Why TikTok's Fave Repair Tech Warns Against Opening The Dishwasher Mid-Cycle

How many times have you started the dishwasher for the night, only to later realize that you have another dirty bowl or glass to add to it? Sure, you can simply wash the dish by hand, but if you're in a rush or just don't feel like scrubbing, the natural response is to just throw it in the dishwasher. The question is, is it safe to open a dishwasher mid-cycle? And will the dishes clean just as well if the cycle is interrupted?

These are all valid questions. Appliance repair tech and TikTok user @renduh answered them on TikTok after a follower asked if it was okay to put a plate in the dishwasher just five minutes after starting it. The short but not-so-simple answer they provide is — it depends. It depends on which cycle the dishwasher is on and how far into the cycle it is. All modern dishwashers include a prewash cycle, which lasts three to eight minutes. This time period is essentially a rinse cycle (sans soap), so if you open your dishwasher in the middle of this cycle, it's perfectly safe. You won't affect the washing of your dishes since no soap has been released yet. Interrupting the main wash cycle, on the other hand, can create some problems.

Risks of stopping the main dishwasher cycle

If you need to stop your dishwasher after the prewash setting, it could mean you'll be interrupting the main wash setting, which obviously lasts much longer. The full duration of a normal wash cycle varies from brand to brand, but it typically lasts about two hours. So unless you're certain that the dishwasher is in the first half of the cycle, that straggler dish that you added may not get washed as thoroughly as the others, as @renduh explains.

Another potential risk involves the detergent. Stopping a wash cycle means the soap has been released (assuming you placed it in the appropriate dispenser) and mixed with the hot water. The TikToker warns that opening the door of the dishwasher during this time increases the chances of the soap chemicals splashing on your face or in your eyes if you're not careful. So, if you need to open your dishwasher in the middle of a cycle, make sure it's during the prewash phase, but remember, that time period only lasts a few minutes. After that, you'll be stopping the main wash cycle, which isn't ideal for your dishes.