How Long Do Portable Dishwashers Run? (Actual Numbers)

A portable dishwasher not only makes the task of dishwashing convenient but is also quicker than a full-size or built-in dishwasher.

Most portable dishwasher cycles take about 60 – 150 minutes to wash dishes. It depends on the type of dishwasher, the wash cycle you choose, and the brand. While portable dishwashers take lesser time than standard dishwashers, the heavy and eco programs run longer than normal cycles.

So, how long do portable dishwashers run? Here’s the information to answer this question.

Portable Dishwasher Cycle Times

The cycle length of portable dishwashers varies strongly among countertop and free-standing models.

Countertop dishwashers do have shorter cycles ranging from 58 to 110 minutes for normal programs and 29 to 45 minutes for a quick run. The cycle length depends primarily on the chosen program and the brand.

Within several different brands are significant correlations in the numbers that lead to the conclusion that the underlying models are produced equally (or very similar) by a single manufacturer.

While each brand has its own design, the interior often seems to have a common origin.

Among many countertop dishwashers, we found the models from Comfee to be the quickest for normal and rapid programs.

Cycle Length of Countertop Dishwashers

Free-standing dishwashers work the same way built-in models do. The designs and dimensions are very similar resulting in longer cycles than countertop dishwashers.

Portable free-standing dishwashers do need 121 to 150 minutes for a normal cycle and 60 minutes for a quick program. The duration is just a little bit shorter than for built-in models and noticeably longer than for countertop dishwashers.

The number of available products in this category is very limited and only a few brands do have some appliances in their portfolio. We’ve found 3 models to compare:

Cycle Length of free-standing dishwashers

The correlation between different models is surprising and most devices we’ve found do have exactly the same programs and cycle lengths.

As for some countertop models, we assume that most free-standing dishwashers do have the same technical origin and are more-or-less the same.

Do Portable Dishwashers Need More Than One Cycle?

A portable dishwasher provides similar cleaning to a built-in dishwasher. Usually, a single cycle suffices if the program selected is suitable for the load in the dishwasher.

However, a portable dishwasher may need more than one cycle in the following scenarios:

  • If the dishes are extremely dirty, have dried stains, or heavy grease
  • You overload the appliance beyond the recommended capacity
  • The dishwasher is small, with less capacity
    (you’ll need to do multiple loads to match the capacity of a regular dishwasher)

How To Shorten The Cycle Of Portable Dishwashers?

It is essential to understand that, unlike an older dishwasher, a new dishwasher that’s Energy star rated consumes less energy and uses less water but runs longer to clean the dirty dishes.

To reduce the cycle length and maintain a sufficient cleaning result you have to give up on energy efficiency or improve the starting conditions for the dishwasher.

Here are some tips to shorten the cycle time of portable dishwashers.

Use Hot Water

A dishwasher needs water that’s at least 120°F for efficient washing, and it takes one minute for each degree of heating.

The higher the water temperature needed for a wash cycle, the more time the dishwasher spends heating the water (that means for a cycle that needs 140°F, the dishwasher may take up to 40 minutes to heat the water).

Before you connect the water inlet to the kitchen sink faucet, run hot water in the kitchen sink first.

This ensures the water entering the dishwasher is already hot and helps save time.

Check Water Pressure

Ensure there is good water pressure through the inlet pipe. Insufficient water pressure prolongs the wash cycle since the dishwasher will take longer to fill with the required amount of water.

Check the manufacturer’s guide for the minimum and maximum water pressure, and ensure your dishwasher’s inlet valve is clean and not clogged.

Use Shorter Cycles

Check your dishwasher manual for the list of available cycles and the corresponding time each cycle runs. Before selecting a wash cycle, remember the higher the heat setting, the longer the cycle time.

A shorter wash (Quick, Rapid, or Speed) will often suffice for lightly soiled loads that don’t require drying. However, this might not be the most economical option since the energy and water usage is almost similar to that of a normal cycle.

Pre-Rinse the Dishes

The wash cycle gets extended for dishwashers with sensors if the sensors detect the dishes are still dirty. The dirtier the dishes, the longer the cycle.

If any of your dishes have dairy or starch residue or are heavily soiled, it helps to rinse the dishes with cold water before loading them into the dishwasher.

Regular Maintenance

Clogs in the water system or mineral deposits will increase the dishwasher cycle time. To avoid these, regular maintenance is required.

Avoid Clogs

Here are some ways to avoid clogs:

  • Inspect the drain hose and clear any clogs. Replace a damaged hose.
  • Even if your dishwasher has a self-cleaning filter (filters prevent debris from entering the system), inspect and clean the filter regularly for water to pass through easily.

Thoroughly Clean the Appliance

The white or orange-brown streaks/splotches are mineral deposits that could impact the dishwasher’s performance. Also, for dishwashers with a sensor wash or an automatic wash cycle, any mineral or dirt buildup affects the sensor calibration, causing the dishwasher to run longer.

To remove buildup, run an empty cycle with white vinegar or a dishwasher cleaner formulated to remove hard water and mineral deposits.

If the deposits remain, you may need to use soap and a damp sponge to scrub the inside of the dishwasher.

We do have some more tips everybody should know: How To Use Portable Dishwashers? A Complete Guide

Portable Dishwashers With Short Cycles

For short cycles, here’s the countertop and portable dishwasher on wheels that are worth considering.

Countertop Dishwasher

Sunpentown SPT

While most dishwashers have a single option for a quick or rapid cycle, this Energy star countertop dishwasher with six wash cycles has two speedy cycles.

It has six standard place settings.

The Mini-party program (for lightly soiled loads like glasses, crystal, and fine china) takes 20 minutes, and the Speed program takes 45 minutes. A normal wash cycle takes 110 minutes.

With just three buttons and a row of lights for the different programs on its control panel on the dishwasher door, this mini dishwasher is simple to use.

At 55 decibels, it’s comparatively quieter than most other models. However, this model doesn’t have a delay start option.

From $289

Free-Standing Dishwasher

Black + Decker

With an 8-place setting capacity, this 18-inch portable dishwasher has six wash cycles (Normal, Heavy, Glass, ECO, 90-minute, and Rapid).

The Rapid cycle takes 60 minutes while a normal cycle takes 121 – 150 minutes.

An adjustable top rack makes it easy to accommodate taller dishes. Easy-to-push buttons and an easy-to-read LED display make for easy operation.

The Hi-Temp and Heated Dry options thoroughly clean and sanitize dishes with a hot water temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit and dry them.

This dishwasher on wheels doubles as a worktop counter and kitchen island when not in use.

From $599

If your are not sure if a portable dishwasher is right for you, check our article: Are Portable Dishwashers Worth It? (Facts Before Buying)


Portable dishwashers can take anywhere from 45 minutes for a rapid wash to 165 minutes for a heavy wash. Based on the dishwasher model, capacity, load, and soil level, different cycles will take different times.

Some ways to reduce the cycle time include using hot water, shorter cycles, regular maintenance, ensuring proper water pressure, and pre-rinsing the dishes before loading the dishwasher. Also, some portable dishwasher models offer a quick/rapid wash of shorter duration than most other models.