Why Does My Dishwasher Take So Long To Wash?

(Last Updated On: December 4, 2022)

The dishwasher cycle takes too long to finish cleaning, and I have no idea why. My dishwasher takes 3 hours to wash. Checked all components are fine and cleaned filter doesn’t seem effective since this is happening more often now than before. I’m at loss here, what could be causing such long run times on my old dishwasher?

Dishwasher Wash Cycle Takes Too Long To Finish CleaningDishwasher Wash Cycle Takes Too Long To Finish Cleaning

How long does it take for a dishwasher to finish cleaning? My dishwasher keeps running! The average dishwasher wash cycle time is from 1 to 4 hours. This will always depend on what wash settings you have set and how dirty the dishes are. If your dishwasher is running for over 4 hours and taking longer than normal, see below for what to check to reduce the dishwasher wash time…

1. INCOMING WATER IS NOT AT PROPER TEMPERATURE

A dishwasher runs for too long because the incoming water is not HOT enough.
If the water entering the dishwasher is not at the proper temperature, the dishwasher will take longer to finish a wash cycle. This is because the dishwasher needs hot water to properly clean.

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The temperature should be from 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Modern dishwashers sense the temperature and will hold until the proper temperature is reached. (When the dishwasher heating element is operating it takes 1 minute to heat the water by 1 degree) What Is The Recommended Water Temperature For A Dishwasher?

2. DISHWASHER CYCLE SETTING IS INCORRECT

Make sure you did not inadvertently set the dishwasher to a longer wash cycle. (See video below for more)
If the settings on the dishwasher have been set to HOT WASH or SANI WASH, this can add many minutes to the dishwasher washing time. If the dishwasher is running for too long, try setting the dishwasher on a faster setting.


Cycles of a Dishwasher

3. COLD WATER IS CONNECTED TO DISHWASHER

Check that the dishwasher is not hooked up to the cold water by mistake.
It is acceptable to hook the dishwasher to cold water but this will cause the dishwasher to run longer, it is always best to connect the dishwasher to HOT water from 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Dishwasher Water ConnectDishwasher Water Connection

4. HOT WATER TAKES TOO LONG TO GET TO DISHWASHER

Run the hot water at the sink for 2 minutes or until the water is hot BEFORE starting the dishwasher.
Running the HOT water at the faucet near the dishwasher will supply the dishwasher with hot water faster. This supplies the dishwasher with hot water from the start of the wash and will greatly reduce the washing time.

5. HOME WATER HEATER TEMPERATURE 120F

Check that the temperature on your home water heater is at least 120F so the dishwasher receives hot water.
If needed, raise the temperature on your water heater by a couple degrees. This may assist the dishwasher by getting hotter water and finishing the wash cycle sooner.

Be careful not to raise the temperature too high as scalding can occur. (Raising the water heater temperature is not recommended but may work in some instances) How to raise temp on water heater

6. DISHWASHER IS MISSING PADDED INSULATION

Check the padded tub insulation that surrounds the dishwasher frame, it needs to be intact to insulate and keep the heat inside.
To inspect the dishwasher padded tub insulation, you will need to slide the dishwasher out. Be careful of the water line when sliding out the dishwasher. If the insulation is missing or damaged, remove and replace.

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Dishwasher Insulation Tub PaddingDishwasher Insulation Tub Padding

7. HEATING ELEMENT IS FAULTY

Inspect the heating element in the dishwasher with an ohm meter to be sure it is not faulty.
If the incoming water is not hot enough AND the heating element has failed, the water will never get hot enough. Unplug the dishwasher and check the heating element for ohms using a multi-meter. If found faulty, remove and replace the dishwasher heating element. How To Replace A Dishwasher Heating Element

Heating Element for DishwasherHeating Element for Dishwasher

8. HOME WATER PRESSURE ISSUE

Check the water pressure going to the dishwasher as it must be between 20 and 120 psi.
If the water pressure going to the dishwasher is not from 20 to 120 psi, the dishwasher will not operate properly. Water pressure below 20 psi will cause water supply valve failure and will prevent the water supply valve from turning off. A professional may be needed to find out your homes water pressure issue.


Dishwasher Running Too Long Troubleshooting Tips

Is your dishwasher still taking forever to finish a wash cycle? Please leave your problem below including the make and model number (EX: Samsung dishwasher Model DW80K7050) of your dishwasher and we will get back to you with help.

5 thoughts on “Why Does My Dishwasher Take So Long To Wash?”

  1. Stewart L Brenner

    GE Monogram Dishwasher ZBD6920V00SS. Dishwasher keeps running for hours, and will not enter the drying cycle. Dishwasher will drain completely, but only of the wash cycle is interrupted by opening and then closing the washer door. When the door is opened, a good deal of heat is released. I assume that the heater element is working properly. All drain filters and lines are clear of debris. I have disconnected and then reconnected the electrical supply to allow the washer to reset, but the problem persists. Is the problem in the control module?

    1. ALLEN VETTER - DIY Repair Assistant

      Stewart L Brenner,
      If you have checked every component on your GE Monogram Dishwasher ZBD6920V00SS and it NEVER enters the drying cycle or only drains if the wash cycle is interrupted, then you may have an issue with the control board/module.
      Have you tried running the dishwasher on different wash cycle modes to see if it performs as designed?
      Is this a new install or has the dishwasher been installed for some time and the problem is just now occurring?
      -RR

  2. My whirlpool dishwasher is about 6 years old great condition but it takes forever to finish it’s cycle
    Why is that ??

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