Maytag MDB8969SDM dishwasher review

This Maytag blasts grime like a fire hose, sounds like a drinking fountain

If all you want in a dishwasher is a quiet machine that cleans your plates, then the Maytag MDB8969SDM is for you.
If all you want in a dishwasher is a quiet machine that cleans your plates, then the Maytag MDB8969SDM is for you.
If all you want in a dishwasher is a quiet machine that cleans your plates, then the Maytag MDB8969SDM is for you.

Highs

  • Runs quiet loads
  • Adjustable and removable top rack
  • Removes stuck-on food

Lows

  • Wash cycles can be long
  • Not easy to tell when a load is done
  • Buttons and interface aren’t the prettiest we’ve seen

Maytag has built its reputation on quality and service. With the MDB8969SDM, it can add durability and solid performance to its pedigree. Despite its simple menu interface and somewhat old-fashioned-looking buttons, the dishwasher is powerful and makes easy work of removing the toughest caked-on food.

Look and Feel

The Maytag MDB8969SDM is fairly nondescript. If you like the streamlined look, then you’ll appreciate its uncluttered façade. The outside of the machine has a bar at the top that you can use to hang dishtowels, with a Maytag logo centered at the bottom. It’s a bit reminiscent of how the high-end Wolf brand labels its products. Available in stainless steel, black, or white, the dishwasher would fit nicely with most kitchen decors. We reviewed the stainless steel model and are happy to report that it’s receptive to magnets, in case you like to stick something to the front to let your family know when the dishes are clean or dirty.

Hidden at the top of the dishwasher door are the controls and settings. Even though the controls are set at the top of the machine, you can still see them under the counter when you shut the machine door. The control panel is also fairly straightforward and sits flush right. There aren’t a lot of options, so it doesn’t take up a lot of room. You’ll find a Cycles button for choosing which type of load to run: PowerBlast, Auto, Normal, Quick, and Rinse. There’s a timer and five additional buttons: Hi Temp, Sanitize, Heated Dry, Cancel, and Start. The buttons are grey and rubber, and the screen’s numbers and button indicators light up orange. The overall effect for the interface is a bit dated. That said, from the outside, the stainless steel design looks as sleek as many others.

The rubber buttons and orange numbers make the menu feel a bit dated.

Inside the dishwasher is where all the magic happens. It has two racks, and the upper rack can be adjusted higher or lower, which is great when you have big platters you want to wash on the lower rack. If you have really large items, you can remove the rack completely. The top rack has a flip-down shelf for wine glasses. We found the top rack was the more secure of the two; you can pull it out a ton of times with force and it stays on the track. The bottom rack, however, is on wheels, and it glides so smoothly that if you pull too hard, it can fly right out of the dishwasher. That said, you really need to pull it with force to make that happen. There’s also a removable caddy with a lid for placing the silverware individually for the best results. Though, even when we clumped the silverware together in a basket, it did remove grime with ease.

The best feature of this dishwasher is the one you can’t see at all: the four-blade stainless steel chopper. Basically, this makes sure there is no food left on your plate or stuck at the bottom of the washer that you need to reach in to remove.

Features and Use

Aside from the heavy-duty, four-blade stainless steel chopper, the real selling point of the Maytag MDB8969SDM is that it’s quiet. It runs so quiet (see performance section dB ratings), that if you weren’t paying close attention, you wouldn’t even know that it was cleaning. Since all of the dishwasher’s controls are hidden when it’s closed, you might find yourself opening it mid-cycle. There is a small blue light (it turns green when the cycle finishes) that illuminates when it’s running, though it’s not immediately obvious. The good news is if you don’t want this to happen just press and hold the Control Lock (same as the Sanitize button) for three seconds and it will lock the door. If you forget to set this, simply shut the door, press the Start button, and it picks up where it left off in the cycle. While the dishwasher was set up in our office, this happened quite a bit, though we found once we pointed out the blue light to people, they were able to let the dishwasher do its thing in peace.

