Poll: Dishwasher usage

Do you open your dishwasher while it is running?

All of my life, once I have turned the dishwasher on, I leave it alone until it is done. I don’t recall ever being instructed that this was necessary, but that is just what my family did.

I have observed that my daughter’s husband, and his family, are quite comfortable opening the dishwasher while it is running in order to add or remove items. In fact, it seems to me that they relish the idea and would never let the dishwasher run a cycle uninterrupted. I suppose there is nothing wrong with this, but I just find the behavior to be odd.

  • Yes, I open the dishwasher while it is running.
  • No, I never open the dishwasher while it is running.

0 voters

I sometimes open the dishwasher to add an item, but this is very rare, so I voted “no”. I try to make sure everything is loaded before starting because opening it cools the interior, and in all the heat and steam it may be hard to place the item properly. But otherwise, if necessary I don’t know why anyone would hesitate to open it while running, since the cutoff switch at the door immediately stops the water flow. There’s never been any leakage from doing this.

Let it do its job, and leave it alone. That’s what I always say…


But only very early in the cycle. ISTM no matter how diligently I chase down wayward coffee cups I’ll sometimes find one 3 minutes after starting the washer. So in it goes slightly late.

I don’t currently have a dishwasher, but when I did, I would never think of opening it while it was running. Wouldn’t it spray hot detergenty water all over the kitchen (and in my face)?

My thinking was the exact opposite. I do it rarely, but I do do it occasionally if I notice an item I meant to load, but forgot to. So I voted “yes”.

Actually there are other reasons I might open it, too. If I notice it sounds like the wash arm isn’t spinning (which has happened often enough that I’ve learned how to tell), I figure I’d better resolve the issue, otherwise the dishwasher will just sit there and use a bunch of water while the dishes won’t get clean. So I open the dishwasher, clear the blockage or resolve whatever the issue is, close the door, and let it resume the cycle.

My dishwasher actually has a cancel/pause button for this exact purpose. You press the button, the cycle stops. You open the door, add an item or do what you need to do, and then press “start” again and the cycle resumes.

I might very occasionally open it to add an item in the first couple of minutes of running, but after that I would feel that the new item isn’t getting washed as thoroughly as the other items, so I wouldn’t do it. And removing an item before it’s completely washed seems gross. But I’m kind of OCD about stuff like that.

These are my two main reasons for opening it. If I’ve just started a load, and find another dish, I’ll try to get it in there, but not if it’s been running for a while.

Plus, any kind of out of the ordinary noise will be investigated as soon as I hear it. Sometimes some dishes get out of place and start knocking around, or something, and that’s usually not healthy for the other dishes.

I don’t open it while running, but sometimes, after I close the door, I see something that was left out.

By the novel, for me, approach of reading the instructions, I found that holding the start button for 3 seconds resets the cycle and empties the machine. Then it’s OK.

Unlatching the door instantly stops the water pump. The door latch has an electromechanical interlock. I had to replace the door latch once and there are four wires coming out of the assembly. By the time you swing the door open water is no longer spraying. Everything inside is wet and dripping but the design of the door and the interior prevents any water from leaking out.

Oddly, my current dishwasher doesn’t start up again immediately when the door is closed again. It needs to think about it for a few seconds.

I don’t run it until I can’t get anything else in. There’s no reason to open it.

That’s the machine’s way of being sarcastic, “Are you sure you’re ready this time?”

Yes, modern appliances are quite capable of sarcasm, and sometimes outright insubordination!

I can “pause” my dishwasher, mid-wash, to add things.
I do it all the time.
I own a countertop dish washer.

I really only open it if it’s early in the cycle and I’m inserting something I missed. Otherwise I leave it alone.

At this risk of going slightly off-topic, I have another question:

Do you wash your dishes before you run them through the dishwasher?


My prior dishwasher even had a notification “okay to add dish” if it thought it was early enough in the cycle that another dish would be fine.

The thing my current dishwasher doesn’t have is a “cancel/drain” button, for when your realize your didn’t want to start it after all. Very annoying.

Nope. I scrape off the chunks, to and maybe give them a quick rinse. Or not, depending.

I used to be in the habit of rinsing them well. But when I started using pods (Finish brand Quantum Ultimate) I decided to take the package advertising at their word and try putting in dirty stuff without pre-rinsing. It has worked fine, they come out spotlessly clean. I do, however, brush off anything that looks hardened and scrub any pots or pans with burned-on guck. But the ability to put in ordinary dinner dishes, cutlery, tongs, and the like without pre-rinsing makes cleanup just one small step easier.

I definitely scrape off any large chunks of anything into the garbage.

The current dishwasher has a noticeable point in its cycle when the detergent dispenser opens. My rule of thumb is it’s OK to add something prior to that event, or very shortly thereafter, but not later in the cycle.

Of course you do. I have never accused dishwashers of being miracle workers.