Author Options:

I've been thinking about building a food dehydrator. Has anyone used a stripped down dishwasher? It has an element. Answered




7 years ago

I think the dishwasher idea is brilliant, but I think it'll get too hot as-is, so you'll have to tone it down a bit, perhaps just by cracking the door. I second steve- you'll also need a fan, and some venting.

My dishwasher does have a fan-driven drying mode...

Perfect, then. Just crack the door and go. By adjusting the door opening you should be able to regulate the heat fairly easily.

... Pardon me, I'm boggling slightly. You really think it'll work?

If you're modifying a dishwasher: Some of them have a switch which will let you run the drying cycle either with heat (dries better) or without (saves energy). It wouldn't be hard to hook a thermostat into that switch; there's your temperature regulation with one simple change.

Sure. All a dehydrator is is a fan, some screens, and a heater in a box. A dishwasher (I'm assuming a broken, old, used, or very cheap one) seems like it would work splendidly. One drawback would be duty-cycle related; running the element for hours or ever days at a time without immersing it in water occasionally, or turning it off might cause it to fail sooner.

Thanks! I've looked at some manufactured food dryers, so I've been thinking of using their shelving format. Plus using a hole saw to make venting and fan circulation holes. Any ideas on where I could find some kind of temperature regulation for the element, and possibly an on/off for the fan/

Wouldn't an old tumble dryer make more sense?

At the most basic level, all you need to do is remove the belt that rotates the drum.

That's why I said "most basic". You could wedge the drum to stop it rolling, then weld / glue / wedge wire racks across inside the drum.

Or remove the drum entirely, leaving the heater and fan to fill the whole appliance with hot, mobile air to blow around the racks you fit.

I can't see any reason why you can't at all - you'll need to add a fan though, and someway to vent it.