Whirlpool dishwasher cycle guide

Whirlpool dishwasher cycle guide DEFAULT

Whirlpool Gold WDT920SADM Dishwasher Review

Unfortunately, it doesn't clean as well as some of its similarly-priced competitors from Electrolux and Bosch, among others. That's something no amount of specialized cycles or customization options can really make up for.

Whirlpool WDT920SADM cheese stain

Redeposit was a common problem across all the WDT920SADM’s cycles. The quicker the cycle, the greater the redeposit. On the Normal cycle, we even found pieces of spinach on items loaded on the upper rack, far away from the bowls where they originated.

Tea is an easy stain for many dishwashers to handle, but we found noticeable brown rings in our mugs after some cycles. Also, meat proved a particularly difficult challenge for the WDT920SADM, with visible chunks of protein left on our plates after both Normal and 1-Hour runs. Only the Heavy cycle managed an acceptable 99.94% score with meat stains.

The Heavy cycle failed in other areas, though. This cycle only managed an average score of 87.71% with burnt cheese, and it left some lasagna and burnt sugar stains behind, as well. Although this cycle had the fewest instances of redeposit, there was still enough to drag down the score.

An attractive shell with many moving parts inside

Whirlpool WDT920SADM

The Whirlpool's stainless interior not only gives this machine a sense of style, but it also serves as good noise insulation and speeds up the drying process. The hidden control panel on the top of the door features bright blue indicator lights and a convenient digital timer display. There's also a small LED above the handlebar that lets you know if the dishwasher is active or idle.

This dishwasher’s cutlery basket can hang on the door or rest in the lower rack, freeing up more space for larger plates, pots, and pans. The basket's front swings open for easy silverware extraction, while fold-down slots keep your eating utensils separated during the wash.

Foldable tines on both racks, a pair of cup shelves on the top rack, and an easy-to-use height adjustment mechanism mean items of all shapes and sizes can find a home inside the WDT920SADM. We were able to comfortably fit eleven of our standardized place settings and a serving setting inside at one time.

Some unfamiliar faces

While the WDT920SADM has the usual Normal, Heavy, and 1-Hour Wash cycles, it’s also equipped with a Sensor wash, as well as Soak & Clean. The former uses internal sensors to calculate just how many wash and rinse cycles a load needs by detecting how dirty your dishes are.


Design Gallery

  • Whirlpool WDT920SADM interior

    The WDT920SADM's interior is wall-to-wall stainless steel.

  • Whirlpool WDT920SADM bottom rack

    The WDT920SADM's lower rack has adjustable tines to accommodate items of all sizes.

  • Whirlpool WDT920SADM top rack

    The WDT920SADM's upper rack also has folding tines, cup shelves, and an easy-to-use height adjustment mechanism.

  • Whirlpool WDT920SADM cutlery basket

    The cutlery basket's front can open completely, and the top has slots for keeping silverware separated.

  • Whirlpool WDT920SADM controls

    The control panel has a bright blue digital display.

  • Whirlpool WDT920SADM filter

    The detachable filter at the bottom of the WDT920SADM's tub

  • Whirlpool WDT920SADM wash arm

    The WDT920SADM's wash arm resting at the bottom of the tub

  • Whirlpool WDT920SADM Target Clean

    These Target Clean high-intensity spray jets are used to power through the nastiest stains.

  • Whirlpool detergent dispenser

    The WDT920SADM's detergent and rinse aid dispenser

  • Slide 1 of 9

    The WDT920SADM's interior is wall-to-wall stainless steel.
  • Slide 1 of 9

    The WDT920SADM's lower rack has adjustable tines to accommodate items of all sizes.
  • Slide 1 of 9

    The WDT920SADM's upper rack also has folding tines, cup shelves, and an easy-to-use height adjustment mechanism.
  • Slide 1 of 9

    The cutlery basket's front can open completely, and the top has slots for keeping silverware separated.
  • Slide 1 of 9

    The control panel has a bright blue digital display.
  • Slide 1 of 9

    The detachable filter at the bottom of the WDT920SADM's tub
  • Slide 1 of 9

    The WDT920SADM's wash arm resting at the bottom of the tub
  • Slide 1 of 9

    These Target Clean high-intensity spray jets are used to power through the nastiest stains.
  • Slide 1 of 9

    The WDT920SADM's detergent and rinse aid dispenser

Soak & Clean—which takes over seven hours—is meant to tackle the kind of tough, dried-on stains that even a Heavy wash can't handle. By constantly running water over the dishes before cleaning them—essentially adding a super long prewash—it's designed to save you from having to soak items overnight in the sink, only to load them into the dishwasher the next morning.

