Thank goodness for dishwashers, right? Their invention has made cleaning up so much easier for people since 1924. Threw a big dinner party and had a pile of dishes? It's not a problem anymore! Does your roommate leave silverware in the sink? Chuck them in the dishwasher!

Even though they seem durable, dishwashers are not indestructible. They can wear out, depending on how often they are used, what kind of dish soap you use, or what types of things you try to put in them. And since they can get expensive, especially for families or first-time homeowners, it can be helpful to know the answer to, “how long do dishwashers last?” 

To make a long story short, the average dishwasher can be expected to last around ten years. With maintenance and careful use, they can last longer, up to twenty years. 

Depending on the brand of dishwasher you have, you may find that its lifespan is shorter or longer. You should not need to replace your dishwasher until it wears out. One way to wear it out faster is to misuse it. 

How do you improperly use a dishwasher? Aren't they supposed to be simple and easy to use? You load it up, add some soap, and press a button! Boom! In two hours, give or take, you've got sparkly clean dishes. Right?

Not necessarily. Heavy use on a non-industrial dishwasher can wear them out. They can begin to rust or leak, making a big old mess all over your kitchen. If this happens, you could call on a professional to fix it, but it if things like that occur frequently, it may be time to send it off to dishwasher heaven. 

What to know before you buy

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Before you purchase a new dishwasher, you need to think about what kind of dishwasher you want. There are so many brands out there, and while they all essentially have the function, they all are a little different. You get to decide for yourself which one is going to be right for your lifestyle. 

To do a little research, go to a home improvement store and ask the employees in the dishwasher section about the different models and prices. Then check online for reviews of the models you like. There isn't one perfect dishwasher out there, besides your own hands and a sponge, but no one has time for that every day!

Since the average dishwasher lasts at least ten years, this is going to be an investment. And because of that, there are ways to make the most of out them. 

Caring for your dishwasher

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How can you prolong the life of your dishwasher? There are a few different things you can and should do to ensure the longevity of yours. 

How to clean your dishwasher 

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You may be asking, isn't the point of a dishwasher to clean stuff? Why would it not also clean itself in the process? Well, this is only sort of right. The purpose of a dishwasher, yes, is to wash dishes, but now and then it is beneficial to give the dishwasher itself a cleaning. 

Now, you don't have to get down on your hands and knees to do this. You can run the dishwasher without any dishes in it with a mixture of baking soda and water. Doing this should get rid of any built-up soap scum and other residues. We recommend doing this a few times a year. 

What kind of soap to use

Dishwashing liquid is available for purchase at a variety of price points, in-store and online. It is effortless to find in the cleaning supplies aisle. Different people prefer certain brands of dishwashing liquid, so there isn't one holy grail of soap to use.

Whether you want to use liquid soap or handy pods, the only kind of soap you should not put in the dishwasher is regular dish soap. Normal dish soap that you'd keep by the kitchen sink is a lot more bubbly and will probably leak out of your dishwasher and clean your floor instead. 

What to not put in the dishwasher

Besides regular soap, are there other things you shouldn't put in a dishwasher? Totally. The dishwasher no-nos are:

  • Candlestick holders, especially those with wax still stuck on
  • Car parts
  • Wooden cutting boards, spoons, and spatulas
  • Antique china or porcelain
  • Anything made of cast iron
  • A garlic press or a cheese grater
  • Glass bottles and jars with paper labels still stuck on
  • Disposable aluminum cookware
  • Expensive chef's knives
  • Any copper pans and pots
  • Plastic storage containers and cutlery 
  • Anything that has burned on food remains
  • Anything made of crystal
  • Non-stick pots and pans

Don't put anything expensive in the dishwasher because it will ruin it — the same with any utensils made from wood. And don't put anything with a sealant or made from cast iron in there because the protective coating on those will get destroyed. The hot wax on candle holders can clog up the sprayers.

Trying to clean these types of things in a dishwasher are hard on it, and will wear it out sooner. Stick to using the dishwasher for your usual silverware, glasses, and dishes.

Calling in the professionals

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A dishwasher isn't like a car; it does not need to go in every few months for an oil change. But if you are having severe problems, especially with a recently purchased dishwasher, then you probably want to contact customer service. 

Most new dishwashers purchased from a home improvement or department store come with a warranty. That warranty sometimes covers repairs, so you don't have to waste more money. If there is no hope for fixing your dishwasher, then having a warranty can help you replace it cheaply. 

So now you know how to care for your dishwasher to make it last ten years or longer!