Collaborative research from a US-based publication, EarthTimes, says that based on consumer feedback dishwashers that use steam-cleaning are a load of hot air.

The research was provided by Consumer Reports – an independent research company that aims to provide inside information to the public about the products they’re buying.

According to the research, a new breed of dishwashers sold in the US that use a combination of steam cleaning and targeted spray jet processes offered only “slight differences” to much cheaper, traditional dishwashers.

Based on Consumer Reports’ research, steam cleaning dishwashers priced from between US$600 to US$1,500 from major market players including Whirlpool and Bosch offered virtually the same cleaning abilities as a US$350 home brand model.

Consumer Reports said that in its study, neither the Bosch SHE33MO[2]UC (US$540) or Whirlpool DU1055XTS[Q] (US$350) needed either of the above cleaning features to remove egg, tomato sauce, oatmeal and other hard-to-clean foods that were left to harden on the dishes overnight.


“Steam is the latest ‘wow’ feature manufacturers are adding to their products to try to convince consumers to spend more, but consumers can get perfectly clean dishes without it,” said Consumer Products deputy home editor, Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman.

“Spray jets work better than steam and are available on mid-priced models, but, like steam, it’s not a ‘must-have’ feature for cleaning dishes.”

The report said separate spray jets had a bigger impact on cleaning than steam cleaning, however dirty dishes needed to be placed in a specific spot.

Consumer Reports said the models compared, including some from LG, Jenn-Air and Maytag, used far less water and energy than if consumers were to wash the same dishes by hand.


The report also analysed various patented dishwasher technologies and found the following:

— Dishwasher drawers deliver little. Kenmore’s Elite Drawer dishwashers, US$1,400, ranked last in the ratings. The US$1,000 Fisher & Paykel DishDrawer excelled at washing, but is noisier and more repair-prone than models that cost hundreds less. Fisher & Paykel has been the most repair-prone brand during the last few years.

— Wash cycles get longer. Dishwashers have become more energy-efficient because they use less water. But they need to wash longer to get dishes clean. More than half of the tested models took 2 hours or more to do the job, compared to about 90 minutes needed by the best dishwashers just six years ago.

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