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How to Clean a Dishwasher

How to Clean a Dishwasher

Who likes cleaning the dishwasher? No one, that's who. But unfortunately, it's a necessary chore in the world of dirty dishes and sparkling clean kitchens. Over time your dishwasher can accumulate food particles, grease, and soap scum, leading to foul odors and less effective cleaning. So put on your best gloves and learn how to clean your dishwasher like a pro! Fear not. With just a few simple ingredients - vinegar and baking soda - you can easily give your dishwasher a good scrub and get it running like new again.

How often do I need to clean my dishwasher?

Assuming you use your dishwasher every day, we've put together a checklist of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.

Daily
✓ Remove any food bits inside your dishwasher

Weekly
✓ Remove the filter and rinse to remove debris
✓ Exterior cleaning and polish

Monthly
✓ Deep clean with vinegar and baking soda
✓ Scrub around handles and small crevices with toothbrush
✓ Remove protective skirt and dust under dishwasher

Okay, so my dishwasher is gross. How do I clean it?

Before diving in, we suggest gathering up the following list of items to get you started:

  1. White vinegar
  2. Baking soda
  3. Microfiber cloth
  4. Rubber gloves
  5. Stainless steel cleaner (optional)

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

Cleaning your dishwasher with vinegar & baking soda is a simple process. Vinegar helps remove mineral deposits while baking soda adds some grease cutting power. In combination these two offer a knockout punch inside of a dishwasher!

  1. Empty dishwasher. Pull out the top and bottom rack of the dishwasher.
  2. Open the dishwasher door and pour a cup of vinegar onto the bottom of the dishwasher. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda over the top of the vinegar and close the dishwasher door.
  4. Run a short cycle (without any dishes) on the hottest temperature setting to ensure that the baking soda and vinegar mix properly.
  5. Once done, open the dishwasher to wash away all the grime.
  6. To finish, wipe down any remaining residue with a damp cloth or sponge to make your dishwasher shine like new again!

With this method, you can easily keep your dishwasher clean and odor free for years to come!

Image by Freepik 

How do I clean a dishwasher drain trap and filter?

The drain trap and filter accumulate the heaviest gunk inside a dishwasher. Often this will become clogged with grimy buildup and lead to foul odors. Cleaning this area is critical to remove any foul odors and grease buildup.

  1. Locate the drain trap and filter at the bottom of the dishwasher.
  2. Remove the filter and thoroughly clean it with warm water.
  3. Fill a separate bowl with hot water and a tablespoon of dish soap.
  4. Place the dishwasher filter into the bowl and let sit for a minimum of 1 hour.
  5. Rinse the filter clean and re-insert.

How to clean the outside of a dishwasher?

Assuming the outside of your dishwasher has a stainless steel cover, you can follow the steps below:

  1. Spray the product directly onto the surface.
  2. Wipe gently and buff with a soft cloth.
  3. For any cracks or crevices, such as around handles, use a toothbrush to scrub away the debris.

If the exterior of your dishwasher is not stainless steel, you can use an all-purpose cleaner using the same process.

stainless steel cleaner

Can I use bleach to clean a dishwasher?

Do not use bleach to clean a dishwasher. Bleaches contain harsh chemicals that can damage the dishwasher's rubber seals and other components, potentially causing leaks and other problems. In addition, the bleach can leave a residue on dishes and other items that wash into the dishwasher, which can be unpleasant to taste and potentially harmful if ingested.

How do I remove hard water spots from my dishwasher?

If your dishwasher is exposed to drips from the counter or water, you may experience mineral buildup. These small deposits embed themselves on the surface and become difficult to remove. A solution of distilled white vinegar can cut through these spots because of their acidic nature. Dab a soft cloth and gently rub the affected area with vinegar. You may need several passes to have any impact. Follow up with a stainless polish to add a protective coating and prevent future buildup.

How often do I need to clean my dishwasher?

This depends on what your tolerance is for "clean" dishes. Here are some signs that you need to clean the inside:

  1. Excessive spots or stains left on the plates.
  2. Foul odors are coming from inside or on the dishes.
  3. Ineffective wash cycles.

We recommend deep cleaning at least once a month to keep your appliance in optimal shape.

Can I use regular dishwasher detergent to clean it?

Technically, you can use regular dish detergent to clean a dirty dishwasher. While it may not be as effective as a vinegar cycle, it will remove some grease buildup and help keep the inside of your dishwasher clean. First, remove all the dishes. Next, put your dishwasher on the hottest cycle and let it run. This way of cleaning is fast and moderately effective but will only cut through a little of the heavy buildup with a deep cleaning.

Should you clean a dishwasher before first use?

After coming out of the factory and into your home, it's important to run a dishwasher through an initial cleaning. This will remove any chemical residues from the spray arm, racks, and filters. We suggest running a cycle on the hottest temperature and letting the unit air dry. By cleaning the dishwaher before its first use, you can ensure that its is ready to effectively wash dishes from the start.

How to clean a dishwasher without vinegar?

Maybe you're not the biggest fan of vinegar and would like to find another method. No worries, we've got you covered. Here are a few options to clean a dishwasher without vinegar:

  1. Baking soda is a natural cleaning agent that can be used to remove smells and build-up in your dishwasher. To use it, sprinkle a cup of baking soda over the bottom of the dishwasher and run a short cycle on the hottest temperature setting.
  2. Using lemon juice: Lemon juice is another natural cleaning agent that can be used to remove odors and build-up in your dishwasher. To use it, mix equal parts lemon juice and water and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture over the inside of the dishwasher and let it sit for a few hours before running a cycle.
  3. Using a combination of hot water and dish soap: To use this method, fill a bowl with hot water and a tablespoon of dish soap. Place the dishwasher filter into the bowl and let it sit for a minimum of 1 hour. Rinse the filter clean and re-insert it into the dishwasher. Then, run a cycle with hot water to rinse away any remaining soap and grime.

Conclusion

In conclusion, cleaning your dishwasher is an important task that should be done regularly to maintain its efficiency and cleanliness. By following a simple cleaning routine of removing food bits, rinsing the filter and exterior, and giving it a deep clean with vinegar and baking soda once a month, you can keep your dishwasher running smoothly. Additionally, it is important to remember not to use bleach, as it can damage the dishwasher's rubber seals and leave a residue on dishes. Hard water spots can be removed with vinegar and a stainless steel polish can be applied to prevent future mineral buildup. By following these tips, you can keep your dishwasher looking great and in top condition.

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