dirty dishes inside of a dishwasher


‘And this is exactly why you have to scrub dishes prior to putting them in the dishwasher’: Person puts camera in a dishwasher to show how it works

‘So the dishwasher is actually a dish rinser?’


Eric Webb


This recent TikTok video might make you feel like you’re in an episode of The Magic School Bus. Or, it might make you feel like a plate.

How It Actually Works (@howitactuallyworks) is a TikTok account dedicated to showing viewers how … well, it actually works. On this page, ”it” can be (among other examples) tattoos, toilets, and bowling alley lanes. 

In July, the account posted a video about how dishwashers work. The video has a whopping 35.7 million views and 1.6 million likes.

@howitactuallyworks They can’t all have that thing..? 😳 #howitworks #howitsmade #dishwasher ♬ original sound – How It Works ⚙️

For the TikTok, the creator posted footage captured from inside a dishwasher at work. Dirty dishes and cups sit in the appliance’s basket as streams of water spurt up from the bottom. Spinning blades circulate on the machine’s sides. Later in the cycle—two minutes of which were captured on video—the water begins oscillating. 

A prominently placed plate smeared with sauce loses the bulk of its mess over the course of the video, though some schmutz remains. We’ve all been there.

And despite the quotidian nature of an appliance plenty of people use every day, How It Actually Works’ video seemingly revealed the mysteries of the universe to some viewers. 

One person commented, “as a kid i [thought] the dishwasher worked the same way as washing machine.”

“I was waiting for a brush to appear all along,” another person commented.

“[You’re] telling me the box doesnt fill up with water and makes a water+soap tornado?!?!” a viewer chimed in. 

“So the dishwasher is actually a dish rinser?” a person wrote.

One comment read, “So basically the water puts on a private performance.”

Other viewers vouched for the magic of hand-washing, and many were perplexed about why a plate that dirty would go into a dishwashing machine.


A comment read, “You’re supposed to rinse it in the sink first.”

“For me I hand wash and then the dishwasher sanitizes,” one commenter wrote.

“And this is exactly why you have to scrub dishes prior to putting them in the dishwasher,” someone added.

This viewer summed it all up. “I just spent 2 minutes of my life watching a video on how a dish washer works,” they commented. 

According to USA Today, “a dishwasher is closer to a car wash than a swimming pool.” The key element of the appliance’s operation is hot, soapy water, which is sprayed over and over in a cyclical process. (But you know this, because you watched the TikTok.)

Popular Science recommends not rinsing your dishes before loading them in the dishwasher, since the detergent needs food reside to cling onto. You should, of course, remove large pieces of food, and some troublesome substances like eggs and oatmeal might need a second trip through the machine (or just a trip to the sink via your hands and a scouring pad).

Update 12:05pm CT, Aug. 17: According to a representative for How It Actually Works via email, the video from inside the dishwasher was filmed using a GoPro HERO7 Black.

The account seeks to explain everyday elements of life to viewers, the rep said: “We try our best to explain things that we may not typically think about!”

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