How does a portable dishwasher work?

As an Amazon affiliate, we earn a commision from qualifying purchases.

A portable dishwasher can be the answer if your kitchen cannot allow for the installation of a standard, built-in dishwasher (that is usually permanently hooked up to your home’s plumbing).

But how does a portable dishwasher work exactly? (These mini dishwashers could be the real deal for your tiny apartment, small-sized house, dorm, boat, and camper/RV).

This article will answer this question in a detailed manner- read it to the end before you jump in.


How does a portable dishwasher work?

The thing is, a portable dishwasher work is super easy to use and anyone who knows how to run a conventional built-in will feel right at home using it.

To begin with, a portable dishwasher still needs to be hooked up to a sink every time you want to run it.

Specifically, all you need to do is:

  1. Wheel the dishwasher (on a rolling cart) next to the sink (these standing units have wheels) though some smaller models (countertop dishwashers) are designed to even be used from atop a countertop/sturdy table (no wheeling back and forth with these).
  2. Connect it to the water faucet.
  3. Load it and set the appropriate dish cycle to wash your dishes (Typical wash cycle choices include heavy, normal, and light, with most cycles taking anywhere between 80-150 minutes).
  4. Proceed to run it in a similar way to a regular built-in dishwasher.

The good thing is that despite its compact design, a portable dishwasher has all the basic features a full-sized built-in has hence it easily meets daily needs for smaller families.

Quick Tip: For the best results, be sure to scrape off excess food (if any) before loading the dirty dishes into the portable dishwasher (but don’t bother with pre-rinsing the dishes – it is not necessary).


But how is it connected to the sink now that remodeling the plumbing in your small kitchen is not needed?

The answer: an adapter (for the most part, the adapter is included with portable dishwashers) will be essential in connecting it to the faucet- it connects directly to the faucet.

That said, it is important for you to note that with some models, a special adapter needs to be purchased to complete the hook-up.

Now, there are numerous portable dishwasher adapter sizes so you have to be sure of the size before ordering.

You can also opt for a complete portable dishwasher faucet adapter kit such as this– it fits perfectly on most sinks and will give you massive flexibility so you can keep your portable dishwasher wherever you want.

Quick Tip: A unique hose assembly may need to be joined up with your kitchen faucet to supply hot water to the dishwasher (and return used water to drain via the sink).


Not all portable dishwashers will need to be connected to the sink

You have plenty of choices when it comes to portable dishwashers- you can even go for a NO HOOKUPS countertop dishwasher such as this top-selling Farberware unit.

You see, these models conveniently feature a built-in water tank so you only need to fill the internal tank up to start using it.

With that, your kitchen sink will be free for other uses.

In fact, this is certainly the best option if your kitchen setup won’t allow you to bring the portable dishwasher close enough -to the sink- for a hookup.

Keep in mind that, in most cases, this category of little portable countertop dishwashers supports 2 water supplying modes- faucet mode and water-tank mode…

To be clear, you can still go the customary sink way (you just need to hook up the hose to the dishwasher and faucet to use the mode).

Either way, 2-mode style mini dishwashers run great and wash dishes pretty fine for what they are.

Quick Tip: To drain the wastewater, even portable dishwashers with built-in water tanks usually need to be used near a sink. But you also have the option of routing your drainage hose direct into a bucket (that you will be emptying).


For Portable dishwashers, size matters (a lot)

The two major sizes are 18-inch and 24-inch (aka full size).

Here is what you’ll need to know about each size:

18-inch portable dishwasher

An 18-inch wide mini dishwasher is the smallest so most space-saving but multiple loads are routinely required to complete the job.

In a nutshell, while it is the most ideal for the tiniest spaces (and it is cheaper, if money is a concern), you should not expect that much.


24-inch (aka full size) portable dishwasher

The 24-inch wide variety is generally bigger and better than the scaled-down 18-inch counterpart.

In truth, compared to its smaller sibling there are far more greater features and more value in a 24-inch machine.

Unsurprisingly, the 24 inch model is much more common in the market.

The only obvious downside is that it will hog more space so you should only go for it if can fit your kitchen.


What maintenance do portable dishwashers need?

It is important to regularly reach in and spin the spray arms – to clean your dishes, you want them to spin freely so you don’t want any obstructions around the spray arms.

In addition, clean the seals from time to time to keep grime from building-up.

And oh, just like standard dishwashers, these nice little kitchen appliances have filters that you have to periodically clean.

To make a long story short, all maintenance that applies to regular dishwashers applies to their portable mates.


How do portable dishwashers work? Final words

We have just answered the question most beginners to the portable dishwashers’ world have in mind “How does a portable dishwasher work?” and hopefully, we have cleared your doubts/confusion.

One final thing: Take into consideration issues like the size of your kitchen, how big is your family, and the number of dishes you tend to use daily when choosing a portable dishwasher.

That way, you will have an appliance you will be happy with for a long time.



How to reset an LG dishwasher [in 10 seconds]

Samsung dishwasher touchpad not working [Fixed]

Kitchenaid dishwasher touchpad not working [Solved]


Leave a Comment