How to use a portable dishwasher – step by step guide

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If you have a tiny kitchen (or there is no way water can be piped to a standard built-in dishwasher), a portable dishwasher could be a great choice.

If you just got a new portable dishwasher, learn how to how to use a portable dishwasher the right way, safely, and effectively in this guide.

And don’t forget that portable dishwashers typically washes just as well and as much as built-in dishwashers.

How to use a portable dishwasher – step by step general instructions guide

Hand washing dishes is a thing of the past so here is how to use a portable dishwasher properly:

Connecting the dishwasher

To begin with, you will need to connect your portable dishwasher to a sink (except for countertop models with an internal tank).

Here is how to make the hookup correctly (Remember that connecting your new dishwasher to the faucet correctly is a critical step otherwise it will keep spraying you in the face):


Initial hook up

  1. First, unfasten the aerator –  or strainer- (from the kitchen faucet spout). Here it might be necessary to use a pair of pliers.
  2. Next, unscrew the aerator.
  3. Now screw the faucet adapter that came with your newly purchased little dishwasher onto the thread-ed faucet spout securely.


Quick Tip: The removed aerator needs to be stored safely for future use.


Turning on the hot water

This is important: Only water that is hot enough should be used.

With that in mind, it is now time to turn on the hot water faucet (at the kitchen sink).

More crucially, the water should be left to run until it is has become as hot as possible (it should be hot to your touch).

Once you are happy the water is hot enough, turn the faucet off.


Connecting the dishwasher to the water supply

  1. Wheel the mini dishwasher and have it stand next to the sink.
  2. Pull out the hoses (from their storage compartment on the dishwasher- on its back).
  3. Position the collar (on the ends of the hoses) directly underneath the adapter you just installed on the faucet in the last step.
  4. The next step is pushing the locking collar down (while sliding the hoses’ connector onto your faucet adapter) until the connector snaps securely into place. The locking collar can now be released.
  5. One step remains here: turning the hot water faucet back on(all the way).


Plugging the dishwasher in and loading the dishwasher

  1. Plug in the dishwasher’s electrical cord to your nearby AC outlet.
  2. Next, load the dishwasher then select the wash cycle you desire.
  3. All you need to do now is start the dishwasher.
  4. Now proceed to run it in a similar way to a regular built-in dishwasher.


To avoid thumping/clattering noises during a cycle….

  • Check that lightweight items are secured (in the rack).
  • Check that pot lids (and handles), cookie sheets, pizza pans, and more are not touching interior walls or interfering with -in any way- the rotation of the spray arms.
  • Check that loaded dishes do not touch one another.


Energy saving tips

  • Wash full loads– Running a half-filled mini dishwasher tends to use nearly an equal amount of hot water and electricity as a fully-loaded dishwasher.
  • Select a LIGHT WASH cycle (if you are tackling normally soiled loads)– It should use less energy and hot water than NORMAL WASH.
  • Air dry dishes– When it is not necessary to run a rapid drying cycle, allow prolonged drying times(overnight).
  • Use the recommended settings– Always select the appropriate cycle (depending on the load) and make sure you add the manufacturer’s recommended detergent amount for optimum washing performance.


How does a portable dishwasher work?

Your dishwasher washes by simply spraying the hot, clean water+detergent mixture against soiled dishes.

Now, when you start a washing cycle, the mini dishwasher fills up with water (to just about the level/height of the heating element).

This water is then pumped via the spinning spray arms and drained through the unit’s filter system.

Please note that it is the filter system that will remove foods and any soil.

Next, it pumps the water back through the still rotating spray arms (the water is now soiled).

Lastly, the dirty water will be pumped out and quickly replaced with fresh, clean water (during the cycle).

Just bear in mind that the total number of times this will be repeated will depend on the cycle you have selected.


About the waste

The waste from the dishwasher goes down the drain (either via the sink/a bucket if you have routed the drainage hose into a bucket, depending on the model of portable dishwasher you have).


What to remember

  1. Pre-rinsing is not necessary- overall, there is no need to pre-rinse dishes before you load them. But you need to remove the large pieces (and quantities) of food/bones before you put them in.
  2. For the best results, you’re supposed to use only hot water!
  3. Burned-on soil ought to be cleaned by hands.


How to use a portable dishwasher – Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Do you need to be around to turn faucet off once it has filled the dishwasher?

No. It is, however, not a good idea to leave (or even go to sleep) while any dish washer is running.

How long does a wash cycle last for a portable dishwasher?

Most cycles take anywhere between 80-150 minutes

Does a portable dishwasher use a lot more water versus hand washing?

Not really. It generally uses much less water than hand washing

Can I just use cold water for the washing cycle?

As mentioned, for the best results, you should only turn on the hot water tap.


Final thoughts

With a portable dishwasher, no permanent plumbing (or electrical work) is needed so no lease violations for renters.

The directions above will help you use your portable dishwater the right way for a more streamlined dishwashing routine.

Be sure to check what your owners’ manual instructs as well.


How does a portable dishwasher work?


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