How Long Do Dishwashers Last on Average? (How to Extend Their Life)

dishwasher

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If you are having issues with your current dishwasher or are in the market for a new one, you might be asking yourself, how long do dishwashers last?

Dishwashers typically last between 7 and 12 years with an average lifespan of 9.5 years. Several factors impact how long a dishwasher will last, including the brand, model, maintenance, and frequency of use.  

Knowing the average lifespan of dishwashers is helpful, but it doesn’t tell you how long yours will last.

In the following sections of this article, you’ll learn how to estimate the lifespan of your particular dishwasher, tips on extending its life, which brands are the most reliable (with real data), and much more.

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Estimating How Long Your Dishwasher Will Last

We know that the average dishwasher will last 9.5 years, but how do you estimate how long yours will last?

The frequency of use is the most significant factor impacting how long your dishwasher will last. 

The average household runs 5 dishwasher cycles per week. As a rule of thumb, if you run more than 5 dishwasher cycles a week, your dishwasher will likely need to be replaced in approximately 7 years. If you run fewer than 5 dishwasher cycles a week, there’s a good chance that your dishwasher will last closer to 12 years.

Many other factors impact the lifespan of a dishwasher, so please do not mistake this rule of thumb for a precise formula.

How to Extend the Life of Your Dishwasher

Similar to most household appliances, using your dishwasher correctly and regularly maintaining it will extend its life. Here are specific steps you can take to increase the chances of your dishwasher lasting a long time.

Load your dishwasher correctly; don’t overstuff it. Overloading your dishwasher inhibits its ability to clean all items entirely and creates unnecessary strain. If you load it correctly, you’ll be able to fit more than you think, and you won’t have to re-wash dishes after the cycle.

Dishes loaded in a dishwasher

Throw away bones and food scraps before loading. Even though some newer models can handle food scraps, it’s safer to throw them in the trash or garbage disposal before loading your dishwasher. Food can get stuck in the filters and cause significant issues over time.

Keep the dishwasher food trap clean. All dishwashers have a rubber trap at the bottom of the drain that prevents the drain from clogging. Every few months, you should remove the trap and clean it to keep it functioning correctly. This article provides simple step-by-step instructions on how to remove and clean your dishwasher trap.

dishwasher filter and food trap

Clean your dishwasher filter. In addition to the trap, you should also regularly clean your dishwasher’s filter. This video from Whirlpool explains how to clean your dishwasher filters. 

Clean the door seals regularly. Over time, your dishwasher’s door seals will collect dirt and debris and need to be cleaned. To clean the door seals, rub them down with a soapy wet towel.

Use vinegar to clean your dishwasher. Once every couple months, pour a cup of white distilled vinegar in the bottom of your dishwasher and run an empty cycle. The vinegar will clean out tiny debris stuck in crevices throughout the interior of the machine.

Use the hot water setting. Washing with hot water not only cleans dishes and kills bacteria more effectively, but it also prevents debris and residue from building up.

Clear debris from the water ducts. Most issues are caused by debris in the filters, traps, or blocking the water ducts. Make sure those are clear at all times.

Make sure everything you put in it is dishwasher safe. Certain items are hand-wash only for a good reason. Not only could you ruin your dishware/cookware, but you could also damage your dishwasher.

Use a high-quality detergent that is dishwasher safe. Only use a detergent that is meant for the dishwasher and don’t use more detergent than the manufacturer recommends. If you use a detergent that is designed for hand washing dishes, suds will overflow your dishwasher and could damage the pipes, filters, and drainage. I highly recommend using dishwasher tablets like Cascade Platinum ActionPacs Dishwasher Detergent (link to Amazon) because they are designed specifically for dishwashers, they produce a minimal amount of suds, and provide the exact amount of detergent you need.

Air-dry instead of heat-dry. Air drying will use less energy and, therefore, put less strain on your dishwasher.

Get professional service. If you suspect something is wrong or you hear unusual noises, call a professional before a small issue turns into a big issue.

How to Find the Age of Your Dishwasher

If you don’t remember when you bought your dishwasher, or you inherited it from the previous owner of your home, there are a couple of simple ways to determine its age.

dishwasher serial number

With both methods, you’ll need to locate the model and serial number. The location of those numbers vary by brand, but for most dishwashers, they are located somewhere in the interior cabin. Open the dishwasher door, and you’ll find these numbers around the edges or right inside the cabin on the left or right side.

Once you locate the model and serial numbers, you can plug them into Google to find out what year your dishwasher was manufactured, or you can use a free service from Appliance411.com. Will Appliance411.com, all you have to do is type in the Brand, Appliance Type, Country, Model Number, and Serial Number, and the tool will spit out the age of the appliance.

