Did you know that modern (dish) washing machines have the ability to automatically dispense detergents? The positive side is: this can reduce the amount of detergents used. The machine will monitor the washing process, and ‘cleaner’ dishes should require less detergents.
Our new energy Miele Dishwasher came with that exact feature: the Miele AutoDos System, an automatic detergent dispensing system. The detergent is inside a rotating disk, dispensing detergents as needed, making it (hopefully) more environment-friendly:
The downside is: Miele did not make it refillable: after around 20 washing cycles, you have to replace the disk with a new one. This is not environment friendly. So I wanted to change this….
Why a new dish washer?
Energy prices are on the rise in Europe and everywhere else this year. Already last year we planned a kitchen upgrade which we finished in May this year. One goal was to replace the aged kitchen appliances and furniture, with the benefit of reducing energy consumption. Measurements so far shows that we were able to reduce our electrical energy consumption in the 30% range which is a big plus these days. And because the new Miele G 27695-60 SCVi XXL AutoD K2O dish washer features a ‘SolarSpar’ program. This needs only around 60 Wh for a single washing cycle: it uses directly the hot water from the solar heating system.
However, there was one thing I was very skeptical about: AutoDos: a cartridge system/disk which is used to dispense the washing detergent. The machine comes with one cartridge plus with a voucher for 6 extra disks:
Is that really a good thing? Is this just a new business for Miele, similar to the ‘Ink Gold’ of the Ink printer business?
The good news is: the machine still can use the ‘usual’ dish washer detergent. So one can still use normal dishwasher tabs or dishwasher powder detergents:
So from a customer point of view: I have the choice, what I want to use. That’s good. One AutoDos disk lasts for around 20 washing cycles, depending on the amount of detergents the machine decides to use.
The machine uses a clever way of dispensing the detergent itself. Below a video of Miele which shows the dispensing with the rotating disk:
For each washing cycle, I can decide to use the AutoDos (if disk is present an detected) or not. For a month, we used both AutoDos and normal detergent tabls, and the results were equally and very good. Only for the ‘SolarSpar’ program we had to extend the drying time, and it is by far the most energy efficient way to clean the dishes.
Price of AutoDos Disks
The AutoDos disks are sold by Miele directly, and a 6-pack of disks is rather expensive with US$ 70:
Each disk contains around 400 g detergent power:
In comparison: 1 kg of usual dishwasher powder costs around CHF 7.00:
What about refilling the Power Disk?
Miele says the cartridge is made of recycled plastic, but “it cannot be refilled because the powder consistency is too critical” (heise.de). I understand this for sure has an impact, but maybe they just want to create a new and profitable business? To me, the usual disk washing powder looks very similar to the one used in the disks:
I really like the concept of automatic detergent dispensing. But not be able to refill it does not make any sense? So just let’s try it.
The idea is to cut a hole and to refill the disk with standard dish-washing powder.
💡 Be aware that this might void the warranty of your Miele dish washer.
What I have used:
- Empty Miele Power Disk to refill
- A sharp knife to make a hole into the disk
- Masking tape to close the hole
- Dish washer detergent powder for refilling
- Funnel for easier refilling
- Pen for marking the hole
- Scale, to measure 400 g of detergent
The amount of detergent used in the machine is defined by the chamber inside the disk. I use the weighting scale to fill it up to the 400 g, but that does not really matter. An empty disk is about 40 g:
Because the disk still might have some detergent in it, I recommend to seal the opening with a masking tape: This prevents the falling out of the detergent during refilling.
💡 my first idea was to refill the disk using that opening hole: but this requires turning the disk, which makes it complicated and a long process.
Use a pen to mark the hole for the funnel:
Use a drill or knife to create a hole for the funnel:
The hole should be just large enough for the funnel:
Use the funnel to fill in about 400 g of detergent:
Vibrate/shake the disk gently to fill the 400 g, then remove the funnel. It should be filled up like this:
Close the hole with masking tape:
Remove the masking tape from the dispensing hole:
Finally, insert the refilled disk into the dish washer:
The machine automatically turns and detects the refilled disk, and AutoDos is detected and activated:
That’s it: the dish washer is able now to dispense for another ~20 cycles with a refilled disk. 🙂
I really like the concept of automatic detergent dispensing system. The rotating disk is a clever thing. But why not making the disk refillable? That would reduce waste and makes it less expensive. With the current way, it looks like just a way to sell overpriced dish-washing detergents. But at least Miele kept the ‘old’ way, so you don’t have to use it.
Or: I showed how to refill the Miele AutoDos Power Disks: that way I can safe money and still benefit from the automatic detergent dispensing. So far I did not notice any difference with a refilled disk. I have to see over the next weeks and months, but I expect it to work perfectly. Otherwise I’ll post an update for sure…
Update 1-Jul-22: today, the first refilled PowerDisk was empty. Refilled it again, and ready for the second cycle.
Happy refilling 🙂