The dishwasher is a handy device that was invented in 1887 and released to the general public in 1950. For the last 7 decades, we’ve enjoyed ticking off this tedious task and having our machines do it instead.
But did you know you have to clean it out? Many people mistakenly think that because it washes dishes, dishwashers are self-cleaning.
However, if you don’t ensure it’s pristine, this can shorten the lifespan of your dishwasher. And this can cost you extra in the long run.
How do you clean a dishwasher though? Read on to find out how you can keep your appliance looking and working great!
How Do You Clean a Dishwasher?
Every day, you should be picking out food particles left over from the machine’s cycles. Not only can this prevent nasty odors, but it can also stop buildups from happening. You can use either your fingers or a paper towel if you don’t want to touch the mess.
If there’s any bad buildup or splashes on the dishwasher door, you should wipe it down with either a sponge or microfiber cloth.
The equipment and materials you’ll need to thoroughly clean a dishwasher (besides a sponge and a microfiber cloth) are a soft-bristle brush, an old toothbrush, wire, dish soap, distilled white vinegar, and baking soda.
If you have a stainless steel dishwasher, you should never use bleach since it’ll damage it! Also, you should never mix vinegar and bleach since this can form chlorine gas, which is bad for your health.
Clean the Strainer
Take out the bottom rack and give the strainer a good clean. This is a good chance to remove all food scraps and anything else that might be clogging it up.
Dip your soft-bristle brush in a container of white vinegar and use it to scrub if needed. You can now replace the bottom rack.
Do a Vinegar Cycle
Get a container and fill it with 1 cup of vinegar. Put it on the top rack and run a normal cycle.
Make sure to switch off the drying cycle so you don’t waste energy or time.
Do a Baking Soda Rinse
When the dishwasher is done with the vinegar cycle, sprinkle the bottom of the appliance with 1 cup of baking soda. Set it for a short hot water rinse cycle without drying.
When the cycle’s done, open the door and let the dishwasher air dry.
You should never mix vinegar and baking soda in the dishwasher, as this will cause the “volcano experiment” eruption found in science fair projects! It’ll be tough and messy to clean up.
Dishwasher Deep Cleaning
The above instructions are good for light dishwasher cleaning. But you should also deep clean your machine occasionally, especially if you get hard water in your area.
You’ll still clean the strainer, but you’ll also remove it for thorough cleaning. Often, you’ll find gunk trapped underneath, so get your old toothbrush, dip it in vinegar, and scrub the strainer down.
At the end, you’ll run a vinegar cycle too, but instead of 1 cup of vinegar, you’ll use 2. If you notice anything wrong, then look for appliance repair to prolong the lifespan of your appliance.
Here are the additional steps for deep cleaning.
Clean the Spray Arms
Take out both racks so the dishwasher’s empty. Stick a wire into the holes to get debris out. This can also remove the buildup of minerals from hard water.
Clean the Detergent Dispenser and Utensil Holder
Your old toothbrush will come in handy here again. Dip it into vinegar and scrub down the detergent dispenser and utensil holder.
Remember to clean both sides of the detergent dispenser’s flaps.
Clean the Rubber Seals
The rubber seals are often forgotten, but they’re important to keep clean. Otherwise, mold can grow.
This time, dip your sponge in vinegar and scrub down the seals. You can use your old toothbrush in tighter spots.
Exterior Dishwasher Cleaning
We mentioned earlier that you should wipe down the dishwasher door if it gets dirty, but you should also give the exterior a good clean.
Dip your old toothbrush in a warm soapy mixture then scrub around the buttons and dials.
With the same solution, dip a sponge or microfiber cloth in and wipe down the door. Wipe it down again with a clean towel and fresh water, then dry it with a new towel.
If you have a stainless steel dishwasher, then you need to buy specific products for stainless steel cleaning. You can then use a microfiber cloth to apply it; make sure you follow the product’s instructions carefully!
How Often Should You Clean a Dishwasher?
You now know how to clean a dishwasher, but how often should you do this?
In general, you can clean it out once a month with a soft-bristle brush, white vinegar, and baking soda. For deep cleanings, you can do this once or twice a year, depending on how often you use your appliance.
Keep Your Dishwasher Clean
Now you know the answer to the question, “how do you clean a dishwasher?”
Not only should you lightly clean it on a regular basis, but you should also deep clean it once or twice a year. While cleaning a dishwasher can be boring, this will help keep it in good shape and avoid costly repairs and replacements.
So don’t forget to do this important task. It’ll be worth it in the long run!
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