How To Properly Clean Your Dishwasher

image of a dishwasher

Cleaning solutions need cleaning, too. Your dishwasher may rinse plates perfectly but it won’t be able to wash itself. Look inside to see the dirt, minerals, soap scum, and food scraps. Unless you get rid of these, they will contaminate the dishes and affect your family’s health. They will also decrease unit efficiency, performance, and longevity. It can also lead to clogged drains and other plumbing issues.  If you want the unit to run better and last longer, then roll up your sleeves and get to work. Read on to learn how to clean your dishwasher. You can do this every six months or so as part of basic maintenance.

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Easy Steps to Clean Your Dishwasher

1. Prepare The Necessary Materials

image of baking soda and vinegar to clean dishwasher

The process will go smoother if you prepare the necessary materials ahead of time. Check the cleaning products that you have at home and determine their suitability for this task. Among the recommended tools are rubber gloves to protect your hands and microfiber cloth to wipe the surfaces. You could also look for an old toothbrush to reach small spaces. Toothpicks may prove useful as well, so get a few of these. Raid your kitchen for some white vinegar and baking soda which are excellent household cleaning agents. If you run out of these, then just use dish soap instead.

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2. Take Out Anything That Is Blocking Your Way

Now you can turn your attention to the unit. Open up the door and survey the removeable parts. You will need to take these out so that you can reach the interior surfaces. For example, you may relocate the racks, filters, and the silverware holders to the kitchen sink. Wash these manually with dish soap as you normally would. You may also soak them in warm water and vinegar for half an hour before rinsing. Set them aside and let them air dry while you proceed with dishwasher deep cleaning.

3. Remove All Of The Visible Debris

image of a clean dishwasher

You now have easy access to the unit’s interior. Without anything blocking your view, you should be able to see the debris that has built up inside. There is probably more than you thought there would be. This is fine. Just wipe these away whenever possible. Clean up the walls and the spray arms. Inspect the filter and dispenser. For stubborn dirt, you might need to use a toothbrush to dislodge them first. You may also make advantage of the toothpicks to reach into tiny crevices.

4. Run Cycles With Vinegar And Baking Soda

Once you are satisfied with the debris removal, you can try to break down the remaining food bits, grease, and grime. Pour a cup of white vinegar in a bowl and put this at the bottom of the dishwasher. Set the unit on a hot water cycle and wait for this to finish. Follow this up by sprinkling 1 cup of baking soda inside the unit and running another short wash cycle. The reaction of the vinegar and the powder will provide excellent cleaning power. This can remove stains and odors for a much fresher unit.

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5. Wipe Down The Dishwasher’s Door

Finally, you can clean the door of the unit using any appropriate solution. All-purpose cleaners may be fine for some materials but not on others. Choose the right product for your needs. For example, there are specially formulated stainless steel cleaning products that help protect the finish and prevent scratches. If you don’t have time to buy this, then you might try to create your own homemade solution. Combine dish soap, vinegar, and water. Dampen a microfiber cloth with this mixture and wipe the door surface. Follow the direction of the grain. Do the same with the handle and the control panel. Put back the rack, filter, and silverware holder inside to finish the work.


Keeping Your Dishwasher Clean and Fresh

The next time you use the dishwasher, you will notice that it runs better and that the dishes are cleaner. Keep it this way by scheduling a deep clean every six months at the very least. If you are using the unit more frequently or washing heavy loads, then you might have to do this more often. You will know that it’s time to do it again when the dirty dishes come out of it with substantial gunk left. You may also check whether your unit has a self-sanitizing feature. Run this every month to prevent residue build-up. It will eliminate most bacterial growth so you can have greater confidence when using your plates and spoons.

Another strategy to ensure optimal operation is to monitor water temperature. Experts recommend keeping it within 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. If this goes any lower, then you may get less than satisfactory results. Check by getting hot water from the nearest sink and dipping a thermometer in the bowl. If the reading is lower or higher than the ideal range, then make the necessary adjustments with the water heater.

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Deep cleaning is the secret to highly effective and long-lasting dishwashers. Make it a habit for stress-free ownership. If your unit is not working as well as you want, then try this immediately. Most should see a remarkable difference right after cleaning. If the dishes still come out dirty, then a bigger problem might be lurking underneath. Consult a professional plumber to figure out your next step. You will get the help you need for repairs or replacement.

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