How to Clean your Dishwasher Effectively


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Erin Lawrence

How to clean a dishwasherWhen it comes to larger appliances, we often need to remember to give them the time and care that they need to keep running properly. It makes sense to protect your investment and to keep your large appliances running as long as possible. For the same reasons that you should occasionally clean your dryer and washing machine, you should also give your dishwasher a little love.

How to clean a dishwasher

If you keep finding wayward bits of food, a cleaning cycle may be in order.

Cleaning your dishwasher is more complicated than cleaning your washer or dryer, but only because it has a few more nooks and crannies, and you might have trouble dealing with your filter depending on your dishwasher. But fear not; we’re here to walk you through the process. Let’s look at how to clean your dishwasher.

What to Use: Does vinegar really clean a dishwasher?

How to clean a dishwasherDespite the number of cleaning products and the millions spent advertising them, baking soda and vinegar are your best bet here. In addition, a clean microfiber cloth, an old toothbrush, and a small sharp object like a safety pin or toothpick will come in handy.

How do you clean a dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda?

First Steps

Start by removing any trays that you can. Put these in the sink with hot water and vinegar and let them soak for at least half an hour. While those have started, have a look at your filter. Some models have filters that are very easy to remove, so follow your manufacturer’s recommendations. If you don’t have your manual, and so few of us do, you can look online to find out how to remove your filter. Be warned that some filters are a bit trickier and may involve a screwdriver, so if you’re not comfortable removing the filter, that’s okay; you can probably skip that step. If you can remove your filter, place it in the sink with the rest of the trays.

Get On In There

While you’re waiting on the trays and filter, it’s time to get at the inside of the dishwasher.  You might ask, how to clean the inside of your dishwasher. Using your microfiber cloth and some vinegar, wipe down the walls, all the nooks and crannies, and the spray heads. Make sure to take care while handling the spray heads, as you want to avoid pulling them out of alignment or breaking them accidentally.

How to clean a dishwasherUse the toothbrush to get any areas that you can’t get your cloth in. Give everything a good scrub, and remember the gaskets along the side and any other hard-to-see spots. Remember the inside of the door and the outside of the door while you’re at it. Use your safety pin or toothpick if you notice any spray head nozzles that have food particles lodged in them.  This will lessen the load on the other nozzles and keep your dishwasher running more efficiently.

Clean Cycle

Give the trays and filter a quick scrub, and then return them to the dishwasher. Make sure the filter is in correctly.  Some dishwashers have a self-cleaning cycle; if so, feel free to use that. If not, Place a bowl in the bottom of the dishwasher with a cup or so of white vinegar and run on the hottest water cycle you have.  When that’s done, remove the bowl and spread a cup of baking soda through the dishwasher. Run another cycle. and you’re done.  Repeat this process three to four times a year or when the dishwasher isn’t smelling as fresh as you’d like.

If you’re wondering How often do you need to clean your dishwasher, we recommend doing for optimal functionality.

Special cleaning tablets work too

How to clean a dishwasher

Tools of the trade.

While it’s probably quickest and easiest just to go the vinegar route since it’s something we already have most of our kitchens, there are special cleaning tablets you can definitely find relatively inexpensively on Amazon. Just pop one of the tablets into the dishwasher and run a cycle with it.

A little preventative maintenance on your dishwasher will save you money in the long run, as replacing a dishwasher is not a small cost. Additionally, if you show your dishwasher some loving care, your dishes will be cleaner, and your kitchen will smell better.

Shop Harris Cleaning Vinegar on Amazon

Shop ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda on Amazon

Shop Finish or ACTIVE Dishwasher Cleaning Tablets


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