Signs That Your Dishwasher Is Dying

Accepting that your dishwasher is dying is not an easy thing to do.

It not only means you’ll have to reach into your wallet and pay for a new one, but you’ll also have to deal with the hassle of shopping and coordinating the installation.

With that said, knowing when it is time to say goodbye will save you time and money in the long run.

Here are the signs that it’s time to replace your dishwasher.

  • The door latch is broken. Most dishwashers won’t even run if the door is not completely latched. In some cases, a broken latch can be fixed or replaced, but in other cases, it’s caused by warping, which will require you to replace the entire machine.
  • Dishes aren’t getting clean. If your dishwasher is not doing its job, it might be time to replace it. Improper loading, overloading, and using the wrong soap could be causing this issue; however, if none of those things are the cause, you might have a more significant mechanical problem on your hands.
  • It’s beginning to rust or crack. If you see rust on the interior of your dishwasher, it might be time to replace it. Rust could be a sign of a leak or other plumbing/draining issues. Don’t run the risk of ingesting rust and bits of chipping metal.
  • It’s not draining completely. If you notice water pooling at the bottom of your dishwasher after cycles, check the filter and food trap for blockage. If that doesn’t solve it, you may have a more severe problem that requires a plumber and possibly a new dishwasher.
  • It’s leaking. Leaks are more likely to happen with older machines as drains and piping break down. If you have a leak and the cause is not immediately noticeable, call a plumber.
  • It’s making strange noises while operating. Some noises are completely normal, but if you start to hear loud, unusual noises while your dishwasher is running, it could be a sign that something is stuck or broken. This article breaks down common dishwasher noises and what they mean.
  • It’s 10 or more years old. As your dishwasher gets older, it is more likely to have the issues described above. If you find yourself spending more on service than your dishwasher is worth, it’s time for a new one.

Best Time to Buy a Dishwasher

If your current dishwasher is still running fine and you are not desperate to replace it immediately, these are the best times of year to get a deal.

  • September and October. New models are revealed in the September and October timeframe, which means retailers need to start making room on the floors for next year’s models.
  • January. After the holidays the new dishwashers are now on the floor and last year’s models must go. Take advantage of major sales during this time.  
  • Holiday Weekends. Most minor holidays like Columbus Day, President’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day are great weekends to find a sale on dishwashers. Don’t forget about Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • End of the Month. In many cases, appliance sales reps are paid on monthly commissions, and the price listed on the tag is often much higher than the amount they are willing to sell it for. Shop at the end of the month when reps are desperate to hit their quota. You’ll be surprised at how much they are willing to negotiate when their paycheck is at stake.
  • Online All Year Round. Prices online are often lower than they are in-store because manufacturers avoid the cost of showrooms and sales rep commissions. Amazon has a wide selection of dishwashers to check out and track prices every week. If you buy online, pay close attention to the delivery and installation fees. In some cases, those fees are higher than the discount you get from buying online.

Which Dishwasher Brands Are the Most Reliable?

There are no reports that specifically outline the lifespan of dishwashers by brand since, as mentioned previously, it depends on the frequency of use, maintenance, and many other factors.

However, some reports show which brands are the most reliable. Reliability, in this case, is defined by the brands of dishwashers that have the fewest service calls per unit.

Yale Appliance, a well-known Boston-based appliance seller and servicer in business since 1923, publishes an annual reliability report ranking dishwashers from most to least reliable.

They look at their previous year’s sales and service data and calculate reliability by dividing the amount of first-year service calls for each brand by the number of units sold in that year.

This calculation produces what they call the Service Ratio. The brand with the lowest Service Ratio is considered the most reliable.

According to this report, here are the top 10 most reliable dishwasher brands in 2019:

BrandUnits SoldUnits ServicedService Ratio
Whirlpool1030444.3%
Samsung915859.3%
Bosch Appliances
273530311.1%
Miele107815514.4%
Kitchenaid70511516.3%
Thermador71112317.3%
Jenn-Air90817018.7%
Fisher & Paykel1754224.0%
Bosch - Benchmarks1583824.1%
Asko1954724.1%

To view the full report, click here.

It’s Time to Check Your Dishwasher!

Now that you know dishwashers last between 7 and 12 years, it’s time to determine the age of your dishwasher and start preparing for when you’ll need a new one. If you have any other tips on how to extend the life of your dishwasher or any general dishwasher maintenance advice, please let us know in the comments below!

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