I find that stainless steel tools, especially the shiny ones, stay wet after the (no heat) dry cycle while ceramic plates are dry. The water beads on the shiny surfaces but perhaps less on rougher and thicker tools. I don't use a rinse aid. What are the properties of the stainless steel that prevent drying? Would reflective surfaces stay cooler and retard evaporation?

  • $\begingroup$ This question might be good for Chemistry as well. If you cross-post, it's polite to be up-front about it and link the questions to each other. You could also let this one sit here for a week or two and migrate it if it doesn't attract good answers; raise a moderator flag if that's how you'd like to proceed. $\endgroup$
    – rob
    Jan 27, 2021 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps the rougher surfaces have more surface area which results in their faster evaporation. $\endgroup$
    – Andrew
    Jan 27, 2021 at 1:13
  • $\begingroup$ But the glazed ceramic is smoother than the surface of a knife blade. $\endgroup$
    – nasu
    Jan 27, 2021 at 3:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Possibly because the ceramic objects cool more slowly than the metal ones after the hot rinse, so perhaps the water is given more time to evaporate at a higher temp? That and plates tend to have more mass than silverware. $\endgroup$
    – Triatticus
    Jan 27, 2021 at 6:20
  • $\begingroup$ The mass argument was outside of my thinking and seems to fit the phenomenon. I'll try to devise a test with thick vs. thin elements. Evaporation will cool the pieces so thinner utensils will cool faster. This mechanism is independent of the material and detailed surface properties so it might be amenable to proof or disproof. Other factors might be that the detergent is not as effective at clobbering the surface tension on the metal. I've not posted to Chemistry, but I'll take a look. Thanks to all for the comments. $\endgroup$ Jan 29, 2021 at 4:35

1 Answer 1


This question cannot be answered properly because I did not know the details of my dishwasher's drying cycle. The issue is a system-related problem because different makes and models of dishwashers have different drying systems. I found this out from "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFbmjqBm5f0" by Yale Appliance, a Boston retailer. Please forgive the mistake as I should have known better.

In the 1950's it was said that water for ice cubes would freeze faster if the water in the ice-cube trays was placed in the freezer compartment warm. This may or may not have been true. It depends on the freezer's cycle and what conditions triggers it. Warm materials could trigger the refrigeration cycle faster. As above, it was a system-related process.


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