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Why Doesn't My New Dishwasher Dry My Dishes? (Drying Methods / Tips)

March 25th, 2019 | 4 min. read

By Benjamin Adams

You are probably wondering why your dishes are not as dry as your previous dishwasher. I work in customer service, and we sometimes hear that complaint.

However, that does not mean that anything is wrong with your new dishwasher. So do not spend money on calling for service.

Modern dishwashers are engineered for energy efficiency and better silence ratings first. Government mandates also require manufacturers to adhere to specific energy consumption ratings. Due to the lower energy standards, some dishwashers don’t dry as well as they clean.

In this article, you will learn why your dishwasher may not be drying the dishes completely, as well as the different drying cycles. There will be tips from our techs on best ways to dry your dishes. Then you will learn the best dishwashers for drying dishes.

What are the Different Dishwasher Drying Methods?


In the past, most dishwashers utilized an exposed heating element in the base of the machine to heat the dishes dry.

Heated Drying

American dishwashers utilized a fan to blow the heated air around, drying the dishes via convection.
Certain dishwasher manufacturers still use this type of heated drying like Asko, GE, Whirlpool, some Samsung models, and Maytag.

If your dishwasher does have the heated dry function, keep in mind that not all cleaning cycle modes utilize the function.

For instance, if you are running a load of dishes on the express or quick wash cycle, the heated dry function may not activate.

There are also certain dishwashers requiring the heated dry option to be manually turned on.

Condensation, however, has become more popular because of less energy consumption and quieter operation.

Condensation Drying

Bosch and Miele first popularized condensation drying, and now most manufacturers use this method.

Most people also assume dishwashers dry and are looking for quieter dishwashers.

Condensation drying works by rinsing the dishes with hot water at the end of the cleaning cycle; the cooler stainless-steel walls of the dishwasher then pull the moisture off your dishes.

While condensation drying is more energy efficient, most dishwashers utilizing this method do not dry the same as models using heated drying.


Newer dishwashers use more plastic on the racks, and plastic does not retain heat well.

Condensation drying utilizes the heat absorbed by the glass and ceramic dishes to cause the water to run right off dishes and into the drain.

Since plastic does not hold enough heat, condensation drying will not work as well on plastic items, leaving behind some residual moisture.

So with more plastic inside the dishwasher and condensation drying, you have a less effective drying cycle.

Our Top Dishwasher Drying Tips

How you load the dishes into the racks has a significant effect on the dishwasher’s ability to clean, as well as dry the dishes.

Dishwashers do not fill with water, instead, they utilize water sprayed at the dishes to clean.

You should put plates, pots, and pans on the bottom rack, facing the water source to ensure the dishes are absorbing as much spray as possible.

In most dishwashers, the water source is the center of the machine.

1. Load cups, bowls, mugs and drinking glasses on the top rack.

Make sure their openings are facing down, so they do not collect water.


2. Leave space between all your dishes.

An overfilled dishwasher will clean and dry unevenly. Distribute the silverware into the designated compartment, mixing spoons, forks, and knives to avoid nesting. Nesting is when the concave of the spoons fit together; this will cause uneven cleaning and drying.

(Click this link for a video by Bosch with tips on loading your dishwasher.)

3. Use a rinse aid.

Possibly the most critical aspect of drying your dishes in the dishwasher is using rinse aid. Rinse aid is a liquid added to the water breaking the bond between the water molecules and the dishes.

It also allows the water to bead up and run right off the dishes. Think of rinse aid as a drying agent.

Without it, water is more likely to linger on the dishes after the cleaning cycle. Using rinse aid will also prevent water spots or cloudy glassware.

The dishwasher's rinse aid dispenser is located on the inside of the door. Fill the reservoir up to the full indicator.

The dishwasher will automatically dispense the correct amount of rinse aid during operation. Certain models of the dishwasher will alert you to when the rinse aid is low or empty.

(Click this link for a video by Cascade all about rinse aid.)

4. Open the door for a few minutes before unloading

When your dishwasher has finished its cycles, it is a good idea to leave the door cracked open for a few minutes to allow trapped moist air to escape.

Miele and the better Samsung dishwashers will pop open automatically at the end of the cycle.

5. Empty the bottom rack first

When you unload your dishes, empty the bottom rack first, because when you remove the items from the top rack, you may have extra water drip down onto the lower rack.

If you follow these tips, you will get the most optimal drying out of your dishwasher. Keep in mind that even when following these tips, you may still experience moisture left on the dishes. The dishwashers of today do not dry the same as our folks.

Learn how to choose the right dishwasher in our free Dishwasher Buying Guide

What are the Best Drying Dishwashers?

Thermador Star Sapphire DWHD870WFP 


Thermador promises a completely 20-minute wash and dries on their new dishwashers. They use a volcanic mineral called zeolite to absorb moisture and emit more heat.

Miele Dimension G6785SCVISF 


Miele allows air from your kitchen to the outside side of the dishwasher. Heat is attracted to this lower temperature and turned into steam.

Samsung Storm Wash DW80K7050US 


The better Miele and Samsung dishwashers pop open to allow the moist air out during the drying process.

Certain American brands like Maytag and Frigidaire still use heated dry and will dry a bit better if you use a rinse aid.

Sub-Zero Cove DW2450WS

Sub-Zero Cove DW2450WS

Sub-Zero's new Cove dishwasher has the largest element below the filter for drying. 

You can learn more about the best drying dishwashers and which one you should consider by clicking this link. 

Our Final Advice

First, do not throw away money scheduling a service call. Your dishwasher is probably working correctly.

Just remember the following tips: Load properly, leaving space between each dish, use rinse aid, leave the door cracked open for the heat to escape and unload bottom rack to the top.

Additional Resources

Want more information on dishwashers? Read the Yale Dishwashers Buying Guide with specs, features, and detailed profiles of all the major brands. Over 500,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

Free Dishwasher Buying Guide

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Benjamin Adams

Benjamin Adams is a customer service representative at Yale Appliance. Ben has years of experience in the appliance and HVAC fields. When he is not providing support to our customers and technicians, he can be found chasing snowstorms and skiing the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire. Ben has studied journalism at UMass Amherst and combines his writing skills with appliance knowledge to author helpful blogs for the Yale website.

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