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What Are the Pros and Cons of a Stainless Steel Dishwasher?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

Aside from being nice to look at and giving the appearance of a very high-priced unit, a stainless steel dishwasher can be difficult to keep clean and free of fingerprints. These units also require special cleaning solvents to avoid damaging the finish of the dishwasher. Shoppers who are considering a top-of-the-line dishwasher should know that these units will often have stainless steel on the interior of the machine as well as on the exterior, and this provides its own special pros and cons.

One pro of using a dishwasher with a stainless steel interior is that the steel does not absorb any smells or odors. This will allow the dishwasher to have a new fresh smell every time the door is opened. The stainless steel also retains heat better than a comparable unit with a plastic tub, making it more economical to use over its lifetime. Most owners also claim that these dishwashers are quieter when operating than other units. This is especially popular for those who operate them at night.

Stainless steel dishwashers may compliment other appliances.
Stainless steel dishwashers may compliment other appliances.

A stainless steel dishwasher will require extra work to keep the exterior clean and looking good. Some commonly-used household cleaners can leave the stainless steel finish cloudy and streaked. These cleaners can also discolor the steel so that it becomes permanently stained and discolored. Many of the specialty cleaners are expensive, however, so many owners just use regular products, often leaving the machine not looking very good.

Steel does not absorb any smells or odors.
Steel does not absorb any smells or odors.

The staining of the exterior of the dishwasher is more common on the polished stainless steel than on the brushed finish, although there have been incidents of staining on both types. The biggest negative in purchasing the stainless steel models of any appliance is found in the price, which can be quite a bit higher than one with a standard finish. One benefit that simply cannot be overlooked, however, is that the stainless steel dishwasher will match a stainless steel refrigerator and range to complete the total appliance package.

Discussion Comments


It is not only the outside, but worse yet is the inside of the stainless dishwasher. First it takes hours to run, does not clean well (even using the recommended tablets--expensive) and the inside of the unit is all scummy. Repairman told me: because new ones use less water. Saves water maybe, but the trade off is all the energy used, expensive tablets, too long cycles, white coating on inside, and does not clean. Foolish. First he tried to tell me dishes not clean and white on inside was due to the water. Wrong--old unit was 35 years old and cleaned perfectly and fast on the 'light' cycle. Purchase of this Maytag dishwasher from Home Depot [closest store] for about 700.00 was a terrible choice. Big mistake.

Plus, the Maytag people were not helpful and certainly do not understand customer service.

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    • Stainless steel dishwashers may compliment other appliances.
      By: Piotr Pawinski
      Stainless steel dishwashers may compliment other appliances.
    • Steel does not absorb any smells or odors.
      By: jcfotografo
      Steel does not absorb any smells or odors.