Believe it or not, some dishwashers get hot enough to sanitize items.
It may sound silly, but some dishwashers can actually be used to sanitize items. It’s true that the interior of a dishwasher, if not properly cleaned from time to time, becomes a breeding ground for nasty bacteria, but a thoroughly high-temperature rinse usually fixes that problem.
The generally accepted standard for killing bacteria is a consistent 155 degrees Fahrenheit. That means that merely reaching that temperature is not guaranteed to sterilize the interior of a dishwasher; you need prolonged exposure to this kind of heat.
Of course, we aren't doctors; if you’re searching the web for a green light to go ahead and wash your catheter in a built-in Frigidaire, you should consult a medical professional first. But according to a study hosted on the website of the National Institutes of Health, dishwashers can serve as a "suitable means of disinfecting medical instruments." Again, consult your doctor, but this article should provide a good starting point for dishwashers that might fit your needs.
According to these criteria, we’ve compiled a list of the top-tested dishwashers that feature at least one cycle capable of reaching these temperatures.
Miele Futura Crystal G5105SCU ($1,399)
The Miele G5105SCU is one of our highest-rated machines, a well balanced dishwasher that offers flexibility and great performance in addition to sanitation capabilities. It’s also quite expensive.
Through our tests, we found the G5105SCU reached at least 155 degrees on two cycles. The SaniWash option reached 156.8 degrees, while the longer-lasting and better-performing Pots & Pans cycle reached a more comfortable 164.4 degrees.
GE GLDT696TSS ($571-$749)
The GE GLDT696TSS is considerably more affordable than the Miele, although the performance is not quite as impressive.
Nonetheless, our tests found the GE’s Sanitize rinse reached a satisfactory 157.6 degrees. While the Heavy cycle also got pretty hot (154.4 degrees), it wasn’t quite enough to sanitize.
Bosch Integra SHX98M09UC ($1,649)
This Bosch Integra shares is one of the best machines we’ve tested, as well as one of the most expensive. It has a lot to offer. When it comes to sanitation, the SHX98M09UC has a whopping three cycles that surpass 155 degrees: Super Auto Wash (156.5), Auto Delicate Wash (157), and Auto Wash + Sani (160.9). It’s important to note here that just because some of these washes reached 155 degrees does not mean they are completely thorough in killing bacteria, as it is all about the duration of high temperature exposure. For this reason, put your trust in the specifically designated ”sanitize” cycles.
Maytag MDC4809PAB ($625-$749)
A very large and portable machine, the Maytag MDC4809PAB is highly efficient and will serve most high-operating kitchens, even if its features are lacking and its performance forgettable.
Like the Bosch Integra, the MDC4809PAB has a Sanitize option, and it can be added to any of the main cycles, thereby drawing up the heat to sanitization levels. In our tests, the Normal cycle with the Sani option was able to reach a fairly consistent 156 degrees.
Electrolux EIDW5905JS ($789-$999)
The brawny, thirsty, high capacity Electrolux EIDW5905JS is fairly expensive, but it performs well enough to sanitize goods. The EIDW5905JS has both high-temperature and sanitize options. We tested the Normal cycle with Sanitize and found it reached a steamy 158.9 degrees.