woman using dishwasher

Is It Safe to Leave a Dishwasher Running When You’re Not at Home?

You may have heard to old wives’ tale about never running a dishwasher when you aren’t home.

But is there some truth to this, or do the modern safety features on dishwashers mean that it’s ok to leave them unattended?

Actually, the old advice of not leaving a dishwasher running when you’re not at home is very sensible.

In fact, the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service state on its website that you should never leave your dishwasher (or washing machine) running when you aren’t home or when you are sleeping.


Why Isn’t It Safe to Run a Dishwasher Unattended?

dishwasher steam

Running a dishwasher when you aren’t at home could be a fire risk. Dishwashers generate a lot of wattage during a cycle, and if the system becomes overloaded, this can cause a fire.

Combine this high wattage with friction in bearings and the motors, and dishwashers can be a disaster waiting to happen if you leave them unattended.

It is worth pointing out that all modern dishwashers have safety features that prevent the machine from overloading. This means that if the wattage gets too high to handle, the machine should stop.

However, the word ‘should’ in the last sentence shouldn’t fill you with enough confidence to run your dishwasher when you aren’t home. If a dishwasher suddenly gets a surge of power that the safety features cannot control, things can go downhill very quickly.


What Time of Day Should You Run a Dishwasher to Save Money?

what time to run the dishwasher

So, now we’ve established that running your dishwasher when you aren’t at home or when you are sleeping is a no-no, when should you run your dishwasher? After all, the same surges in power that make them potentially dangerous mean that they cost quite a bit to run, so what time of day is ideal for running a dishwasher?

This depends on whether or not you are a time-of-use tariff, or if you pay a flat rate for electricity regardless of the time of day.

If you are on a time-of-use tariff, it will be cheaper for you to run your dishwasher at off-peak times, for example between 10pm and 8am. The exact hours depend on the specific tariff and energy provide.

Most people in the UK are on flat-rate tariffs, so running a dishwasher will cost the same regardless of when you use it.


Preparing Your Dishes and Stacking Your Dishwasher Correctly

preparing dishes and stacking plates in dishwasher

As well as running a dishwasher at off-peak hours, you can save some money on energy bills by ensuring as much food residue is cleaned off the plates and dishes before they go in the dishwasher.

This will avoid the need to wash things twice, and will allow you to use a more energy-efficient cycle.

When stacking the dishwasher, ensure you have a full load but that the dishes, glasses and mugs are stacked far enough apart so that everything is washed evenly during the cycle.

This takes a bit of practice, but evenly stacking a dishwasher and making the most of each load will save you money in the long run.

By rinsing your dishes before they go in the dishwasher and stacking your dishwasher correctly, this will allow you to run an eco cycle or a quicker and cooler cycle than normal. Your dishes will be just as clean as always, but your energy bills will be lower.

We hope this look at why leaving a dishwasher unattended when it’s running isn’t a good or safe idea has been helpful.

For even more info about dishwashers, explore our website further. We have lots of articles detailing common faults with dishwashers, as well as lists of the best dishwashers in the UK.