Bosch Dishwasher Cycles Explained (how long & when to use)

Bosch dishwashers are well known for their reliability and efficiency in cleaning dishes. But if you’re like most people, you probably always use the same wash cycle every time you use your Bosch dishwasher.

This is often because you don’t really understand what the other cycles actually do. If this sounds like you, keep reading, because in this article we look at all of the cycles you’re likely to find on a Bosch dishwasher and explain exactly what they do and how long they run for.

Bosch Dishwasher Cycles

Bosch dishwashers have several cycles to choose from which include; express wash, auto-wash, normal wash, heavy wash, delicate wash, rinse-only cycle and sanitise cycle. Most Bosch dishwashers have 5 main cycles plus extra programmes for drying and sanitising.

Below, we explore all of these cycles in more detail so keep reading to find out what these cycles are designed for and when to use them.

CycleApproximate Time Taken (minutes)ApproximateTemperature (C)
Auto Wash95 to 135 minutes72 C
Heavy Wash115 to 135 minutes72 C
Delicate Wash80 minutes50 C (wash), 69 C (rinse)
Express Wash30 minutes72 C (wash), 50 C (rinse)
Normal Wash90 to 115 minutes69 C
Sanitise Wash90 minutesAbove 72 C
Rinse-Only10 to 15 minutes72 C
Quick Wash30 to 60 minutes50 C
Half Load30 to 45 minutes72 C

Auto Wash Cycle

This cycle detects how dirty the dishes are using sensors and adjusts accordingly. It runs for anywhere between 95 to 135 minutes but times may vary depending on how soiled the dishes are.

The water temperature used during this cycle can also vary according to the levels of dirt on the dishes but the highest temperature achieved during this cycle is 72 C (162 F).

Heavy Wash Cycle

The heavy wash cycle is good for cleaning heavily soiled items including pots, pans and dishes as well as plates and cutlery. It runs for around 115 to 135 minutes at a temperature of 72 C (162 F).

Due to the levels of dirt and the duration of the cycle at a high temperature, this cycle is not the most energy efficient cycle on your Bosch dishwasher.

Delicate Wash Cycle

The delicate wash cycle is designed to clean fancy china, silverware, crystal dishes and delicate glassware. It runs for around 80 minutes and washes at 50 C (122 F) and rinses at 69 C (156 F).

Express Cycle 

The express wash cycle is one of the fastest wash cycles and runs for around 30 minutes. Designed for washing lightly stained dishes, glasses and cutlery.  It washes at 72 C (162 F) and rinses at 50 C (122 F).

Normal Wash Cycle

The normal wash cycle is designed for cleaning everyday dishes that aren’t heavily soiled. It runs for anywhere between 90 to 115 minutes at a temperature of 69 C (156 F).

Sanitise Wash Cycle

The sanitise wash cycle, also known as the hygienic setting, uses a high temperature to kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria and is useful for items like baby bottles and childrens dishes. It runs for around 90 minutes and never at any temperature below 72 C (162 F).

Due to its high heat, plates are dried and come out of the dishwasher heated so they can be taken to the table preheated.

However, this cycle needs to be selected in conjunction with another wash cycle to ensure your dishes are clean.

Rinse-Only Cycle

The rinse cycle runs for 10 to 15 minutes at a temperature of 72 C (162 F) and is used as an extra rinse after the main wash cycle has completed.

It is designed to give your dishes an extra rinse to remove any excess detergent etc once the wash cycle has finished.

Quick Wash Cycle

The quick wash cycle or 60 minute cycle as it is also known, typically uses more energy, water and heat for fast cleaning results.

Some models have a 30 minute quick wash whilst others have a 60 minute quick wash. However long the quick wash cycle takes, it has a water temperature of 50 C (122 F).

You should select this cycle if you have a load of slightly dirty dishes that you need cleaned in a hurry.

Half Load Cycle

The half load cycle is designed for those times when you don’t have enough dishes for a full load but still want to get them clean. It functions in much the same way as a normal cycle but uses far less water and energy. 

It runs for anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes and uses a water temperature of 72 C (162 F).

