Best Washing Machines and Dishwashers (Chapter 9, page 1 of 1)

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Chapter 9

A dishwasher is a mechanical device that cleans food dishes and eating utensils. Dishwashers are used in restaurants and also in many domestic kitchens. Dishwashers not only save time, water and energy, but also disinfect much better than washing by hand.

While we mostly use physical scrubbing in manual dishwashing, a mechanical dishwasher does the cleaning by spraying hot (55-65 degrees Celsius) water on the dishes to remove soiling.

At first, detergent-added water is used for cleaning purposes, followed by the use of clean water to remove the detergent residue. While some dishwashers have several wash and rinse periods within the complete cycle, some have a rinsing aid that can be added to the rinse cycle. In the absence of any human contact during the washing process, dishwashers can easily use strong detergents which could otherwise have caused damage to the skin. There are some dishwashers that contain a heating element to ensure that dishes are dried quickly. These elements can also be utilized to heat the hot water to the desired wash temperature.

The first evidence of a mechanical dishwashing device is found in an 1850 patent by Joel Houghton, which was a hand-powered device. Today's dishwashers owe their origin to the 1886 invention of Josephine Cochrane, whose hand-powered device was unveiled at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. In the 1920s, models installed with permanent plumbing were introduced, and 1940s saw the arrival of electric drying elements. By the 1970s, besides commercial spheres, dishwashers became commonplace in domestic spheres also.

While buying a dishwasher, you should first consider its capacity. A compact 18" dishwasher is adequate for 2 to 3 persons and can hold up to 6 or 8 standard place settings. A regular 24" dishwasher can hold 12 to 14 standard place settings and is sufficiently family-sized. While the compact size is ideal for a small kitchen or occasional use, the larger one is suitable for family use.

Dishwashers are generally of three types: built-in, portable or countertop. Your choice among these three will depend to a large extent on whether you are renting or own your home. Each type has its own advantages and drawbacks. A dishwasher with the Energy Star symbol will reduce your energy bills compared to non-qualified models. You will also come across some dishwashers that have low water features or "quick wash" options. These options can be of great help in case you are paying for measured water use. Another energy saver is a "delay start." This feature is great if your electricity usage is calculated for off peak and on peak pricing. You can then set it to wash later when energy is cheaper.

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