Bosch DW Cycles (Norm,Heavy,Auto) Revisited

Derek87February 14, 2012

a couple weeks back, prior to getting our Bosch DW, i asked for suggestions on which dishwasher cycle i should choose for most cleaning. it seemed that most people suggested Auto.

so up until yesterday, i have had 100% success with our Bosch ranging from lightly soiled plates, to heavily soiled dishes including lots of coffee grinds in my french press, dried on yogurt, misc dried on cheese (parmesean) to plates, etc. it even cleaned up cleanly a skillet with burnt on grease from browning ground beef.

yet, yesterday, in searing some steaks, i was surprised that almost all of the browned grease on the side walls of my skillet were not cleaned off by the Bosch.

in all of the cases thus far, we have successfully been using the Powerball Tabs (Finish) and no water softener after the conclusion that the water we are getting from our provider is currently (varies seasonally) soft (4-5 grains/gal).

anyway, the question is: what was the difference this time. i don't think this was any more soiled or hard to clean (by hand) than the other instance of burnt on ground beef. the only thing i can hypothesize is that maybe everything else was relatively clean so that the "auto mode" didn't work hard enough to clean the skillet?

any experiences out there? next time, i'd try "heavy" to see what happens, but i'd love to hear others' thoughts and experiences.


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There have been few times I've used "power scrub," and I take that to mean both jam packed and extra dirty.

I also usually use "auto" on mine, with good effect. Lately I've taken to using "auto" + "half load" as I try to do a load at night when electric is cheapest and sometimes don't have it quite full.

One thing I've noticed is that after "auto" the sanitized button is never lit... only after "power scrub." ???

BTW, my model is EcoSense SHE43P15UC... have had for ~2y and love it everyday. I also usually use Cascade gel. I tried a free offer of the Finish tabs, but hated that I could never adjust how much detergent. I never fill the gel past the first line. I also have a water softener but couldn't tell you the grains/gal.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 4:42PM
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I believe that you are correct. If the other dishes are not soiled much then I would assume that the dw's is "auto"matically reducing the amount of cleaning. You might want to try auto plus on future loads that are similar in composition.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 4:43PM
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@coco: thanks for your thoughts. our model's power scrub, i guess is "heavy." i think the manul says that is for greasy things or things that would normally require soaking in the sink. i don't consider what i had last night as "soaking material," as i would usually (without DW) just use hot water, soap, and the scrubby side of our scratch safe sponges* to clean it off by hand.

*ie, the kind you can use with nonstick cookware

water softener: are you using an external softener or one built into the Bosch DW. for us, Bosch doesn't recommend using it for our current water hardness although i may activate it at a low level for when our water gets harder during the summer months (more well water)

@tyguy: thanks...what is "plus"? we don't have the "extra wash" cycle on our Bosch if that's what you mean...but i guess plus could be considered "heavy" :)

do you guys have success with burnt on grease on your cookware?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 6:15PM
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Re: water softener: we have a Kenmore household one. I don't think there's a softener built in to my machine.

Re: burnt on grease: not a lot of luck unfortunately. I usually try to wash my pots/pans by hand, since i find the d/w wrecks the non-stick or other coatings. Plus they get cleaner by hand! :(

I also handwash all plastics now due to the BPA and other heat-reactive-plastic scares.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 7:14PM
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Derek, Hi. It looks like we are learning about the Bosch DW at about the same time. Earlier I had posted the pix of the dish with the baked on Mac & Cheese and how well the Bosch cleaned it -- using the Auto cycle. The other day made lasagna with lots of cheese on top. After a second dinner with reheating, in the DW the dish went (even after soaking overnight in the sink). This time, I tried "Normal" as I was curious what the difference might be, other than about 20 minutes less. Well, lo and behold, the casserole dish (also placed cooking side facing down in the bottom rack) was NOT completely cleaned as with the "Auto" cycle.