Rinse & Hold Cycle

This cycle works exactly as you would expect given its name. It is used to spray your dishes with water at high pressure to soak them.

It runs for around 15 minutes and is typically used after washing the dishes by hand to remove any trace of detergent.

Or you can use it after the main wash cycle has finished. You can then leave the dishes in the dishwasher overnight to dry.

Delay Wash Cycle

Although not technically a wash cycle, we felt we should give the delay wash cycle a brief mention. It is used to set the dishwasher up to start later on during the evening. 

By activating the delay wash cycle, your Bosch dishwasher will remain on standby for up to 24 hours before it starts.

It will then run on the wash cycle you have previously selected. If you decide to run the appliance before the delay timer has run out, you can override it simply by manually selecting another cycle.

Eco Mode

The eco mode saves energy and makes the appliance more efficient when in use. It takes around 60 minutes but doesn’t heat up as fast as shorter cycles and so typically uses less electricity.

How To Select The Correct Wash Cycle


Now that we have an idea of how the various cycles work on your Bosch dishwasher, you will be able to make an informed choice on the correct wash cycle to use. To give you a nudge in the right direction you should consider the following;

  • The Type Of Dishes
    You should select the wash cycle that best suits the type of dishes you want to clean. For example, glassware or delicate items will need a gentler cycle than regular dishes which are heavily soiled.
  • How Dirty The Dishes Are
    The amount of dried on food will determine the wash cycle needed. Lightly stained items will be OK washed using a shorter cycle. Whereas burnt on food might need a more intensive wash cycle.
  • Do The Dishes Need Sanitising
    If you’re washing baby bottles or children’s dishes that need to be sanitised, these will need a different cycle to general plates and dishes.

Taking all of the above into consideration, you will be able to ensure all of the dishes get cleaned correctly and that you get the most from your Bosch dishwasher.

A Brief Guide To Choosing The Right Wash Cycle On Your Bosch Dishwasher

The most commonly used wash cycle is the normal wash cycle which is used for washing everyday plates and dishes with light food staining. However, if you’ve cooked a full meal and have lots of dirty pots and pans to clean, you might do better using the heavy wash cycle.

If you’re not sure which cycle to use, opt for the auto wash cycle as this will automatically determine the best cycle for the level of dirt on the dishes.

You should always use the correct detergent, make use of features like the delay start and extra cycles for drying or sanitising. And always select the right cycle for washing delicate items such as glassware or silverware.

When Not To Use The Auto Wash Cycle

The auto wash cycle is a handy cycle as it takes all of the guesswork out of which cycle to use. However, there are certain times when it shouldn’t be used, for example;

  • On Lightly Soiled Dishes
    If your dishes are only lightly soiled, there is no need to run such a long cycle as the auto wash cycle. A normal wash cycle will be more than adequate.
  • When You Want The Dishes Cleaned Fast
    The auto wash cycle runs for anywhere between 95 to 135 minutes (1.5 to 2 ¼ hours) whereas the quick wash cycle runs from 30 to 60 minutes (½ to 1 hour) and not only saves time but energy and money as well.

It’s always best to choose the correct cycle depending on the amount of dishes and the level of dirt to save time, energy and money.

How To Stop A Wash Cycle On A Bosch Dishwasher

If you realise once the appliance has started that you have selected an incorrect cycle, it’s easy to stop it and start again. All you need to do is hold the “start” button until the “active” light goes out. 

This stops the current cycle and allows you to select the correct cycle and start the appliance again.

SEE ALSO: Can You Leave Clean/Dirty Dishes In The Dishwasher Overnight?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most efficient cycle on a Bosch dishwasher?

The most energy efficient cycle on a Bosch dishwasher is the eco mode. However, this is not the best cycle for heavily soiled dishes.

Is an eco wash cheaper than a quick wash?

Even though an eco wash can take upwards of 2 hours, it can still use less energy than a 30 minute quick wash.

What are the different cycles on a Bosch dishwasher?

There are several cycles available on Bosch dishwashers including; auto, heavy, delicate, normal, sanitise and half load.

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