Bush DW5FIIS Dishwasher Review

(Note: As several people have asked about the manual for this, I’ve photographed mine and uploaded it. See the end of this post for the link.)

I don’t tend to do reviews, but several people have asked me about this dishwasher I bought a few months ago, so I thought I’d do a bit about it here.

Phwoar. Exciting.

I’ve never been quite sure if I like dishwashers or not. When I was a teenager, I seem to recall my parents making me load ours, as a household chore. The biggest complaint I have with this, is that it’s completely unnecessary. Instead of stacking your plates on the sideboard, why not just put them in the dishwasher yourself? Then nobody has to load the bloody thing. As I’ve never actually owned one as an adult though, maybe there was something magical about them I wasn’t seeing through my grumpy-teenager-tinted spectacles?

Anyway, so I was talked into co-buying a dishwasher with my girlfriend. Sadly, our kitchen is very small, and has nowhere to put a full-height dishwasher, so we ended up looking at tabletop ones. It’s fair to say I was determined to buy the cheapest. I certainly wasn’t going to buy the £300 Kenwood model, because dishwashers are just about the most boring kitchen item in the world. Yes they are. Can you make a cake in a dishwasher? I rest my case. (Sorry. I will take those spectacles off again.)

While looking in Argos, Comet, Currys, etc. we noticed there was a cheap model in every store, always priced at £129.99, and practically identical inside and out. The main difference is that the “Bush” one that Argos/Homebase sell has a viewing window at the front. That’s mediocre-ly cool, right? I mean it’s the most exciting thing in dishwasher-world, right? Viewing-window-one, it was.

Me and girlfriend plumbed it in. It’s a piece of piss to plumb in a dishwasher. Especially if there’s already a hole through the cupboard for the washing machine, and you don’t mind being able to see a bright blue water-in pipe forever. And I don’t.

So first up, what of that viewing window? It’s a waste of time really. There’s no light in there, and you can’t see much because it’s full of stuff. The only time it came in useful was a couple of days ago when it made a funny jarring noise, and I could see that something was stopping the arm at the bottom from spinning (from the way the water splatters against the inside of the glass).

There’s a fair few annoyances, like:

1. The number of times it beeps.

When your microwave finishes, how many times does it beep? 3? 4? The dishwasher beeps 8 times. And they are both an irritating pitch, and incredibly loud. So loud, you can hear it several rooms away on the other side of the flat. Why is it so important to be notified the second the dishwasher finishes, anyway? I’m not desperately sat here longing for the moment when my favourite mug will be clean again. And if it knows it has finished, they should train it to open the door and turn itself off.

The saving grace is if you use the delay timer when you start it (handily in 1 hour increments from 1-24), then it doesn’t beep when it finishes.

2. The manual is a bit misleading.


The picture that shows an example load of dishwashing is laughable:

Hmm. I don't think so.

That looks like it holds a lot, including things we all use every day like gravy ladles and “Smal serving”s, but the reality is quite different. I don’t have a shot from above, but this is what mine looked like when I emptied it earlier:

Real life.

That rack on the top left of my picture (or the far right of the manual picture) is not big enough for cups. It just isn’t. I think the ones in their picture must be espresso mugs. And if that’s the case, then how small are those 4 example glasses on the left. Are they shot glasses?

Hmm. I don't think so.

Here’s the real life version of the cup-rack:


And that’s the shortest cup I’ve got.


In fact, one of the few things I’ve managed to fit into it is this ramekin from a Gü dessert:


It won’t hold half as much cutlery as you might think it would. Pack it in like the manual shows, and it’ll all come out half dirty.

It also suffers from something that owners of full-size dishwashers will never experience. When you need to put a big plate in a big dishwasher, you push in the top rack, pull out the bottom one, to give a big air-gap above, for plate-maneuvering. In a tabletop one where you have only rack, even pulled out as far as it will go, because the plates go at the back, it can be a bit awkward getting them in and out. See:

If you don’t think that’s so bad now, you should try it when you’re trying to squeeze in one more plate, around loads of other things.

