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Which dishwashers will help you survive Christmas?

The programs and features to give you cleaner plates, pans and glassware

Which dishwashers will help you survive Christmas?

Discover the dishwasher programs and features for easier cleaning after Christmas dinner, and the dishwashers that have them.

Or head straight to our round-up of the best dishwashers for 2019 to compare our top reviews.

Can’t-do-without dishwasher programs

Intensive program

Our research has found more than a third of dishwasher owners automatically head to the default program when doing a wash.* But to get rid of stubborn baked-on roast potato bits, try your intensive program for a change.

Intensive programs use more energy and water than normal program, and wash at a higher temperature.

However, all that extra cleaning power doesn’t need to take forever. We’ve recently tested the Beko DFN05310W. It costs just £200 and has a quick two-hour 70°C intensive wash. Follow the link above to read the review and find out how well its intensive wash will tackle your turkey pan.

Most dishwashers will come with an intensive wash program. If you don’t have one called ‘intensive’, choose any program with a higher temperature to ensure a more thorough clean.

Delicates and glassware program

This makes it possible for you to clean your special china, glassware and crystal into the dishwasher.

Delicate programs wash at a lower temperature and water pressure to more gently clean your most precious items, such as champagne flutes.

The £250 Kenwood KID60S18 has a fuzzy logic delicate program. This means that it will measure how much soiling there is and then tailor the temperature and duration of the wash to suit.

Compare all dishwashers with delicate programs

Fast program

If you’re caught without any clean plates or bowls, a speedy wash will save you in a pinch. Even most cheap dishwashers now have this, but not all fast programs are created equal, so check timings before you buy.

The Sharp QW-HT43F393W has three different fast programs. A mini wash that lasts just 18 minutes, for up to four place settings, a 30-minute wash for lightly soiled or pre-rinsed dishes and a 50-minute program for quick daily washing.

Useful features

Adjustable height rack

Most dishwashers now allow you to adjust the height of the top rack – helping you squeeze in those big Christmas platters or tall champagne flutes.

But depending on your dishwasher, you might not be able to fit all your bigger items in, even with an adjustable rack. We’ve found some models that still won’t fit longer-stemmed wine glasses or shorter 20cm wine glasses in.

Before buying a new dishwasher, check our dishwasher reviews if room for taller items is vital for you.


The Grundig GNV22620, pictured below, has a unique TrayMaster feature, which can be used along with tray supports in the lower rack to clean up to three oven trays or shelves at a time. This is done by using a higher water pressure than a regular wash.

More of a hindrance than a help?

Two-zone program

Programs that wash one dishwasher rack at a higher temperature and the other at a more gentle low temperature are now commonplace.

Manufacturers claim that this means their dishwashers can clean grimy baking trays and delicate glassware in the same wash.

But our experience of the two-zone program is that cleaning power isn’t as good as the main program. We found it threw a lot of the tough grime from the lower rack on to the items in the top rack, as well as using more energy and water.

Larger capacity

While 16 place settings dishwashers sound incredibly useful if you’ve got the whole family descending for Christmas dinner, it’s worth remembering this…

The inside of a 16 place-setting dishwasher isn’t any bigger than one that can handle 14 or 15 place settings. So, unless you stack it correctly you could end up with some still-dirty dishes.

Read our guide on how to load your dishwasher.

* Which? survey of more than 12,000 dishwasher owners in July 2018 revealed that more than a third (37%) of owners always use the default automatic program setting on their dishwasher and 28% say they often use the default automatic setting.

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