What Is A Zeolith Dishwasher? – (And Is It Any Good?)
Were you at the appliance store and saw something about a magical dishwasher drying process? The latest technology added to dishwashers is called zeolite or ‘zeolith technology’, and it doesn’t use electricity to work.
A zeolith dishwasher may be the next great upgrade to your kitchen while reducing your carbon footprint.
In this post, I’ll explain what a zeolith dishwasher is, how it works, its pros and cons as well as answer some frequently asked questions on the topic.
Let’s get into it!
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What is a Zeolith Dishwasher?
A zeolith dishwasher looks just like a traditional dishwasher, however, the difference is in the drying cycle where a natural reaction between zeolite (a natural mineral) and water provides evaporative drying without the use of a heating element.
Because the zeolite keeps working until there is no more water in the air of the dishwasher, you get completely dry dishes at the end of every cycle. This means there are no drips left on your plastic ware or in your pot handles!
The technology first appeared in home shows around 2013. Siemens were among the first manufacturers to launch residential dishwashers with zeolite, coining the term zeolith technology.
These dishwashers are considered a premium upgrade and are currently targeted toward homeowners looking to reduce their energy usage.
Early reviews rave about the new dishwasher drying technology. However, the true longevity of the PerfectDry or Zeolith Drying (Bosch, Neff and Siemens) series dishwashers has yet to be truly tested.
At the same time, the three manufacturers that are using zeolite drying are known for producing some of the best kitchen appliances in the world and some I recommend to clients all the time.
What Is Zeolite?
Zeolite is a naturally occurring or man-made aluminium silicate mineral.
Discovered in 1756 by a Swedish scientist, he dubbed it a “boiling stone.” When dry zeolite comes in contact with water molecules, it undergoes an energetic reaction that results in boiling the water, reaching temperatures of 100 C in a short amount of time.
Once the water evaporates out of the zeolite, it returns to its original dormant state. It requires no electricity or fuel to do its magic.
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What is Zeolith Dishwasher Drying?
A relatively new concept to dishwashers, zeolith dishwasher drying uses the energy produced by water and zeolite to evaporate water from your clean dishes.
During the original cleaning cycle of the dishwasher, an element heats up the water used for scrubbing your dishes. When the washing cycle is complete, steam is diverted into the dry zeolite chamber at the bottom of the machine.
The zeolite heats up and starts the evaporative drying process. A fan continues to recirculate moist air until the zeolite stops heating because the dishes are dry.
Zeolith dishwashers use less water per washing cycle, by about two litres. They reduce water consumption by about 25% over other energy-efficient washers.
You use 50% less energy to heat water to wash and clean your dishes, while still getting a dry load at the end of the cycle.
Zeolite uses a higher temperature than most dishwashers during their drying cycle. The average dishwasher heats up to around 60 to 65 C while drying the dishes with a fan helping to promote evaporation.
The zeolite mineral heats water trapped in its structure up to 100°C. The interior of the machine may get as hot as 75 C.
Pros of a Zeolith Dishwasher
- Energy-efficient drying reduces your utility bills with every load.
- The zeolite material never needs replacing or servicing.
- You get dryer dishes at the end of the cycle as it doesn’t stop drying until all the moisture is gone.
- The exterior design and controls work just like a traditional dishwasher.
- Premium dishwasher designs are quiet.
Cons of a Zeolith Dishwasher
- Zeolite technology is only found in premium machines at this time.
- Limited choices as only three manufacturers offer zeolite drying right now.
- Higher upfront cost. It will take time to see true savings.
- The durability of zeolite drying is yet to be tested in residential homes.
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Is Zeolite safe in dishwashers?
Yes, the zeolite mineral is considered a safe application for dishwashers.
The mineral is stored in a separate chamber at the bottom of the machine. It does not come in direct contact with your dishes, so it will not harm your fine china or crystal. You never touch it.
The steam created by the zeolite reaction is 100% water, none of the mineral evaporates with the liquid.
There are fibrous versions of zeolite that can pose a health hazard when inhaled. However, the zeolite used in dishwashers is not that type of zeolite.
How long does zeolite last in a dishwasher?
Zeolite naturally returns to its original state at the end of every dishwasher cycle. It will theoretically last forever as it does not dissolve, rot, or break down.
It should continue to do its thing as long as the fan and zeolite chamber remain intact.
Are Zeolith Dishwashers Energy-Efficient?
Zeolith dishwashers use about 20% less energy than a new traditional dishwasher.
The manufacturers also indicate that these dishwashers are intended to last 15 to 20 years, 5 to 10 years longer than the old design.
That means fewer dishwashers are made over the long run, which also reduces the carbon footprint of the machine.
Which dishwashers use Zeolite?
Bosch, Neff and Siemens are currently the only manufacturers that use zeolite or have zeolith dishwashers. They are all owned by the same parent company BHS Group.
With Bosch, look for the PerfectDry or CrystalDry description on a Bosch 800 series or Benchmark line. Prices range from £800 to £1,200.
Neff uses zeolith drying technology in some of its N70 and N90 dishwasher models. Prices range from £800 to £1200
Siemens also sells a line of premium dishwashers with zeolith drying. Search for the iQ series, available as a 500, 600, 700, or 800. Their recommended retail price runs from £850 to £1,200.
There you have it! Everything you need to know about zeolith dishwashers!
A fantastic eco-friendly piece of technology for your dishwasher that not only saves on energy but on the planet as a whole. However, It may mean you have to opt for a higher spec (and pricier appliance) to begin with.
What do you think, would you consider getting a zeolith dishwasher?
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.