How to Clean a Dishwasher - Easy Steps to Clean Your Dishwasher

2022-03-12 06:21:25 By : Mr. Tony Tao

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Here's how to safely rid your dishwasher of yucky food grime and slime.

Your dishwasher is a crucial piece of kitchen equipment. After all, it saves time and elbow grease, which you can put to good use on other projects, like cleaning your stovetop or freshening up your laundry room. Dishwashers also save money and energy, since modern models use far less water than hand-washing dishes. There's really just one problem with these appliances, and that's how dirty they can get.

You might think that since dishwashers are dedicated to making those plates and bowls spick and span they'd stay sparkling clean without any effort on your part, but unfortunately that's just not true. That's why it's critical you learn how to clean a dishwasher. This little bit of maintenance is as important as cleaning your shower head, mattress, or coffee maker. Skip it and not only will you shorten the life of the appliance, but it will lose its ability to keep your dishes spotless.

If you've never cleaned your dishwasher, there is no better time to do so than now. Start by giving it a thorough wash that will remove all the food particles, limescale (the junk that's left behind when hard water evaporates), grease, and detergent residue. All that crud can make the inside of your dishwasher flat-out nasty and keep it from operating at full strength by blocking up the holes where the water shoots out.

Next, pull out the dish racks and utensil holders. Look for leftover food stuck in the bottom of the washer, which can make the whole thing super stinky. Wipe away anything you find with paper towels. Carefully unlock and pull out the filter, which is located beneath the spray bar on the bottom of the washer. It may require tools to release, or simply unscrew. Be sure to check the owner's manual for the proper way to remove it, because if you damage the filter or don't reinstall it correctly you could void the dishwasher's warranty.

Using the toothbrush, dish soap, and hot water, scrub the entire filter, including the mesh screen, until it is free from all debris. Submerge it in a mixture of distilled white vinegar and warm water for half an hour.

While the filter is soaking, wipe down the interior of the rest of the dishwasher with a soft-sided, soapy sponge or cloth, keeping an eye out for food particles and other gunk. You may need to use toothpicks to very gently dig out anything you find in the machine's tiny openings. Be sure to pay attention to the spray arms and the inside of the door, including the gasket, which is the rubber part that prevents water from leaking out of dishwater. If it's moldy (hey, it happens), scrub the affected area with the toothbrush and a paste made from baking soda and water.

Pro Tip: Don't use bleach to clean your dishwasher. It's highly caustic and can erode both stainless steel interiors and gaskets over time.

A good tablet like Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Cleaner will help clear out anything you might have missed, dissolving grease, limescale, and flecks of food. Or, you can use distilled white vinegar. Simply place a bowl filled with a cup of vinegar in the top rack and run through on a hot cycle. You can further deodorize the machine by sprinkling a half cup of baking soda on the bottom and running a short cycle. Just be aware that vinegar is a caustic substance which may eventually damage those all-important gaskets and seals.

To get the outside of your dishwasher looking as good as the inside, be sure to wipe it down with a cleaner made specifically for it. Avoid using abrasive sponges or cleaners, which can easily scratch surfaces like stainless steel.

Now that your dishwasher is pristine and shiny clean, all you need to do is keep it that way. Try to remember to look for and remove any trapped food at the bottom of the washer every day, and clean the interior, including the filter, weekly. Use a cleaning tablet (or vinegar) monthly. Shine up that exterior door whenever you see it looking grimy.