Obviously this is a one-off experience, so take it for what it's worth. BUT it is quite different from your experience of the Auto not doing its job. Prior to reading your experience, my conclusion was that perhaps the "Auto" cycle does a decent job of assessing (by what algorithm I do not know) the amount of cleaning needed. But maybe not. If you want to propose an experiment or two, I'm a willing participant.

P.S. The plumber had no wisdom to impart other than to send a water sample off to one of the state authorized testing labs. That's our next step.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 7:20PM
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Yes your "heavy" is probably similar to "auto plus"...give I would give it a try.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 8:39PM
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last night, for the first time tried the "half load" option (with Auto) and decided to use a some Cascade advanced gel since have container of that left and i'm into the whole experimenting thing :) it seems that "normal" according to the manual hits a lower peak temperature than Auto can...

nothing terribly dirty (not pots and pans this time, but some dried on steak fat, but it cleaned well and in shorter time than usual (maybe 1:40). i may be using this half load option more often as i think that fits our usage patterns better. i'm still very nervous about leaving dishes in the DW more than the "day of" due to a long time ago experience of ants in the dishwasher...

but...what struck me was the fact that as opposed to our old GE, the house did not smell of Cascade during the DW running. i'm not opposed to that smell like many, but i liked the fact that it didn't permeate the whole house. pretty cool and suggests that the Bosch is better sealed than the GE?

@kashmi: thanks for the offer. i'm not sure what tests to suggest, but i'll let you know. i do have the suspicion that one dirty item and a lot of other clean items would really be hard for the "auto sensor" to figure out, if my guess of how it works is correct (checking water clarity down the drain). in reality, i don't think i would/should be doing too many pots and pans in the just isn't a good use of space.

aside: i'm also recognizing the benefits of the many foldable tines in our old GE and the top level Bosch 800plus 9ER. i wish the racks in our 7ER had more foldable options, but there was no way i was going to pay an extra $700 for those options.

wondering aloud: how durable are these tines anyway? i'm wondering if i should be extra cautious (i have been so far) about them getting bent by pots and pans or heavy itens resting on them (ie, when they aren't/can't be folded down)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 11:19AM
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Well, you shouldn't bent the tines too often because the coating can eventually crack and rust will develop.

Your assumption about the turbidity sensor are correct. If you have an overall lightly soiled load and only one dirty item im there, the dishwasher will select a lighter version of the Auto cycle. Especially, if it's something like burnt-on grease that won't come off easily and doesn't add much "dirt" to the wash water for the sensor to detect. You'll need to go to a heavier cycle in that case or pre-wash that one piece.

I love our Bosch dishwasher. It's amazing how many changes to a cycle it can make and it has cleaned pretty much anything I've thrown at it over the years.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 8:05PM
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@Whirlpool: ah. good to know. that's exactly what i thought: a turbidity sensor makes perfect sense.

re: tines: yeah...that's what i thought too. i just need to make sure we are careful. again, i'm amazed that they consider "hinged/moveable" tines such a big feature...but i guess that's good profitability on their part like car makers: group features together and you get forced to buy into things you don't need in order to get a small feature you want...or our in our case, sacrifice getting exactly what you want due to budget constraints...

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 12:42PM
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I think I saw in a Bosch video that described the process as the sensors detect the volume of water being used and that dirtier dishes return less water. I guess that sounds better than measuring the yuckiness. :)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 6:12AM
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I think I saw in a Bosch video that described the process as the sensors detect the volume of water being used and that dirtier dishes return less water. Dishware, either dirty or clean, absorbs water? :-D

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 9:17AM
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jscout, what you are referring to is one type of load-sensing. The more water is needed to "cover" the surface of the load, the more dishes are in the dishwasher. Dishwashers have different systems of detecting this. One system works by measuring the rotation speed of the pump: the machine fills with some water and keeps adding water until the pump no longer sucks in air, thus spins at a uniform speed.

Another method is to monitor the rise of the water temp inside the dishwasher.

Not all dishwasher have load-sensing but turbidity sensor are pretty common these days.


Here is a link that might be useful: AEG Sensorlogic

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 1:07PM
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