Can You Run a Dishwasher With Cold Water?


Have you ever wondered how the dishwasher in your kitchen washes those dirty dishes so flawlessly day after day? I mean, this kitchen appliance is everyone’s best friend.

I know most of you guys call plumbers when you need to set up your dishwasher. After the setup, you use it to clean up the dirty dishes without knowing how it’s cleaning them and what type of water is used inside.

But there comes a day when your dishwasher can’t wash the dishes like it used to. When you look closely, you notice that the water drawn by the dishwasher is not as hot as before.

That can make you ask whether you can hook a dishwasher with cold water full-time to make it work. 

Dishwasher can work with clod water also
Dishwashers are okay with using cold water unless specified, as they use hot water

So, in this article, I’ll take a deep down into the water source of the dishwasher to answer the question and discuss other similar stuff homeowners often ask about water usage in a dishwasher.

Also, let’s find out whether running a dishwasher with cold water is possible and the potential benefits and drawbacks. Consider the factors when deciding to use cold water in your dishwasher.

Quick Answer

Yes. You can quickly hook your dishwashers with cold water. Many dishwashers are hooked up to cold water and do a terrific job cleaning dirty dishes.

However, there is a catch here, as just hooking it up won’t suffice.

Let me explain, 

It’s common knowledge that every single dishwasher uses hot water to clean. So, you need to have a specific type of dishwasher to get away with hooking cold water to your dishwasher. There are usually two types of dishwashers out there:

  • There is a dishwasher that directly draws hot water from the hot water valve it’s connected to. The dishes then get cleaned with that water. Some dishwashers even take it further and reheat hot water to provide a more sanitized cleaning result.
The dishwasher draws the hot water from the hot water supply line in the kitchen
Some dishwashers use the hot water from the hot water valve in the kitchen directly for the cleaning process
  • The other type is dishwashers that draw cold water and heat them inside. Most modern dishwashers do this with a water heater equipped inside. 
Most modern dishwashers are equipped with an internal water heater
Most modern dishwashers are compatible with cold water because they are equipped with internal water heaters and allows them to function with several different temperatures

Now, if you own a dishwasher of the latter kind, you can quickly hook it up to cold water. Otherwise, it’s not advisable to hook your dishwasher to cold water. 

Do You Need Hot Water To Run the Dishwasher?

Specifically, you don’t need hot water to run the dishwasher. As described earlier, dishwashers can efficiently run with cold water and heat the water to clean dishes.

Dishwasher can clean the dirty dishes with the cold water also
The dishwasher can clean dirty dishes with cold water as well as hot water

But if your dishwasher doesn’t have the self-heating function, you’ll need hot water to run the dishwasher.

Otherwise, with cool water, the dishwasher won’t work as efficiently as it could have with hot water.

Will a Dishwasher Work Without Hot Water?

Again a similar question but with a different answer. A dishwasher uses hot water to clean germs and all; everyone knows that.

But for some reason, if you don’t have aces to hot water or your dishwasher fails to generate any, that can leave you wondering whether your dishwasher will clean without hot water.

Yes, your dishwasher will 100% work without hot water. It’s not like your dishwasher will stop totally. It’ll keep running as if nothing happened.

But when you get to see the cleaning results, there is where the problem lies. You might notice grease on your dishes, and the sanitization won’t be proper.

Learn the consequences of pouring grease down the drain after the washing cycle and how it can lead to solid clogs. For more information, refer to our article “Can You Pour Grease Down The Drain?“.

Once you have done that, you can refer to the article “How to Unclog a Grease-Clogged Drain” for helpful tips and information on removing clogs caused by grease.

Why is Hot Water the Ideal Choice for Washing Dishes?

As I told you throughout the article, you can use cold water in your dishwasher. The dishwasher will run, and the dishes will get cleaned, but the cleaning performance won’t be near hot water.

So here are some reasons why hot water is the ideal choice for washing dishes. 


Dishwashing is not only about cleaning visible grease and food residues. Even if cold water manages to wash those off, the bacteria and germs buildup on your dishes remain there.

Used dishes with food residues, bacteria, and germs
Used dishes not only contain leftover food but also germs and bacteria

Cool water might stop the bacteria from spreading at best, but it’s not an ideal choice to permanently eliminate all the germs and bacteria.

To eliminate those things hot water is the best solution to use in the dishwashers.


