How Hot Does a Dishwasher Get?

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How Hot Does a Dishwasher Get?

Your dishwasher’s optimal washing temperature is between 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit. Above 150 would damage your utensils. 

The Ideal temperature for sterilization is 180 degrees Fahrenheit, while the one perfect for rinsing is around 171 degrees. 

However, some models can’t support incoming water higher than 150 degrees because it will warp the incoming hose walls. Let’s look into these facts in detail. 

Related: How Much Water Does a Dishwasher Use?

Dishwashing Temperatures; How Hot Should A Dishwasher Get?

How hot a dishwasher can get for inlet water, washing & sterilization, and rinsing depends on the type of your dishwasher. But generally, the ideal temperature for the first stage (filling) should be between 120 degrees and 130 degrees, sometimes 140 degrees. Current dishwashers come with the eco-setting mode, which uses lesser than 115 degrees but takes more time. 

How does that work? So in the filling stage, the water flows from the water supply through the solenoid valve, an electrical valve sending electric signals which regulate the flow of water in the dishwasher water circuit. From the valve, the water flows to the water distributor. The distributor directs the water to the saltwater compartment and resin for regeneration. There you have the wash salts and calcium to soften the water before proceeding to the circulating pump. The pump then directs the water to the heating element, which heats it before it flows to the spray arm. 

At the heating element, that’s where the ideal temperature should be between 120 degrees and 130 degrees. And, should the temperature go above 150 degrees, it will damage your utensils and warp the plastic dishwasher tab. 

Related: How Many Amps Does a Dishwasher Use?

Key Take Aways

Ensure that your dishwasher gets a direct hot water connection and a cold water line. That’s because, as much as it has a heating element, the washer cannot heat cold washing water to the required 120 degrees on its own.

If the water is not hot enough or your utensils aren’t getting a good wash, consider adjusting your water heater. If your heater is far from the dishwasher, ensure you run the washing water into your sink so it’s hot enough before running the dishwasher. 

If you have GE or porcelain dishwasher models with a plastic tub, then it’s not designed with the ability to handle filling water hotter than 150 degrees. That’s because the rubber components will disintegrate, while the walls of the plastic tub will warp and possibly damage the solenoid water valve. Also, you will notice with time some black grease spots if you use very high temperatures. High water temperatures, over 150, will cause the washer’s rubber gaskets and boots under the washing tub to disintegrate. 

On the other hand,  the models with stainless steel in the dishwasher’s interior can handle a maximum of 180 degrees Fahrenheit filling water. Generally, if you place the temperature above 150 degrees, ensure the dishes and other categories won’t get damaged because such high temperatures damage utensils.

Related: Plastic vs. Stainless Steel Dishwasher Tub

How Hot Should Dishwasher Water for Sanitizing Be?

According to the FDA (Food&Drug Administration) Food Code, Dishwasher water for sanitizing should be at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit. If you own a restaurant and send loads upon loads of dishes and utensils, you can sterilize them at 194 degrees depending on the type of your dishwasher. The key is remaining within the required range of washing the utensils, between 150 degrees Fahrenheit and 194 degrees. 

However, don’t confuse sanitizing with sterilization. Unlike the FDA, NSF(National Food Security) recommends sterilizing at 180 degrees and sanitization at 171 degrees. 

That means the one recommended by FDA accommodates both NSF sterilization and sanitization requirements. That leaves the decision case-by-case based on your model and the type of utensils you want to sterilize or sanitize. But the higher, the better. 

What’s good is, at the end of the antibacterial phase, the washer raises the temperature to 160 degrees momentarily for sanitization. That’s long enough to deal with the bacteria while not extending to damage the washer, especially with the plastic-tabbed dishwasher. 

Related: Best Portable Dishwasher On Wheels – 6 Top Picks on The Market in 2023

How to Check Dishwasher Temperature

You need a thermometer and a glass to check if the dishwasher is at the best temperature (between 120-130). The process is pretty simple. Mainly, at this stage, you must have realized that your dishes aren’t as clean as you want them. To check for the temperature, do the following.