You will need to accept that oven trays don’t fit. I end up washing all the oven trays by hand. And all the saucepans. And frying pans. And the wok. And some of the larger plates because they don’t fit in there. FFS.

3. It needs a lot of help.

Despite the fact that this dishwasher was sold as using a reasonably small amount of water, it says in the manual you should “prepare your plates” before putting them in, by rinsing them all under water. Hmnph.

It needs dishwasher liquid (or powder if you prefer), rinse aid, and salt. The salt is in one of the most awkward locations possible. It’s the big round white circle thing in the top right of this picture.

Salt location.

Really you can’t put any salt in, without taking all the dishes and the rack out. Then they give you two scoops – one that measures 20g, and one that measures 100ml. The manual says you can add “up to 500g of salt”. In that case, couldn’t they have provided a bigger measuring device?

I’ve taken to measuring the 500g into the 100ml thing, and pouring it in.

Assume there will be spillages.

Some ends up going everywhere, but it’s quick at least. What is more confusing is when it asks for more salt. Given there is some in there already, do you add the full 500g again, or just throw in a random amount.

You can buy 3-in-1 tablets with salt (and rinse aid) in them, but the “rapid” wash takes 70 minutes, and the 3-in-1 cycle takes 2 hours. I can’t be doing with that much noise for that long. So your choice is either twice as long, every time, OR once a month you have to piss about pouring salt all over the place. Couldn’t they have made that hole accessible through the top, or in the bottom. Just any way round where you pour it down, rather than sideways?

Oh and anything with a slight indentation (cups, etc.) holds a little pool of water, so needs to be dried manually.

4. It’s always dirty.

There’s a rotating arm at the bottom that spins round and throws water at your plates.

Armed and ready.

Despite having a built-in softener on our water supply, this clogs up with limescale regularly.

Bottom hole blocked, next up half-blocked.

The rotating arm at the bottom gets clogged with limescale at least once a month, and needs unclogging. You can either buy quite-expensive dishwasher cleaner, or you can do what I do – sprinkle on some baking powder, and then pour on some vinegar (preferably white wine vinegar, but i’ve used cider vinegar, and on one occasion – malt vinegar). It bubbles and fizzes and sometimes dislodges the limescale. If it doesn’t dislodge it, have another go. Once done, run it empty on the shortest wash to rinse the smell of vinegar. (The shortest wash by the way – is the bizarrely named “fruit wash”. You don’t wash fruit in the dishwasher surely? And it certainly doesn’t get any plates clean in the 13 minutes it washes for.)

5. It leaks, but not enough to bother fixing.

It’s been doing this for a while now. I think it’s some of the rinse aid leaking back out, but it’s such a small amount, that I can’t be bothered to look any further into what is causing it.


None of the water comes out, and I can’t trace where it comes from. It doesn’t leak fast enough that I pour it in, and it comes straight back out. Just a minor annoyance really.

6. The instructions are rubbish.

If you’ve been reading this far, you might think this is a bit like #2. But unlike the misleading nature of #2, this is actually quite amusing.

There is a list of “warings” on the first page. One says:

“Do not open the door when the LCD display “High temperature”, the hot steam maybe causes personal injury.”

That’s poor grammatically, but it’s fine, right? Well, except that the LCD display looks like this:

LCD display

I’d be amazed if that could accurately display “high temperature”.

More gems include:

“If power supply cord is damaged, it must been replaced by the manufacturer”

“Do not spray water on the appliance. It may cause the failure of electrical parts or electric shock.”

“The appliance is fitted with a safety function that automatically stops the operation of the dishwasher when it is exposed to heavy disturbance on its mains.”

And most importantly for my younger self:


Is it worth it?