The viscosity of the food you have eaten on your dish can affect the difficulty of dishwashing afterward. Especially foods that carry lots of oil, fat, and sugar tend to get stuck with dishes quite easily.

Oil, fat, and sugar left on the dishes make cleaning difficult.
Food that carries oil, fat, and sugar left on the dishes makes cleaning difficult because of the viscosity

With cold waters, the viscosity of these substances increases even more. 

On the other hand, these substances lose viscosity with hot water as the temperature rises. So, hot water does a way better job with these sticky substances. 

Cloudy Stains

This is one of the most common issues you’ll face if you use your dishwasher with cold water. Whether dishwasher pods or detergent, cold water cannot dissolve from the dishes as soon as hot water can.

These undissolved cleaning substances can leave a cloudy stain on the surface of your dishes.

Inefficient cleaning leaves cloudy strains on the plates.
Inefficient cleaning with cold water in the dishwasher leaves cloudy strains on the plates.

So, if you use a dishwasher with cold water, you might need to run your dishes through multiple cycles, which won’t be the case with hot water.

Better Cleaning Quality

Overall, hot water offers a superior cleaning quality to cold water. Multiple benefits put hot waters ahead here.

The following table shows the pros and cons of using hot water vs cold water in the dishwasher.

Hot WaterCold water
More effective at removing dirt and grimeGentler on dishes and utensils
Heat can cause some materials to become misshapen or discoloredCold water does not cause damage to materials
Required for certain detergentsSome detergents may be more effective with cold water
More effective at killing bacteriaLess effective at killing bacteria
Provide a more thorough cleaningNot always provide the same level of cleaning performance as hot water

Why is Your Dishwasher Only Using Cold Water?

How to know if your dishwasher has stopped heating water? Some clear indicators show the dishwasher isn’t getting sufficient enough water.  

If your dishes come out dirty, the dish feels sticky even after multiple wash cycles, or if leftover detergent is inside the dishwasher, and leaves a cloudy stain on dishes are the most common indicators that the dishwasher uses cold water.

Also, another indication your dishwasher heater is malfunctioning.

Most dishwashers use their heating system to heat cold water these days. So, for any reason, if the heating system stops working, it can lead your dishwasher to use cold water only.

If your dishwasher is one of those that directly draws hot water from the waterline, the problem could be in the waterline. In that case, calling a plumber might be the best idea.

Factors to Consider When Using Cold Water in a Dishwasher

If your dishwasher starts to use cold water or you want to use cold water for your dishwasher for some reason, there are critical key points and factors to consider.

Point 1: Amount of dirty on the dishes

The type and amount of dirt and food residue on the dishes is the first key point you should pay attention to. If the plates are heavily soiled, cold water may not be as effective at removing dirt and grime as hot water.

In these cases, using hot water may provide a more thorough cleaning.

Point 2: Detergent type

Some detergents are formulated specifically for cold water and may be more effective at cleaning with cold water than others.

It’s essential to read the label and choose a detergent suitable for use with the water temperature you are using.

dishwasher detergent pods
Will be able to obtain better results with dishwasher detergents which was specially made for use with cold water

Point 3: Type and condition of the dishwasher

Dishwasher type and condition can affect the cleaning performance of cold water.

Some dishwashers may not be as effective at cleaning with cold water, mainly if they are older or in poor condition. In these cases, using hot water may provide better results.

Can Bosch Dishwashers Use Cold Water?

Bosch is one of the leading manufacturers in the dishwasher industry, and like most modern-day dishwashers, Bosch dishwashers can use cold water. 

As per the Bosch official website, it even recommends that users connect their dishwashers with a cold water line, except there is a better heating system like solar-powered heating with a circulation line. The dishwashers have a built-in heat pump that heats cold water and cleans the dishes according to programs. 


Here we are at the end of this article. I hope you better understand this issue of hot and cold water usage in your dishwasher. As you have seen above, hot water does perform better in washing than cold water in every aspect. 

Additionally, using cold water is more time-consuming and takes up much more water. So, if you want those shiny, sanitized dishes coming out every time, there is no alternative to hot water.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use cold water with your dishwasher. For any reason, if you don’t have access to hot water, it is completely fine to use cold water for cleaning.

Of course, you might run the dishes through multiple cycles for proper cleaning, but that should still be easier than cleaning a massive pile of dishes by hand. 

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