  1. Let the water flow to your sink, as usual, only this time, get your glass and let hot water flow in it.
  2. Drop the thermometer in the glass and wait until it can’t raise any more. Wait further for two minutes to be sure. Consider adjusting the heater if the water doesn’t reach the optimal washing temperature of 120-130 degrees. Remember to inform everyone in the house because you don’t want anyone to burn while washing their hands. 

How to Increase Water Temperature in Dishwasher

Increasing the water temperature in your dishwasher is a simple fix, especially if it’s heating but not hitting the required temperature. You only need to adjust your home’s heater settings to raise the water inlet temperature to what you require.

However, if the dishwasher isn’t heating and runs the cycle alright, the problem might be with the front panel. But this problem is quite regular with old dishwashers. To fix that, check the top part of the washer and re-solder a relay. Here’s how it’s done. 

  1. Unplug the washer to avoid getting zapped.
  2. Open up the front panel’s top part by unscrewing the screws at the top holding it, then pop it off.
  3. You’ll find a small circuit board on the back of the panel. Pop it open and check for a likely cause. It could be a burnt black box. Look at the back of it. You’ll likely find a burned track where the pin has moved away from the soldering.
  1. Apply a bit of solder and then reassemble it. The dishwasher should be back up and running. 

Dishwasher Temperature Guidelines

Factors that make the dishwasher require between 120 and 140 degrees are the following.

  • Dissolving & activating  the detergent
  • Dislodging and dissolving any leftover grease and foods
  • Higher temperatures in the rinsing (sanitization & sterilization phase) ensure that your dishes are safe to handle food.
  • Also, it helps to dry the dishes because it leaves them warm. That warmth is essential during drying.

For safety reasons, don’t touch the dishwasher’s water after the fill stage. That’s because temperatures above 110 degrees will burn your hands. You need to warn your children always because it’s a risk of kitchen accidents. 

So how do you tell that your dishwashing temperatures are below what they should be? Check if the utensils are as clean as they should be. Also, check if the washing tablet dissolves appropriately. If it doesn’t, the washer is not heating as it should. You could also use a thermometer, as you’ve seen. If the dishwasher doesn’t heat properly, you can check it out yourself. You can consult your technician, especially if you’re attempting this for the first time. Also, always consult the user’s manual.

Hot water washes your glasses sparkling clean. However, very high temperatures plus the lax used for maintenance are terrible for the dishwasher. For one, it causes the detergent enzymes to die quickly, so cleaning will not be effective. That results in other problems like cloudy glasses. It also warps the plastic tab walls of the washer.

How Hot Does a Dishwasher Get: FAQs

Does Dishwasher Kill Viruses

A dishwasher can inactivate viruses because they cannot spread, infect or replicate themselves. Hence it’s harmless. But killing the virus will take more than the dishwasher can provide. That’s why, for a virus like Corona Virus, you sterilize and then rinse your dishes to deactivate the viruses and make them safer. But dishwashers can kill bacteria. 

How Hot Does a Dishwasher Get in Celsius

A dishwasher gets up to 87.8 degrees Celsius, about 190 degrees Fahrenheit. But an average dishwasher gets to between 51-60 degrees celsius depending on the washing phase. 

How Hot Does a Whirlpool Dishwasher Get

A whirlpool dishwasher temperature works optimally at 120 degrees Farenheight. It has automatic temperature controls with heavy-duty washing options. So how high the temperature gets depends on what you want. But the stainless steel models can get as hot as 190 degrees. 


Dishwashers can get as high as 87 degrees Celsius, which will help you sterilize and sanitize, rinsing, and thoroughly wash. The absence of these could mean that your dishwasher’s heating system is faulty. Check it regularly to ensure it gets proper heat, giving your dishes a good rinse. Happy washing!

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