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The Different Types of Dishwashers:
- Freestanding: Slots into any available space and can be used as additional bench area in smaller kitchens.
- Built-under: Slides under the kitchen bench-top and is usually supplied with a fascia.
- Semi-integrated: Partially hidden, with the control panel visible and within easy reach.
- Fully-integrated: Completely concealed behind a matching fascia for a seamless appearance in the kitchen.
Capacity and Size are Key
A dishwasher’s capacity is measured by the number of “place settings” it can wash; a place setting is made up of a large and small plate, bowl, cup, saucer, and the cutlery one person would use in a meal. Dishwashers accommodating more place settings are more efficient, as they use less water per item. Even if you don’t have a large family, consider a larger capacity dishwasher and load it until it’s full.
The standard size for a dishwasher is 60cm wide, 82cm high and 60cm deep. Slimlinemodels are usually around 45cm wide and take nine place settings. If you have very limited kitchen space and a dish-washing load of four place settings is enough, compact dishwashers — which also have a drawer option — are usually half the height of a standard dishwasher.
Measure the available space in your kitchen, and allow some room around the dishwasher for ventilation.
Shelves and Baskets Add Flexibility
Choose a dishwasher that can adapt to your needs. Look for height adjustable shelves, baskets for cutlery, plus racks which protect glasses and can be re-arranged to hold big pots.
Check that the racks are made of metal. Plastic parts can weaken and break with extremely hot temperatures and caustic detergents.
Consider the Noise Level
Consider how close your kitchen is to living areas, and how quiet the dishwasher needs to be. If possible, find out how loud it is before you buy. At the very least, look for a dishwasher with built-in noise insulation.
The Methods of Drying
There are several ways in which dishwashers can dry dishes:
- Residual heat (heat created from the washing process)
- Heated air
- Fan assistance (removes condensation from inside the dishwasher)
Proper Maintenance is Important
- Load your dishwasher properly to get the best wash. Generally, the top basket is for smaller, less soiled items and the bottom basket for larger, dirtier pieces.
- Dishwashers have a filter where food debris gets caught and this should be cleaned regularly. Check how easy it is to reach and remove the filter.
- Some dishwashers require you to use dishwasher salt (to soften the water); rinse aid (to reduce drying time and leave a smear-free finish); and detergent in powder, tablet or liquid form.
- Use a dishwasher cleaner regularly to degrease and freshen.