How to Clean a Dishwasher

Dirty dishwasher? Learn how to best clean your dishwasher.

The Best Way to Clean a Dishwasher

Please allow us to enlighten you as to a lesser-known appliance fact: You need to clean your dishwasher. We know the idea that an appliance that cleans your dishes would itself need to be deep cleaned seems redundant, but that’s the reality of owning a dishwasher. Those life (and manicure) saving devices that sanitize our eating utensils and dishes can get dirty, and it’s important to know how to clean them. Ignore that task and you’ll be looking at a lot more than just water spots on your glassware. You’ll be battling greasy pots, stuck-on food, and even foul smells and drainage issues.

So, let’s avoid having to re-wash dishes that just emerged from a full cycle in the dishwasher by keeping that magical machine clean. And here’s how you do so.

To clean your dishwasher, you need to:

  • Clear out the drain at the bottom of the dishwasher. To do this, all you need to do is remove the bottom rack and feel around in the drain. Is there old gunk or food stuck in there? Foreign objects? Plastic pieces from wayward cups? If the answer is yes, you’ll need to remove them from the drain. Doing so will improve the water pressure in your dishwasher, which will make for cleaner dishes, and will help prevent any funky smells from old food.
  • Check the spray arm. Not sure what the spray arm is? It’s looks like a miniature version of a sprinkler, and it has a tendency to get grimy with constant use. If there are any signs of debris or old food, use a toothbrush dipped in white vinegar to remove them. Using white vinegar is just as effective as using a harsh chemical cleaner, and it’s a green, safe way to clean your spray arm.
  • Speaking of white vinegar, run some through your dishwasher, too. This will remove any musty stench or grease and grime trapped in your dishwasher. Don’t put it in the soap compartment, though. Just simply fill a dishwasher-safe bowl or other container with white vinegar, put it facing up in the dishwasher rack, and run your appliance on a hot water cycle. Doing so will cycle the vinegar through the entirety of the machine and clean things up in a jiffy.
  • Wary of white vinegar? Use baking soda instead. Or, use it in conjunction with white vinegar. The possibilities are (sort of) endless. Baking soda will help remove any bad odors, stains, or grime, and it will leave the inside of your dishwasher sparkly white. All you have to do is sprinkle a cup of baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher, right near your newly cleaned drain. Run the dishwasher on a quick, hot cycle and you’ll be home free in no time.
  • Problems with mold or mildew? Bleach can handle that. Yep, good old fashioned bleach. You probably have some sitting in your laundry room right now. To combat mold, you simply have to add a cup of bleach to the bottom of the dishwasher and run it on a full, hot cycle. That should help get rid of your mildew problem, and it will leave your dishwasher’s interior a bright white. Be careful, though: you should only use bleach if the inside of your dishwasher is not stainless steel. Bleach and stainless steel are not friends, and if you go that route, you’ll cause some serious discoloration and damage. Everything else, though, is a go.

Following these cleaning tips every so often will ensure that your dishwasher can do your bidding for years to come.

Resources— Today, DIY Network


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