A Brief History of Your Dishwasher

Dishwashers have become an essential appliance in any home. Approximately three quarters of American homes have a dishwasher, making it a vital part of home life. While you may take your dishwasher for granted as an everyday appliance, do you have any idea how your dishwasher evolved? Here we present a brief history of the modern dishwasher.

Close up image of a dishwasher

The Electricity Boom

At the start of the 19th century, only eight percent of homes in the United States were equipped with electricity. This dramatically increased to over 50 percent by the end of the 1920s. While electricity became more popular in households, the word “dishwasher” was likely to conjure up an image of someone scrubbing pots and pans over a sink. Most households were still getting accustomed to electric lighting and new conveniences such as hot water heaters. As electricity became more common, households started a trend of upward domestic mobility, and the middle classes started to want clothes washing machines and refrigerators. This started a mania for kitchen appliances that revolutionized the home and continues to this day.

The Post World War II Period

In the boom following World War II, there was a period of amazing innovation and invention. A mechanically run dishwasher was developed, but it didn’t become a popular home appliance until the 1970s. During this time, the modern dishwasher was born, but homeowners still needed to budget for this luxury item as the costs of an automatic dishwasher were still reasonably high. Since the technology was still fairly new, the higher appliance cost left many households with the decision of whether a dishwasher is possible in their budget. Although some appliances such as ovens and refrigerators were considered vital in any kitchen, a dishwasher was still considered to be a luxury item. As the technology developed and pricing dropped, there was no longer a choice between budgeting for a dishwasher or refrigerator, so dishwasher sales soared. Today, the dishwasher is considered an essential kitchen appliance, with three quarters of households including a dishwasher.

The Modern Dishwasher

The modern dishwasher is a far more sophisticated appliance compared to the popular models of the 1970s and 1980s. Today, consumers expect more from their dishwasher than just clean dishes. New appliances are expected to not only clean and dry all types of dishes perfectly, but also not use excessive amounts of water and energy. This list of expectations has forced manufacturers to work harder to offer more sophisticated and efficient appliances. These days, you can expect a dishwasher to have multiple wash programs including settings for heavier soiled items such as pots and pans, with versatile racks that allow larger or awkward shaped items to be thoroughly washed. In addition, you can expect drying programs that are designed to allow you to take your dishes straight from dishwasher to cabinet. Unfortunately, this sophistication does mean that DIY repairs are far more challenging. While many modern dishwashers are designed to operate effectively, components will still wear out and can become damaged. So, you are likely to need professional repair help to resolve the problem and keep your dishwasher operating correctly. While this will add to your household costs, until there is a time when those pots and pans will scrub themselves, the dishwasher is bound to continue being a fixture in many homes.

The modern dishwasher is a fantastic device that makes life in a busy, modern home easier. If you’re having issues with your dishwasher, you can rely on a professional appliance repair specialist for an effective and long-lasting solution. For help with any dishwasher repair needs, ensure you speak to a professional home appliance repair service.