No, probably not, but in a kitchen where you definitely can’t have a full-size (or slimline) dishwasher, if it is your ONLY option, and you are a couple who don’t eat the same food, so would have lots more to wash up. Maybe. Just.

Update 30/09/12

Several people have asked me now about where to download the manual for this. It’s rubbish, but as I can’t find it online, I thought I’d photograph mine, and upload it (sorry I don’t have a scanner, so apologies if it’s a tiny bit blurry).

You can see/download it by using this link: Bush_DW5FIIS_Manual

11 thoughts on “Bush DW5FIIS Dishwasher Review”

  1. thanks for the tip on it not beeping at the end when you do the Delay. Really loud those beeps and so many lol. Trying to find someone that does spares as my door white fascia is cracked and bit came off, its in a cupboard fits well and still works so rather try and get a new plastic for door first.

    1. No problem on the beeps. There might be a way to disable them completely by holding combinations of buttons or something, but as you’ll know – the manual is rubbish. Even when choosing program/pressing start, the beeps are insanely loud, considering they know I’m stood right in front of it.
      When you say fascia – which bit do you mean? Around the door, or underneath it? Because that’s where I think mine is leaking rinse aid from.
      I also noticed the other day that some of the plastic has started to come off the rack, and the underneath has started to rust. I’m umming and arring about calling the warranty people.
      For something which is only about 9 months old, it’s not exactly robust.

      There is a number printed inside the manual of 0845 600 4632 for in-warranty repairs (or according to saynoto0870.com you can call 0800 0929129, press 5 and ask for repairs, and then the call won’t cost you anything). If it’s out of warranty, they’ll presumably want a lot to repair it, but they might be able to sell you the part. Don’t know how much it would cost to pay someone else to do it, or whether you might be able to do it yourself. Good luck.

      1. Its the white plastic over the front door that goes around the window. Looks like from the screws you can remove it easy.

        Argos gave me the their bush repairs number but they say they only have spares enough for warranty items, mines over 12 months old. So probably have to put up with it til it breaks down.

  2. i have had this model for severalyears (as my previous one packed up and argos replaced it) but has startied playing up, slight leak at door,also fault E4 to much water which causes it to stop and empty but does not restart. if anyone knows how to repair please let me know

    1. I don’t know where it might be online. A quick google search just finds me other people asking for it.
      To be honest, the manual is rubbish. There’s very little of use in it anyway, but I’ll photograph mine and send it to you.

      1. hi read all comments and found them more better than them online thanx..
        could you send me a copy of your manual please as ive tried everywhere for one and failed, or just emial me the list of what each programs do and where liquids go,
        plus theres a screw fitting on the inside of the door, would like to know what thats for two, cheers,
        once again thanx in advance

        1. There is a link to download a .pdf of the full manual, at the end of the post. Just underneath “update 30/09/12”. The liquid/powder/rinse-aid goes in the door compartments. The enormous screw on the right hand side when you open the door, is for topping up the salt.

  3. If using powder, you pour it in the slight incline in the bottom right of the door (where the liquid goes, too – if you were using that). It says “detergent >20g” on it.
    If using a tablet, it goes in the little tiny basket you get with the dishwasher.

    I personally use liquid and separate rinse aid, topping up with salt every now and then, because although the 3-in-1 tablets are easier, the 3-in-1 wash cycle takes 2 hours. The rapid wash is only 70 minutes, and the machine is quite noisy.
    I’ll send you an email with a link to download the manual. It’s a rubbish manual though.

  4. Hi everyone, I just bought it second hand, and it’s worked properly until I put salt in it. Now not cleaning the dishes but make more dirty. Anyone any ide how can I fix it? Many thanks.

    1. I’m not sure. The salt area in the version I had is a completely contained area – just one opening to put salt in, but no way to empty it. However, if you fill it with water, it does overflow back into the dishwasher, so that might be a way to empty it, perhaps?
      I’m assuming you’ve tried running it empty to see if that clears it?

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