Consumer Reports: Better-drying dishwashers

You expect a dishwasher to clean your dishes, but what about how well it dries them? Consumer Reports tests dishwashers on drying performance and has some tips and tricks to get your dishes drier.

Wet dishes from the dishwasher - not necessarily something you think about when buying a dishwasher. But Consumer Reports finds some dishwashers dry better than others.

"We actually rate dishwashers on how well they dry," said Dan DiClerico, Consumer Reports.

After testers load the dishwashers up with grimy plates and cups caked with all sorts of tough-to-clean foods, they also place two plastic cups inside the top rack of the dishwasher.

"We use plastic because it's harder to get completely dry," DiClerico said.

After the cycle is finished, testers check the cups.

This one still has a lot of water droplets. This dishwasher gets the cups relatively dry.

"Manufacturers use different methods to dry dishes. Some use heating coils. Others use a fan. Others heat the water up at the end of the cycle and use the residual heat to dry dishes," DiClerico said.

Consumer Reports finds you can't tell by the drying method which dishwasher will do the best job at drying.

Some good choices: A KitchenAid for $1,000 that offers excellent drying and cleaning and a Bosch Ascenta for $700. It cleans just as well as the KitchenAid and offers very good drying.

Whatever dishwasher you have, Consumer Reports recommends using a rinse aid. That will help get your dishes drier.

"Rinse aid helps break the bond between the water and the dishes. Plus, it helps prevent spotting," DiClerico said.

These tips will also help get your dishes drier:
-When loading, place dishes so they don't touch.
-Try using the high-heat option on your dishwasher.
-As soon as the cycle is finished, open the door a crack and let the moist air escape to help with drying.

Consumer Reports also tests dishwasher detergents. Top ratings go to Cascade Complete Action Pacs. It does a great job on dirty pots and caked-on food. But remember that it's important to keep any detergent products out of reach of children.

You can get more dishwasher-buying advice on our website.

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