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 sort of everyone’s best friend. 

I know most of you guys call plumbers when you need to set up your dishwasher. After the setup, you just use it to clean up the pile of 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 just couldn’t wash the dishes like it used to do. 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. 

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

Can a Dishwasher be Hooked to Cold Water?

You can easily hook your dishwashers with cold water. In fact, a lot of dishwashers these days are hooked up to cold water and still doing a terrific job of 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 certain 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 how 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 other type is dishwashers that draw cold water and heat them inside. Most modern dishwashers do this with a water heater equipped inside. 

Now, if you own a dishwasher of the latter kind, you can easily 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?

To be specific, you don’t need hot water to run the dishwasher. As described earlier, dishwashers can easily run with cold water and heat the water to clean dishes. But if your dishwasher doesn’t have the self-heating function, you’ll definitely 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 fail to generate any, that can leave you wondering whether your dishwasher will clean without hot water. 

Yes, your dishwasher will 100% work. 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 still left on your dishes, and the sanitization won’t be proper.  

Why Hot Water is the Ideal Choice for Washing Dishes?

As I have been telling you throughout the article, you can use cold water in your dishwasher. The dishwasher will run, the dishes will get cleaned, but still, the cleaning performance won’t be anywhere 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 still remain there. Cool water might stop the bacteria from spreading at best, but it’s not an ideal choice to get rid of all the germs and bacteria permanently.


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

Cloudy Stains

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

These undissolved cleaning substances can leave a cloudy stain on the surface of your dishes. So, if you are using 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. There are multiple benefits that put hot waters ahead here. 

  • For starters, hot water can clean dirty dishes faster than cold water. Also, where stubborn food greases might need multiple wash cycles with cold water, with hot water, it can be washed with only one cycle.
  • Then comes the detergent factors. The detergents and pods used in dishwashers are mostly surfactant bases. So, they get along with hot water better and provide more sanitized and effective cleaning.  
  • For the last reason, let’s have a little physics lesson here. When hot, water molecules move faster than they do I cold waters. So, hot water with rapid molecule movement does a better job at breaking the bonds in greases and food stains, therefore washing them efficiently.

Why is Your Dishwasher Only Using Cold Water?

If your dishwasher suddenly stops cleaning dishes as it used to, using cold water instead of hot could be a key reason behind it. So, how to know if your dishwasher has stopped heating water? There are some clear indicators that show the dishwasher isn’t getting sufficient enough water.  

  • If your dishes are coming out dirty, that’s the most common indicator that the dishwasher uses cold water.
  • If you notice your dish feels sticky even after multiple wash cycles, the cold water can be a reason for that.
  • If the dishwasher is using cold water, you’ll often notice that there is leftover detergent inside the dishwasher. 
  • Lastly, as I told you earlier, old water leaves a cloudy stain on dishes. If that happens continuously, that is another indication your dishwasher heater is malfunctioning. 

If you face any of the issues mentioned above, it’s most likely because of the cold water issue. Here, knowing why your dishwasher is only using cold water can help you identify and solve this issue. 

  • Most dishwashers use their own 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 dishwashers 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.

Apart from these two cases, if the cold water usage continues, taking professional help is the best way to deal with it. If the servicing cost you a lot, you are better off just buying a new dishwasher. 

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


Here we are at the end of this article. I hope by now you have a better understanding of this whole 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 tends to be more time-consuming and take up a lot 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 at all 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 have to run the dishes through multiple cycles for proper cleaning, but that should still be easier than cleaning a huge pile of dishes by hand. 

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