A small smattering of useful wash options round out the WDT920SADM’s list of features. Sani Rinse and Hi Temp Wash boost the water temperature of the final rinse and the wash cycle, respectively. Target Clean activates high-intensity spray jets located at the back of the tub. Heat Dry, which is on by default for most cycles, adds about 30 minutes of drying with the dishwasher’s exposed heating element.

Whirlpool WDT920SADM controls

The WDT920SADM uses more water and energy than the average dishwasher, leading to an estimated annual cost of $31.24 a year. The Normal Wash uses 0.78 kWh of power and 3.01 gallons of water, which is reasonable. However, the Heavy cycle and 1-Hour Wash bring efficiency way down. Heavy uses 0.86 kWh of energy and a whopping 8.14 gallons of water, while 1-Hour Wash uses 0.40 kWh and 8.05 gallons.

A less than thorough cleaning

Whirlpool WDT920SADM cheese stain

Across all the cycles we tested on the WDT920SADM, there was a noticeable redeposit problem. Usually the result of poor filtration, this is when food particles from one dish get spread to another during the wash. During our testing, we often found flecks of spinach on each dish—even on mugs and glasses loaded on the top rack far from where the spinach originated.

Redeposit issue aside, the WDT920SADM still failed to clean other stains perfectly. Scores for leftover meat bits—a very common food stain—weren’t particularly great, and even tea remained at the end of some the cycles. Also, the Heavy cycle couldn’t handle the burnt cheese test on its default setting. The dishwasher’s optional Target Clean feature should help improve the results, but may increase water usage.

In addition, the WDT920SADM isn’t particularly speedy. Other than the 1-Hour Wash—which, unsurprisingly, took an hour—the rest of the cycles last well over two hours. With an estimated annual expense of $31.24 a year, this dishwasher isn't outstanding when it comes to water and energy use.

Whirlpool WDT920SADM lasagna stain

For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Perhaps its one saving grace, the WDT920SADM’s interior is filled to the brim with moving parts that make loading dishes a breeze. There’s a height adjustment mechanism for the upper rack, a flexible cutlery basket that lives on the door instead of the lower rack, and plenty of folding tines all around. We were able to fit eleven place settings and a serving setting inside without any hassle.


Capacity Gallery

  • Whirlpool WDT920SADM bottom rack capacity

    The WDT920SADM's lower rack loaded with plates and cookware

  • Whirlpool WDT920SADM top rack capacity

    The WDT920SADM's upper rack loaded with glasses and mugs

  • Whirlpool WDT920SADM cutlery capacity

    The WDT920SADM's cutlery basket fully-loaded with silverware and serving utensils

  • Slide 1 of 3

    The WDT920SADM's lower rack loaded with plates and cookware
  • Slide 1 of 3

    The WDT920SADM's upper rack loaded with glasses and mugs
  • Slide 1 of 3

    The WDT920SADM's cutlery basket fully-loaded with silverware and serving utensils
Whirlpool WDT920SADM cutlery basket

Great features, but performance lags behind

It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles you put on a dishwasher. At the end of the day, it should be able to clean your dishes. Even though you can find the WDT920SADM on sale for as low as $714.60, there are other machines at or below this price that will serve you better.

Take, for example, the Electrolux EI24ID30QS, which you can usually find for around $700. It has even more cycles, features, and cleaning power compared to the Whirlpool. Alternatively, the Bosch SHX4AT75UC is an efficient option, and offers a great selection of customizable wash features.

Meet the tester

Johnny Yu

Johnny Yu

Staff Writer


Johnny Yu writes news, features, and reviews for Reviewed.com. He graduated from U-Mass Boston with a Bachelor's in Social Psychology and spends much of his free time expanding his gaming horizons. Sometimes, he does his laundry at work.

