How to Clean a Dishwasher
By Laura Parker
March 14, 2019
Is it time to show your dishwasher some TLC?
You may believe to have the best dishwasher in the world, but more than likely it has been cleaning your dishes for longer than you’ve recognized and it’s starting show signs of abuse. Between non-rinsed dishes, poor quality detergents, inefficient dish-loading, and interrupted cleaning cycles, it’s no wonder that a foul odor may be coming from your dishwasher.
It's a good practice to clean your dishwasher once a month, and if it's been a lot longer than that, then it's undoubtedly time to award your reliable kitchen helper some TLC. This simple how-to guide will show you the step-by-step for cleaning your dishwasher.
1. Clean out the drain.
Isn’t it always nice when something is way easier than it seems? To clean the drain of your dishwasher, just remove the bottom dish rack and inspect the drain. If there are any remnants of your past lasagna, steak & potatoes, or somehow your child's Hot-wheel car, adorn the yellow cleaning gloves and clean out the drain. This is going to help stop those troublesome dishwasher smells, increase draining efficiency, and ensure that your dishes are actually getting clean. Surprisingly, this will be the hardest part and it isn’t even that challenging!
2. Clean your dishwasher with vinegar.
Once you've replaced the bottom dish rack from step 1 and cleared all the dishes, you should place a dish-washer safe container filled with white vinegar (1-2 cups) upright on the top rack. Then run a full cycle using hot water. Afterward, you should see any grime, grease, and nasty odors are eliminated.
3. Dump in some baking soda.
After you have completed the first two steps, you then want to dump in about a full cup of baking soda onto the bottom of the tub. Then start a short/half cycle with hot water. Once the cycle is over, leave the door of the dishwasher open for a couple of hours to air out.
4. If there are still some persistent dishwasher smells…
If there are still some persistent aromas after you've performed steps 1-3, then you may want to consider using some bleach. NOTICE: It is not recommended that you use bleach if you have a stainless steel dishwasher.
5. Use a dishwasher cleaner for discolorations.
If the smell is gone, but you have some discolorations inside your dishwasher, try using a detergent additive such as Finish Power Up Booster Agent, Glisten Dishwasher Cleaner & Hard Water Spot Remover, and Lemi Shine Original. The discolorations usually form from mineral deposits in what's considered "hard" water and if any persist after steps 1-4, running your dishwasher through a cycle with any of these detergent additives should have your dishwasher back to looking and smelling brand new again.
In short, to avoid any unpleasant dishwasher smells, merely clean out the drain, clean your dishwasher with vinegar, dump in some baking soda, and if your dishwasher absolutely needs it, consider using bleach or purchase a dishwasher cleaner from the store.
A Clean Dishwasher! The Handy Way!
As long as you follow this step-by-step guide on how to clean your dishwasher, your dishwasher should return to being “the best dishwasher in the world” just like you remember it. Thanks for reading and happy cleaning!
If you're too busy or just can't get those dishwasher smells to go away, book a Handy Pro to come help you. A local professional will come by when you want to help clean your dishwasher!