This article covers how to clean your dishwasher in 5 simple steps, common questions about the process, and the best products to use. It’s a complete guide that easily explains how to clean your dishwasher.
If your dishwasher is smelly or your dishes aren’t getting clean, the steps in this article will also help your washer work properly again.
How to Clean Your Dishwasher in 5 Steps
The 5 steps below are a tried and true process for getting dirt and grime out of your washer. Here’s how:
Remove your bottom rack and utensil holder. Wipe both down and clean any dirty spots. Wipe down the bottom of your dishwasher and remove any food particles.
In the bottom of your dishwasher is your spray arm (it should have 2 long arms) and drain. Remove the spray arm and use a toothbrush to clean anything that may be clogging it. Do the same with the drain.
In this photo you can see the spray arm and top of the drain have been removed. Check your drain for any food particles that might be clogging it. Your dishwasher filter is also usually located in the bottom of your washer next to the sprayer arm.
Remove and clean your filter. Your dishwasher’s filter is usually located below the spray arm. Take out any food chunks and gently scrub it until clean with a toothbrush.
Next, you’ll need to work to get rid of any grime build up inside your dishwasher. You can use a dishwasher cleaning tablet (like these from Affresh) or distilled white vinegar. To use vinegar, place 2 cups of vinegar in a dishwasher-safe bowl on the top rack and run a hot cycle with no dishes or detergent.
Depending on how dirty your dishwasher was, there may still be some tough spots on the bottom. Sprinkle 1 cup baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher and run a hot water cycle. Repeat if needed.
By following these steps your dishwasher should be sparkly clean and scent-free. Each dishwasher is also different, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual before using the products or methods mentioned above.
How Often to Clean Your Dishwasher
The steps above are for completely deep cleaning your dishwasher, which should be done about once per month. But there’s more regular cleaning that you should also do to prevent your dishwasher from getting too dirty in the meantime:
Make sure there are no large particles of food in your dish washer. Also remove large bits of food before loading dishes. Your dishes don’t need to be completely clean before you load your washer, but they shouldn’t have large pieces that will clog your washer.
Clean your filter and wipe down the bottom of your dishwasher. Cleaning your filter once a week will make sure that your dishes are getting truly clean and prevent bad odors. You should also wipe down the bottom of your washer and remove any accumulated food particles.
Deep clean your dishwasher using the 5 steps listed above.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you clean a dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda?
Start by placing a dishwasher-safe bowl filled with 2 cups vinegar on the top rack of your washer. Run the wash with no plates or detergent on the hottest possible setting. Then sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda on the bottom of your washer and run it on the hottest setting (with no dishes or detergent) again. This should clean out all of the dirt and grime on the inside of your dishwasher.
How often should you clean your dishwasher?
You should deep clean your dishwasher once a month. On a weekly basis, it’s a best practice to clean out your filter, wipe down the bottom of your dishwasher, and remove any accumulated food particles.
How do you deep clean a dishwasher?
The best way to deep clean a dishwasher is to first clean the filter, spray arm and drain. Then use the vinegar and baking soda methods mentioned above to get rid of any dirt and grime. You can also use a cleaning tablet (like these from Affresh).
How do you clean a smelly dishwasher?
If you dish washer has a bad smell, it’s time for a deep clean. Going through the above 5 steps to deep clean your dishwasher will get to the root of the smell and leave you with a sparkly, odor-free dishwasher. You’ll need to clean your filter as well as use vinegar and baking soda to remove grime and grease build-up.
How do you clean a dishwasher filter?
Start by removing your dishwasher filter, which is usually located near the bottom spray arm. Gently scrub it with a toothbrush to remove any food particles and dirt. This should be done about once a week to make sure that your washer continues to clean properly.
Can you clean a dishwasher with bleach?
Yes, but it’s not recommended for dishwashers that have stainless steel parts. Bleach can damage stainless steel. It can also be harsh on other parts of your dishwasher and overall is not recommended. The best way to clean a dishwasher is following the vinegar and baking soda method mentioned in the steps above.