It may seem strange having to wash an appliance that’s built for washing. Your dishwasher should automatically get cleaned every time you run a cycle, right? Unfortunately that is not the case and many don’t realize that dishwashers can harbor old food scraps, soap scum, grease, and nasty germs. These pesky things clinging to your dishwasher can cause bad smells and built up bacteria, resulting in your dishes not being properly sanitized. Cleaning your dishwasher can help you maximize its efficiency to get your dishes as clean as possible. By following these simple steps, your dishwasher will be looking and smelling brand new in no time!
What You’ll Need:
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Washcloth/Paper Towels
- Baking Soda
- Toothbrush (optional)
- Toothpick/Q-Tips (optional)
- First, empty your dishwasher. It’s best to start a deep clean after you have just washed a load of dishes.
- Fill your sink halfway with water and add 1-2 cups of distilled white vinegar. This is where you’re going to be placing your dishwasher parts for soaking while you clean the walls and base of your machine.
- Remove all parts from the dishwasher and place them in the sink with the vinegar/water mixture. This includes utensil holders, racks, the arm grate, and filter. You will need a screwdriver to unscrew and remove the arm grate and filter.
- Leave the smaller dishwasher parts to soak in the sink.
- Use a toothpick, Q-Tip, or other small item to remove any tiny bits of food or other debris from the holes in the arm blade. These holes should be clear so that water can run freely through them, to make for a more effective cleaning.
- If the bigger parts of your machine don’t fit in your sink, such as the racks or arm grate, simply wipe them down with the water and vinegar solution and place them aside while you clean the inside of your dishwasher.
- Using a cloth or sponge dampened with water and vinegar, wipe around the edges of the door and around the gasket. Since these areas are hardly cleaned during a wash cycle, they are susceptible to catching bits of foods and debris. If you have any tough spots with debris caked on, use an old toothbrush to help you get deep into hard corners.
- To clean around your filter, first place a rag or a piece of tape around the opening to prevent debris from getting into it as your clean it.
- Make sure to watch out for any broken glass that could have been caught in or around the filter.
- With your washcloth and water/vinegar solution, wipe down the entire base and inside of your dishwasher, making sure to get tough spots with caked on messes.
- Wipe down all of the dishwasher pieces you removed in your sink using the vinegar and water mixture. Reassemble or replace all of the parts back into their original locations.
- Pour two cups of the distilled white vinegar into a dish wash safe container and place it on the upper rack of your empty machine.
- Run a hot water wash cycle and stop the machine in mid-wash so the vinegar can set on the bottom and work out tough spots. Let it stand for 20 minutes and then let your machine finish the cycle.
- After the cycle has finished, sprinkle one cup of baking soda across the bottom of your machine and run a short hot-water cycle. This will have your machine smelling fresh with no stains in sight.
- When the cycle is done, wipe out the interior and door seal with dry paper towels or a dry washcloth.
- If you have mold in your dishwasher and your machine DOESN’T contain stainless steel, pour one cup of bleach on the base of your machine and run it on a full wash cycle. DO NOT add bleach to your machine if it has stainless steel.
What You’ll Need:
- All Purpose Cleaner or Stainless Steel Cleaner
- Washcloth or Paper Towels
To wash the outside of your dishwasher, spray the front with an all purpose cleaner or stainless steel cleaner if your machine is stainless steel. Then, wipe it down while paying special attention to grease spots, fingerprints, or food stains. Make sure to wipe underneath the door and the top rim to clean the settings buttons where other debris can build up.
Tips for Maintaining a Clean Dishwasher:
- To prevent buildup of old food, spots, and grease, use your dishwasher regularly so debris won’t have time to harden. Also, occasionally run an empty short, water-saving cycle to reduce the need for larger cleanings.
- Every few weeks, run the dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda. Pour two cups of distilled white vinegar into a dishwasher safe container and place it on the upper rack of your empty machine. Run a hot water wash cycle and stop the machine in mid-wash so the vinegar can set on the bottom and work out tough spots. Let it stand for 20 minutes and then let your machine finish the cycle. If your machine is emitting a strange smell, sprinkle one cup of baking soda across the bottom of your machine and run a short hot-water cycle.
- For a more effective cleaning, run hot water from your sink before you start your dishwasher. Hot water is better for removing tough grease and spots. If you don’t want to waste water, use the hot water you run before turning on your cycle for watering plants or hand-washing dishes.
- When washing your dishes in the dishwasher, use rinse aid or a detergent with rinse aid. This helps to prevent spots on your dishes and around the interior of your machine. If you have hard water, don’t use rinse aid or use a solid rinse aid.
By following these easy steps on how to clean a dishwasher, your kitchen will smell fresh and your dishes will sparkle. Remember to check the Wireless Wipes Blog daily for new posts on cleaning tips, DIY hacks, how-tos, and more!
Sources: bobvilla.com, wikihow, tidymom.
Images: today.com, wikihow, babble.com, onegoodthingbyjillee.com, dreamstime.com, cleandaylondon.com.