As noted previously, there aren’t a ton of features on this machine. You can use the Delay feature with any cycle. Depending on the cycle selected, you can add Sanitize or Heated Dry options. Sanitize is available with Auto, PowerBlast, and Normal cycles and can add anywhere from four minutes to over an hour to the wash time. Heated Dry works with Auto, PowerBlast, Normal, and Quick and adds 30 to 45 minutes to the cycle. There are five dish-washing options:

  • Rinse

This cycle is best when you don’t want to run the dishwasher right away. It is the fastest option (about 11 minutes) and doesn’t require a dishwashing agent.

  • Quick

A step-up from Rinse, this is ideal for a light to medium load. In this cycle, the dishes are washed and air-dried. You’ll probably at least want to scrape off the dishes before placing them in the Maytag MDB86969SDM.

  • Normal Wash

Think of this cycle for when the dishwasher is full of everyday dishes. Be sure to dump excess waste into the garbage, but there’s no need to rinse the dishes first. When the wash cycle is complete, the heated dry cycle begins.

  • Auto

This is the most eco-friendly setting since it uses minimal water and energy. So it’s one of the longer cycles, taking just over two hours to complete.

  • PowerBlast

Think of all the times your mom spent hours at the sink scrubbing pots and pans with a Brillo pad. Got that image? This cycle aims to put an end to that. Left the pot with spaghetti sauce on the stove overnight? No problem. Just put them in the Maytag, run the PowerBlast Cycle and remove sparkling pots and pans. This cycle takes the longest… almost three and a half hours.

Since this is an Energy Star-qualified dishwasher, the loads take a long time. The Quick cycle takes about an hour. So that should give you a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into when you start a load.

Performance

One of the key selling points of the Maytag MDB8969SDM is that it’s a quiet machine, so putting that to the test was at the top of our list. After all, we weren’t going to just believe what the marketing material touted. Throughout our testing, we held up our sound level meter to the dishwasher. We found noise levels varied between 40dB and 50.6dB (it states that it runs at 47dB). For reference, 40dB is equivalent to that of a babbling brook and 50dB is about how loud your refrigerator sounds when it’s running. So there is no need to turn up the sound in your video games when you start a load of dishes.

In addition to running numerous cycles, when it was time to get down to business we really dirtied some dishes. We smothered dishes and silverware with honey, oatmeal, peanut butter, tomato sauce, jelly, and a fried egg. Then we let it sit for several hours before putting it into the Maytag. We also had a bonus dish: a bowl with salad residue (lettuce stuck to the side and dressing). Here’s how it did:

Cycle

Wash Length

Performance

Quick 59 minutes Cleaned most dishes, but the bowl still had salad remains.
Normal (with heated dry) 2 hours 36 minutes Removed all the caked on food and some of the salad remains in the bowl.
PowerBlast Over 3 hours Everything came out spotless… even the bowl, which had been through multiple heat cycles, lost its greenery.

We routinely ran loads created by our officemates — many of us eat lunch in the office — without issue, even when they overloaded the machine. These are more real-world tests, as not everyone loads the dishwasher according to the manufacturer’s diagram. (Okay, no one else does that.) We still wanted to see if we could fit as many dishes as the diagram suggests: 20 cups, 10 bowls, and two plates on the top rack, and 13 plates, 19 small plates, and 2 serving plates on the bottom rack. We could. The Maytag is spacious and would be a great helper for anyone having a large dinner party.

Conclusion

There’s no denying the Maytag MDB8969SDM is a workhorse. It’s simplistic design and limited menu will appeal to minimalists. We marveled at how quietly it did the dishes. If you’re looking for a dishwasher that’s reserved in both sound and style, the top-of-the-line Maytag MDB8969SDM won’t disappoint. Just be prepared to run the machine at night when it has all the time needed for its long-run cycles.

Highs

  • Runs quiet loads
  • Adjustable and removable top rack
  • Removes stuck-on food

Lows

  • Wash cycles can be long
  • Not easy to tell when a load is done
  • Buttons and interface aren’t the prettiest we’ve seen
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