It is important to clean your dishwasher to maximise its washing potential and keep it in good working order – cleaning on a monthly basis is recommended to ensure your appliance remains efficient and your dishes are food-free. There is a wide range of methods and solutions you can use to maintain a clean dishwasher; a commercial dishwasher cleaner can be very useful, as well as homemade cleaners. It’s even possible to clean your dishwasher with vinegar or soapy water in a pinch. This guide has everything you need to know to get a complete clean: by following all five of these steps, your dishwasher will be thoroughly scrubbed and ready for action!
Cleaning a Dishwasher as General Maintenance
A pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands from any grease and grime will be handy for the following tasks. It is particularly important that gloves are worn when using an abrasive homemade dishwasher cleaner – remember to always read the instructions on any commercial cleaning product to ensure that you use it effectively and safely.
1) How to Clean a Dishwasher Door
Ideally, you would use a commercial kitchen spray or multi-purpose cleaner to cut through any grease, soap scum, or food residue on your dishwasher door. If you are in a hurry and don’t happen to have one of these products already, you can use warm, soapy water – just remember to wipe down your dishwasher carefully to avoid leaving soap scum or water stains behind. In a pinch, a solution of ¼ cup baking soda to 1 quart of water will help to wipe clean any fingerprints or food splashes from the front of the door – once again, dry the dishwasher door with a soft cloth, and clean carefully, as baking soda can be very abrasive.
Open the dishwasher door and clean the top and sides. Scrub around the doors with a small toothbrush that has been dipped in hot, soapy water. Dig right into all the crevices to make sure you get all the accumulated dirt. You may need to enhance your scrubbing here by using a tough commercial dishwasher cleaner. Wipe up any excess dirt with a cloth soaked in warm water and soap.
2) Cleaning Dishwasher Accessories
Take out the racks and utensil holders, and wipe off any food particles or debris. To remove any resistant marks, use a toothbrush or scouring brush dipped into soapy water. Then scrub the spray arm with a toothbrush or soft brush to remove any clogs.
3) How to Get a Clean Dishwasher Drain
Pull out the lower tray and check the dishwasher drain. Remove any hard chunks that are trapped, as they can clog the drain and cause damage to the pump or scratch dishes. You’d be surprised at what you could find in your drain – chips of glass, a fork, and even bones are reasonably common.
4) How to Clean a Dishwasher with Vinegar
For a clean dishwasher, vinegar can be a useful option when you don’t want to use a commercial product. Cleaning a dishwasher with vinegar is a simple process, if a little smelly – once again, gloves will be useful.
To clean your dishwasher with vinegar, you’ll need to fill a measuring cup with distilled white vinegar. Place the full measuring cup on the upper tray of the dishwasher, or if it doesn’t fit, pour the solution into the bottom of the dishwasher. Make sure the rest of the machine is empty.
Set the temperature to the highest heat level and run the dishwasher for a full cycle. The vinegar mixed with the hot water will disinfect everything and wash away the grease and grime. All you have to do is wait for the cycle to finish – giving you time to relax, or get on with another cleaning job. Once the cycle has ended, you will have a clean dishwasher – it’s as easy as that.
5) Cleaning Dishwashers with Baking Soda
After cleaning your dishwasher with vinegar or one of the swifter commercial cleaners, you can also use baking soda to freshen it up even more. Take the baking soda and scatter it lightly around the lower part of the machine; then run it on a short cycle at the highest temperature. The baking soda will help to refresh the smell of the dishwasher and brighten up the insides by removing stains.
A clean dishwasher with no stress – it’s easy. For more tips on cleaning kitchen appliances, check out our articles on cleaning the fridge and oven cleaning.