See all of Johnny Yu's reviews

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Sours: https://www.reviewed.com/dishwashers/content/whirlpool-gold-wdt920sadm-dishwasher-review

A Guide to Dishwasher
Programs & Cycles

Your dishwasher probably has a number of different functions and settings that you don't use every day. From sanitizing to "quiet" mode, many models offer more settings than just "wash." Although we tend to get into thea habit of using the same dishwasher setting over and over, it’s important to understand what your machine is capable of so that your household can get the most out of your model. 

Here we'll explain some standard dishwasher settings and common cycles you might find on a modern dishwasher. 

Dishwasher eco setting

"Eco-mode" refers to the energy saving setting on a dishwasher. It helps to lower the wash and rinse temperatures during a cycle, thus using  less energy than would have otherwise been used to heat the water. 1

Does the dishwasher eco setting impact the quality of the clean your dishes will get? Some believe that lower water temperatures won't deliver the same results. However, as long as your dishes are small and not heavily soiled, the eco setting should work just as well as any other setting. So while you can't expect large pots and pans with caked-on food to come out the same, your regular dishes and glassware should come out beautifully. Just keep in mind that dishwasher eco cycles often take longer than regular cycles. 2

Dishwasher sanitize setting

You might have noticed a sanitize setting on your dishwasher and thought, "Isn't a regular wash good enough to eat off of?" It almost certainly is, however some prefer the guarantee of extra hot water. When you use the sanitize setting, your dishwasher releases an added blast of hot water (up to 150°F) in its final cycle. 3

If your machine doesn’t have a specific dishwasher sanitize setting don't worry about it. The regular high-temperature water combined with a powerful Finish® detergent can still combat grease, grime and stubborn food particles to get your dishes sparkling clean. 

Dishwasher drying setting

Nothing's more frustrating than having to dry your dishes as they come out of the dishwasher and go back into the cupboard. Luckily many modern dishwashers come with different drying settings, so you can find the dry cycle that works for you. 

Air dry

Mainly found in newer models, the air dry setting automatically pops the door open after a cycle to allow the steam to escape. 

Heated rinse 

Also more commonly found in modern dishwashers, a heated rinse setting increases the water temperature towards the end of the cycle. When it’s done, the hot water evaporates quickly, leaving your dishes drier than if cool water were used instead. 

Fan dry

The only issue with other dry settings is they can increase your machine's energy output, and thus your energy bill. If you want to avoid this, use the fan dry setting on your machine. When you choose this setting, your machine will use circulated room temperature air to dry your dishes, as opposed to running its internal, energy-zapping heater.

Heat dry

Just as it sounds, the heat dry setting on your dishwasher uses an internal exhaust fan to dry your dishes with heated air. Although this setting is handy to use if you’re going to be out of the house for a considerable time after the dishwasher cycle stops, it’s best to either use the air dry or fan dry settings, or even crack the door open to let the dishes dry naturally. 4

Dishwasher cycles

If you've just been pressing "Start" on the same cycle for years, take a moment to learn about other dishwasher cycle settings. You might get cleaner dishes if you use a cycle tailored for their needs!

Most conventional dishwashers come with three standard cycles: light, normal and heavy for larger pots and pans. These settings are each well suited to regular dishes and everyday "dirt," but you might find your model has some of the below dishwasher cleaning cycles, too.


Like the eco setting, the auto cycle uses a sensor to detect how much dirt is on your dishes, and then adjusts the water temperature and cycle duration accordingly. 


The express, or "speedy" cycle, can have your dishes sparkling in as little as 20 minutes. However, this setting is only recommended for lightly soiled dishes that just need a quick clean.


Often found in premium dishwashers, "quiet mode," or the silent cycle, claims to reduce the noise your machine makes. This setting is perfect for open plan homes (or homes with sleeping babies). 


This cycle uses a lower water temperature to protect your more delicate items (like glassware, china and crystal). Of course, you should avoid putting extra special items in the dishwasher whenever possible. 5

Rinse only

Even though this cycle may sound counterintuitive (remember: you shouldn’t rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher), it’s actually a good way to ensure you don’t end up with a smelly dishwasher. The rinse cycle uses no detergent and very little water and power to splash your dishes as they sit in the machine, waiting for a wash cycle. This means you can hold off until you have a full load to run your dishwasher, without the hassle of letting your dishes fester in the machine. 6

Delay start 

The "delay start" setting enables you to set a timer that will activate a pre-selected cycle. This option is particularly handy if you choose to wash your dishes at night, when your electricity plan is often cheaper. 7

Now that you understand your dishwasher’s settings and cycles, learn more about the signs and symbols that feature on your machine.

