When we were first designing our kitchen we really fell in love with the option that moved the sink over to the other side of the kitchen. Not only would this free up more counter space beside the range, but it would split up the two main work areas allowing more than one person to work simultaneously.

Well, in practice this has worked splendidly! But what this also meant was that the sink and dishwasher was visible from the rest of the main floor. So we would have to deal with potentially dirty dishes and an appliance in full view of company. To minimize the clutter we wanted to have a dishwasher that could take a custom panel that matched the rest of the millwork in the kitchen.

Custom panel hides dishwasher

The problem with this approach is that for the pleasure of installing a panel, most manufacturers charge significantly more than stock appliances. Why? I guess because they can. And, not all manufacturers have this option. So we quickly settled on two brands: Miele and Bosch.

We took a look at both and I honestly think that although each has its advantages and disadvantages, they are both solid machines. What really swung the pendulum in favour of the Miele was the third rack for cutlery (more on that in a moment) and the fact that we could get one that was a “scratch and dent” model for over 50% off the list price from MTC.

So I went to the showroom and ordered one for delivery. When it was delivered, the installer mentioned a few hints because Miele’s have a different installation method than others. As I mentioned previously, it was a good thing we got those tips because it was certainly somewhat less straightforward than I thought.

After first time we loaded it up and turned it on, we were sitting in our living room reading and at a certain point we both looked up and wondered if the thing was still on or if there was a problem and it had stopped. Well, no word of a lie, it was running, but it’s so quiet that we didn’t hear it! What a change from our old machine that was so loud we had to turn up the volume on the TV! The only time you can tell its going is during a drain cycle when the noise from the water rushing down the PVC drain pipes tells you that it’s still on.

It does however have quite a long cycle, which isn’t really a problem if you plan for it. I believe the manual says that the “normal” cycle is about 110 minutes! Additionally, with this type of dishwasher, there are no heating elements at the bottom to dry the dishes. Instead, the stainless walls retain heat which is radiated back into the drum and dries dishes by evaporation. If you open the unit just after it finishes, you’ll be greeted by pretty wet glasses and cutlery. So we typically turn it on in the evening and by morning things are usually pretty dry.

Speaking of glasses, a good rinse agent is mandatory! There is a separate compartment and a red indicator light if the reservoir is running low. Furthermore, its better not to use lots of dishwashing detergent or else the interior begins to smell a bit funky. I had to find that out by following a few online forums.

Three, count ’em, three racks!

I really like the design of the racks and it has such a large capacity that it takes us a couple of days to fill. I’d rather fill the unit and run it once than run a few half empty loads but the problem with that is the inside starts to smell of whatever last nights dinner was! So I often just run a quick “rinse” if I know that we don’t have enough to run a full load.

It has a filter in the bottom that you have to check and clean manually (rather than an automatic one in most North American units). But its really no problem to get and and a quick rinse every few weeks gets out most things.

Filter is easy to clean

But just a word of warning- if you and your partner have “discussions” about how to load a dishwasher, you could find all sorts of things to argue about with this unit! For example, the third rack is for cutlery and supposedly the fastest method is to arrange all the knives together, the forks etc. so that when you unload, you just grab a handful and dump them into the drawer. So if you like this type of order (and your partner doesn’t) these discussions could degenerate quickly to a battle! Just warning you!

Cutlery rack-helpful or hindrance? Discuss!

Finally the big question: how well does it clean? Sorry to disappoint, but its just ok. Nothing startling, but ok. I eat oatmeal in the morning and not only do I have to scrape (as is recommended in the manual) but I have to rinse and scrub or else it gets baked on to the bowl. Even if I put them in and run it right away, it still gets baked on. I’ve tried a number of different locations and still the same problem. So I’ve learned to live with that because it does the other stuff so well. And it’s built in, so it’s not going anywhere for a while!

So there you have it- good looks, quiet, ok cleaning. And hopefully no more discussions about how to load cutlery.