How To Use Sanitize Cycle On Whirlpool Dishwasher

In today’s fast-paced world, dishwashers have become an essential appliance in most households. They not only save us time but also ensure our dishes are cleaned efficiently. One feature that many modern dishwashers, including Whirlpool, offer is the sanitize cycle. This cycle goes beyond just cleaning your dishes; it kills bacteria and germs, providing an extra layer of hygiene. In this article, we will guide you through the steps on how to use the sanitize cycle on your Whirlpool dishwasher effectively.

Understanding the Sanitize Cycle

Before we dive into the steps of using the sanitize cycle, let’s understand what it does. The sanitize cycle on a Whirlpool dishwasher is designed to raise the water temperature during the wash to a level that kills 99.9% of common household bacteria. This is especially important for families with young children or anyone concerned about the cleanliness of their dishes.

Step 1: Load Your Dishwasher Properly

The first step to using the sanitize cycle is to ensure that your dishwasher is loaded correctly. Place your dishes, utensils, and cookware in the racks, making sure nothing is blocking the spray arms. This will allow the hot water to reach all the items effectively.

Step 2: Add Detergent

Next, add the appropriate dishwasher detergent to the dispenser. Whirlpool recommends using their branded detergent for optimal results. Using the right detergent ensures that the sanitize cycle works as intended.

Step 3: Select the Sanitize Cycle

Now comes the crucial step – selecting the sanitize cycle on your Whirlpool dishwasher. This may vary depending on the model you own, but typically, it can be found on the control panel. Look for a button or option labeled “Sanitize” or “Sani Rinse.” Press it to activate the cycle.

Step 4: Start the Dishwasher

After selecting the sanitize cycle, close the dishwasher door and start the appliance. The dishwasher will now begin the wash cycle, and the sanitize feature will kick in, raising the water temperature to the necessary level to kill bacteria.

Step 5: Wait for Completion

Allow the dishwasher to complete the sanitize cycle. This may take a bit longer than a regular wash cycle, but the added peace of mind regarding cleanliness is worth it. Once the cycle is finished, the dishwasher will typically indicate that it’s done.

Step 6: Unload and Enjoy Clean, Sanitized Dishes

Now that the sanitize cycle has completed, you can safely unload your dishes, knowing that they have been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. You can also let them air dry or use the dishwasher’s drying function.

Benefits of Using the Sanitize Cycle

Using the sanitize cycle on your Whirlpool dishwasher offers several benefits:

1. Enhanced Hygiene

The primary benefit is improved hygiene. The high water temperature during the sanitize cycle ensures that harmful bacteria and germs are eliminated, making your dishes safer to use.

2. Healthier Living

For households with individuals with weakened immune systems or allergies, the sanitize cycle provides a valuable layer of protection against potential contaminants.

3. Cleaner Dishes

The sanitize cycle not only kills bacteria but also removes tough stains and food residues, leaving your dishes looking sparkling clean.

4. Peace of Mind

Knowing that your dishes are not only clean but also sanitized can give you peace of mind, especially when handling baby bottles and kitchenware.


The sanitize cycle on your Whirlpool dishwasher is a valuable feature that ensures your dishes are not only clean but also free from harmful bacteria. By following the simple steps outlined in this guide, you can make the most of this feature and enjoy the benefits of cleaner, safer, and more hygienic dishes.


1. Is the sanitize cycle necessary for every load?

While it’s not necessary for every load, it’s recommended for items like baby bottles, cutting boards, and items that have come into contact with raw meat.

2. Can I use any dishwasher detergent with the sanitize cycle?

Whirlpool recommends using their branded detergent for the best results, but other high-quality dishwasher detergents can also be effective.

3. How hot does the water get during the sanitize cycle?

The water temperature can reach up to 150°F (65.6°C) during the sanitize cycle.

4. Does the sanitize cycle use more energy?

Yes, the sanitize cycle does use more energy due to the higher water temperature. However, it’s an energy-efficient way to ensure hygiene when needed.

5. Can I open the dishwasher during the sanitize cycle?

It’s best to avoid opening the dishwasher during the sanitize cycle to maintain the high water temperature and effectiveness of the process.

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