1. http://dishwasherreviews.co.uk/need-know-dishwasher-programs.html
2. https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/dishwashers/article/dishwasher-programs-explained
3. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/dishwashers-sterilize-84323.html
4. https://www.hunker.com/12145906/how-does-a-dishwasher-dry
5. https://www.reviewed.com/dishwashers/features/everything-you-need-to-know-about-dishwasher-cycles
6. https://www.reviewed.com/dishwashers/features/youre-not-using-your-dishwasher-rinse-cycle-enough
7. https://www.cnet.com/how-to/this-is-what-all-those-buttons-on-your-dishwasher-do/

Sours: https://www.finishdishwashing.com/ultimate-dishwashing/settings-and-cycles/a-guide-to-dishwasher-programs-cycles
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This information covers several different models. Your dishwasher may not have all of the cycles and options described. Estimated cycle

times may increase or decrease depending on water temperature, soil conditions, dish load size, and options selected. You can customize

your cycle by selecting an option.

See option selections. If you change your mind, press the option again to turn off the option, or select a different option. You can change

an option anytime before the selected option begins. At each stage of the wash cycle, you may hear noises that you are not used to

hearing in your previous dishwasher. Each cycle will provide a series of pauses and water sprays throughout the wash cycle. This is

normal and will provide optimal cleaning performance.

The most advanced and versatile cycle. This cycle senses load size, soil amount, and

toughness of soil, to adjust the cycle for optimal cleaning using only the amount of

water and energy needed. Use for all soil levels.

Use for hard-to-clean, heavily soiled pots, pans, casseroles, and tableware.

This cycle with only the Heated Dry option selected, and without other options selected,

is recommended to completely wash and dry a full load of normally soiled dishes. The

energy usage label is based on this cycle and option combination.

For fast results, 1-Hour Wash will clean dishes using slightly more water and energy.

Select the Heat Dry option to provide best dry performance.

This cycle quietly soaks dishes with an extended prewash which eliminates the need to

presoak dishes saving personal time and effort. For optimal cleaning results during the

Soak & Clean cycle add prewash detergent. Use this cycle for loads with heavy amounts

of dried on or hard to clean baked-on food.

IMPORTANT: The sensor in your dishwasher monitors the soil level. Cycle time and/or water usage can vary as the sensor adjusts the

cycle for the best wash performance. If the incoming water is less than the recommended temperature or food soils are heavy, the cycle

will automatically compensate by adding time, heat and water as needed.



Activates the TargetClean™ spray jets and provides

intensified water spray to the back of the lower level


May add heat and time to the cycle.

Raises main wash temperature to improve cleaning

for loads containing tough, baked-on food.

Sanitizes dishes and glassware in accordance with

NSF International NSF/ANSI Standard 184 for

Residential Dishwashers. Certified residential

dishwashers are not intended for licensed food

establishments. The Sani indicator indicates at the

end of the cycle whether the Sani Rinse option was

successfully completed. If indicator does not

activate, it is probably due to cycle being interrupted.


Cycle and Option Descriptions








Raises main


wash temperature


from 105°F

Soak & Clean

(41°C) to120°F



Raises the main


wash temperature


to 135°F (57°C)

Soak & Clean


Raises the main


wash temperature


to 135°F (57°C)

and the final rinse

temperature to

156°F (69°C)








3.38 to 7.4

(12.8 to 28.0))





2.4 to 7.4

(9.09 to 28)


7.87 (29.8)


7.4 (28.0)







0:12 to 0:57

0 to 4.8

(0 to 18.2)

0:05 to 0:13

0 to 3.86

(0 to 14.6)

0:05 to 1:06

0 to 3.86

(0 to 14.6)

Sours: https://www.manualslib.com/manual/788520/Whirlpool-Dishwasher.html?page=8

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Guide whirlpool dishwasher cycle

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WHIRLPOOL Dishwasher Cycles Explained! Comparing Dishwasher Wash Cycles!

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