How Long Do Dishwashers Last?

Author: Richard Horgan
On average, dishwashers last nine years.

Although homeowners in many cases swap out dishwashers before they stop working as part of a renovation or style change, these high-use, complex machines last longer than compactors (average: six years) but fall short of refrigerators and washing machines (average: thirteen years). They are on par essentially with the life expectancy of microwaves.

Dishwasher Detergent Changes

The hardness of local utility water and recent, little publicized changes in the way dishwasher detergents are made can also greatly affect both the performance and product life cycle of these appliances.  Because of environmental concerns, most detergent brands now contain only a miniscule amount of the once main component ingredient of phosphates.

Phosphates act to prevent minerals from clinging to cups, glasses and dishes. But because they also when discharged back into the environment tend to accumulate at the bottom of lakes and streams, leading to damaging impacts, there has been a mandated reduction. A September 2010 Consumer Reports analysis of dishwasher detergents revealed a frustratingly inconsistent performance curve for many of them. However, simple adjustments of water temperature and-or the combination of different cleaning agents can greatly increase the performance and longevity of dishwashers.

Cash-for-Clunkers Program

Beginning in the spring of 2010, U.S. homeowners had another reason to consider replacing their dishwasher. The Obama Administration, on the heels of an incredibly successful old automobile exchange initiative, expanded the idea to high-energy consuming kitchen appliances.

Funded across several dozen states to the tune of more than $300 million, the program allowed consumers to get a cash rebate for their old dishwasher when purchasing a new one. This came on top of some evergreen programs offered by individual states, which permanently have incentives for green product switching. In December, 2010, some states such as Montana discovered money still left over from the appliance rebate program and re-opened the opportunity, to the tune of $50 for an old, exchanged dishwasher.


Works Cited

National Association of Home Builders
Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components

USA Today
Cash-for-Clunkers Rebates Offered on New Appliances
Cash for (Appliance) Clunkers Returns to Montana

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"How Long Do Dishwashers Last?." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <>.  

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