Do Dishwashers Have Built In Garbage Disposals?

In short, the answer is yes. Dishwashers generally come in one of two varieties: with a built in garbage disposal or with a filtration system. Each type offers its own distinct set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s learn a bit more about each option.

Dishwashers & Garbage Disposals

The current majority of American made dishwashers, like those by KitchenAid, Whirlpool, and GE, feature hard food disposers. These food waste disposers should be thought of as miniature garbage disposals. Their grinding capacity and motor power is not on par with the model that you would find under your kitchen sink; however, they are adept at removing bigger pieces of food waste and debris from the water during the wash cycle. This disposal system is self-cleaning and does not require any assistance from the homeowner.

A dishwasher with a built in garbage disposal is louder during the unit’s overall wash cycle than one that boasts a filtration system, and this is something homeowners should take into account when making a buying decision. However, in most situations the additional noise is minimal.

A dishwasher that features a hard food disposer is ideal for individuals or families who simply want to scrape their dishes clean and then load them into the dishwasher – just like they have always done.

Dishwashers & Filtration Systems

Most European appliance manufacturers eschew the built in garbage disposal found in their American counterparts in favor of filtration systems. This decision is made in an effort to reduce the amount of noise the appliance makes. European manufacturers believe that the addition of the garbage disposal is not necessary, and the very high temperatures produced by the dishwasher during its wash cycle are sufficient enough to break down food particles, which are then intercepted by the filtration system.

The filtration systems of these European made dishwashers must be checked and cleaned periodically, which can range from one every ten days to upwards of once a month. Another primary difference is that European dishwashers must be loaded without the dishes being pre-rinsed. This prevents the enzymes in the detergent from etching the dishes over time.

So Which Option Is Best?

Although systems without garbage disposals have long been the European standard, a number of American manufacturers, including KitchenAid and Whirlpool, are beginning to adopt this system on their premium models. This enables the brands to produce appliances that are as quiet as their European cousins. Multiple tests and demonstrations have been conducted to prove that there is no performance or cleaning ability lost in the transition.

Ultimately, the decision of which option to choose is up to you and will depend the specific features that you need your dishwasher to have. Regardless of which one you choose, homeowners should be aware that every manufacturer recommends the use of a rinse aid with each cycle. Doing so ensures that all phosphates will be removed from your wares and that each dish is spotlessly clean.

Justin Curtis

I am not a professional plumber, but I do feel like I am pretty handy :). I would love to hear your comments about this post or others. Thanks for reading!

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mr knowitall - January 28, 2017

…is not on part with…



Lucy - February 26, 2017

Thanks for the information on dishwashers. We had a Maytag for years which had food disposal, now we have a Bosch with filter. Just another chore, cleaning out the filter… and there is always water sitting in the trap. I wonder which system is best for a home with septic tank?
Now we have to clean out the filter, clean out and disinfect humidifier, wash the filters in our stick vacs and dry them…. the more improvements, the more time caring for our appliances!


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