Why Do Plastic Items Never Dry In My Dishwasher?

Why Do Plastic Items Never Dry In My Dishwasher?

When you open your dishwasher to unload your newly cleaned dishes, why does it seem that plastic containers, plates and glasses are still wet? The answer has to do with heat absorption, evaporation, and the design of modern energy-efficient dishwashers.

Metal, glass and ceramic items absorb and hold more heat during the washing cycle and also hold in the heat for a longer period of time. The lingering heat also helps to evaporate any residual moisture off the glasses, plates and pots, long after the heat has subsided from inside the dishwasher.  Plastic items however, quickly dissipate heat and tend to stay wet. This is one reason why those plastic storage containers tend to stay wet inside the dishwasher.

Also, many modern dishwashers no longer have a heating element inside. Instead, it relies on the residual heat from the very hot water used to clean and sanitize the dishes. This makes the dishwasher more energy efficient, but it is also a loss of an additional heat source that might help plastic items dry quicker.

There’s a lot more of a scientific explanation on why plastic do not dry in the dishwasher offered in this article by the NYTimes.com. It has to do with energy bonds and the interaction of water on plastic surfaces.

How to Get Dryer Dishes From Your Dishwasher

So how can you get a better drying performance from your dishwasher? Consumer Reports offers some tips:

  1. Allow more space between dishes to allow more air and water circulation
  2. Use a rinse aid to prevent spotting and enhance drying
  3. If your dishwasher does not already pop open the door at the end of its cycle, open the dishwasher door to allow moist air to escape. Allow a few extra minutes for the dishes to cool and dry before putting them away.

Get more tips at Consumer Reports.


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