Should Dishwasher Be Closed When Not In Use: Exploring the Pros and Cons

When it comes to household appliances, the dishwasher has become a staple in many homes, making daily chores significantly more convenient. However, a common debate arises: should you keep the dishwasher door open or closed when it’s not in use? In this article, we’ll delve into the pros and cons of both approaches, shedding light on the impact it can have on your appliance’s longevity, hygiene, and energy efficiency.

The Case for Keeping the Dishwasher Closed

Preventing Unpleasant Odors

One of the primary reasons people choose to keep their dishwasher doors closed is to prevent unpleasant odors from permeating the kitchen. When the dishwasher door is shut, any leftover food particles or moisture are contained within, reducing the chances of foul smells from spreading.

Enhanced Aesthetic Appeal

A closed dishwasher offers a cleaner look to your kitchen. With the door closed, you eliminate the view of dirty dishes, providing a sense of organization and tidiness to the space.

Safety Concerns

Closed dishwasher doors can prevent accidents, especially in households with young children. An open dishwasher door can be a hazard, causing someone to trip or bump into it. Keeping it closed when not in use can mitigate such risks.

The Argument for Leaving the Dishwasher Open

Natural Air Drying

Leaving the dishwasher door open allows for natural air circulation, aiding in the drying process of dishes. This can result in spotless, streak-free plates and utensils, without the need for excessive hand drying or extra energy consumption.

Moisture Evaporation

Dishwashers generate residual heat even after the cleaning cycle. Leaving the door open allows this heat to escape along with excess moisture, preventing the growth of mold or mildew, which can compromise the dishwasher’s hygiene and longevity.

Energy Efficiency

Contrary to what one might assume, leaving the dishwasher door open can contribute to energy efficiency. By letting dishes air dry, you reduce the need for prolonged drying cycles, which consume more energy. This small change can have a positive impact on your household’s energy bills.

Finding the Middle Ground

Striking a balance between the two approaches can offer the best of both worlds. Consider using the dishwasher’s “crack” or “vent” feature, if available, which allows controlled air circulation while still keeping the door mostly closed. This compromise can help maintain a fresh-smelling kitchen while also promoting efficient drying.


In the grand debate of whether a dishwasher should be closed when not in use, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Your choice should take into account factors like preventing odors, ensuring hygiene, and optimizing energy consumption. Whether you’re team “closed door” or team “open door,” finding a balance that suits your household’s needs is key.


Q: Is leaving the dishwasher door open a waste of energy?

A: Surprisingly, it can actually save energy by reducing the need for longer drying cycles.

Q: Can I leave the dishwasher door open overnight?

A: It’s generally safe to do so, but consider your kitchen’s humidity levels and the potential for accidents.

Q: How do I prevent mold in my dishwasher?

A: Regularly clean the dishwasher’s interior, leave the door open to allow moisture to escape, and avoid overloading the appliance.

Q: Should I use rinse aid even if I leave the door open?

A: Yes, using rinse aid can improve drying performance even with the door open.

Q: Are modern dishwashers more energy-efficient?

A: Yes, many modern dishwashers are designed with energy efficiency in mind, offering various settings for optimized energy consumption.

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