-quality dishwasher usually means it will last longer because the model is built with first-rate parts.

Besides, top-of-the-line dishwashers are less likely to develop frequent faults. Plus, they usually have fewer cases of inefficient water use, loud noises during operation, and other common dishwasher problems.

Frequency of Use

Regardless of the model or brand, the frequency of use is arguably the major factor determining how long your machine will last.

Dishwashers often run through five cycles per week in the average household. Generally, if you use the appliance less than five times per week, you can expect your dishwasher to last close to 12 years (assuming you take good care of it).

Households that run more than five dishwasher cycles per week might likely need to replace the machine in 7 years or thereabouts.

But this is a general rule of thumb and not an iron-clad formula. Other factors can impact how long your particular dishwasher lasts.

Maintenance History

How long should a dishwasher last if you’re not the original owner? If you recently moved into a new home, there’s a good chance you don’t know the maintenance history of a dishwasher, even if you can tell its age.

You don’t know if the previous homeowner usually overloads the machine or if the appliance was well maintained. You also don’t know whether the dishwasher is repaired professionally or not.

In this case, it might be tricky to estimate how long the dishwasher will last. Thankfully, there’s a simple way to find the age of your dishwasher, and we’ll get to that in a moment.

On the other hand, if you’re the first buyer, you already know the machine’s full history and can easily predict how long it will last.

Repairs

Unless you’re professionally trained to repair dishwashers, DIY fixes can greatly shorten the lifespan of your appliance. Hiring a technician who isn’t trained doesn’t help matters as well.

Dishwashers will eventually need repairs. However, OEM parts can extend their life and reduce the frequency of breakdowns. On the flip side, if a technician (or you) opts for aftermarket parts for repairs, your dishwasher might develop faults again sooner than expected.

How to Find Your Dishwasher’s Age

Whether you just moved to a new home with a built-in dishwasher or you simply don’t remember when you bought it, you can determine its age using a simple method.

  • Find the model and the serial number of the machine. Different manufacturers place these numbers at different locations on the dishwasher. But in most cases, you can find them in the interior cabin.
  • Open your web browser and type the model and serial number into Google. You should see the manufacture year for your particular dishwasher.

How to Extend Your Dishwasher’s Life

person removing clean glass from dishwasherRegardless of brand and price, all dishwashers will eventually run through their last cycle and breakdown for the very last time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t extend the life of your dishwasher.

By choosing a good-quality dishwasher and maintaining a sound dish cleaning routine, you can save yourself a lot of money on frequent repairs, as well as extend its lifespan.

It would be best to follow these maintenance tips if you’re looking to extend your dishwasher’s life for as long as possible:

Maintain a Regular Cleaning Schedule

Although we’ve suggested that dishwashers last between 7 to 12 years on average, your cleaning routine can dramatically change the answer to, “How long should a dishwasher last?”

No matter the price tag of your dishwasher, it won’t continue to clean your dishes if you don’t take out time to clean the machine.

Routinely wipe down every part of the dishwasher using a soft cloth, warm water, and mild soap. You can opt for vinegar or baking soda for chemical-free cleaning.

Use Hot Water

Detergents are more effective at higher temperatures. Using the hot water setting doesn’t only wash your dishes better, but it also kills bacteria and germ, eliminates bad smells, and prevents debris from building up and clogging your machine.

Clear Debris in the Food Traps, Filters, and Water Ducts

The most common problem that can shorten the life of your dishwasher is a build-up of debris or food particles in the food trap, filter, and water duct.

If you ensure that those areas are always in tiptop condition, your dishwasher will function optimally and serve you for many years to come.

Load Your Dishwasher Correctly

It’s important to load your machine correctly each time you use it—that is, if you want it to last for a long time.

Here are three simple things to remember when loading your dishwasher:

Scrape Dishes

You don’t need to pre-rinse your dishes before cleaning them in your dishwasher. But make sure to scrape off food particles, especially large ones.

Don’t forget bones and toothpicks, too. Hard debris can lead to a tear in the filter or clog the drain hose. In some cases, they can even damage the pump. While all of these can be repaired, frequent breakdowns can reduce the lifespan of your dishwasher.

Don’t Overload Your Dishwasher

Your dishwasher can churn out sparkling dishes, but not when you overstuff it. Overloading your machine will reduce its effectiveness and put unnecessary strain on it.

All dishwashing machines have their specific place settings. For example, a portable countertop dishwasher designed for a small kitchen might come with six place settings.

If you try to fit a mini dishwasher with a load meant for a built-in 16 place settings dishwasher, it won’t get close to the nine years average lifespan before you start shopping for a new one.

Besides, you’re likely to rewash your dishes if you overload your dishwasher, and that’s a waste of your time and energy.

Remove Gunk from the Door Seal

Clean the seal between the tub and the machine’s door as often as necessary to prevent debris build-up. Besides causing mold growth and foul smell, residue on the door seal can keep the door from closing properly.

Remove Standing Water

There’s nothing unusual about a little bit of water at the bottom of some dishwasher models. However, it’s best not to ignore standing water, especially if you see a lot of it.

Ensure that you check your appliance for clogs, as standing water might indicate blockage somewhere. Ignoring this can lead to further problems that might shorten your machine’s life.

Avoid Cleaning Certain Items in Your Dishwasher

Seriously, your dishwasher is not meant to clean all kitchen items or utensils because they can damage the machine. Also, some items can get damaged inside a dishwasher.

Some of the items you should never clean in a dishwasher include knives, candle jars, delicate glassware, and cast iron products. Also, wooden kitchenware, fine china, nonstick cookware, cans, jars with paper labels, and plastics that can’t withstand heat are not dishwasher-safe.

Air-Dry Your Dishwasher

Reduce strain on your dishwasher as much as possible to extend its life. One of the ways to do that is by air-drying the machine instead of heat-drying it. Apart from using less energy, air-drying minimizes mold and mildew build-up.

When to Replace Your Dishwasher

man in awe at malfunctioning dishwasher

Eventually, you’ll have to buy a new dishwasher when your current one is old and dying. Knowing when to let go of your old dishwasher can save you a lot of money that you would have otherwise wasted trying to fix a machine that’s overdue for replacement.

While it’s okay to ask, “How long should a dishwasher last?” it’s equally important to know the signs of a dying dishwasher.

You might expect your appliance to last for about eight years, but if it begins to show the following signs earlier than the estimated time, it’s best to start planning on getting a new dishwasher:

  • Dishes are not clean enough
  • The door no longer locks or latches
  • Cracks and rust in the interior of the dishwasher
  • No heat during the cleaning cycle
  • Leaks due to a frequent pipe and drain malfunction
  • The appliance is more than 10 years old
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