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How to clean your dishwasher in four simple steps

how to clean your dishwasher

Dishwashers are the unsung heroes of big households: put in the dirty dishes, and just an hour later they emerge sparkly clean. Many branded dishwashers are sturdy and rarely pose a problem, but if you notice a foul smell coming from your machine, it may be time for a good clean. But how do you clean a dishwasher? We’ll show you what to do in just four simple steps. 

Why dishwashers need washing too

Although most dishwashers will run smoothly for quite a while, over time food, dirt, grease, and detergent can build up and get stuck inside the filter and main compartment of the appliance. This may sound contradictory – after all, shouldn’t an appliance used to clean dishes clean itself? Dishwashers usually do a great job at relieving us of the most dreaded kitchen task, but as with most appliances, they function best when they’re well-maintained. That’s why it’s essential to know how to clean your dishwasher. Once you start noticing an unpleasant smell after opening the door or your dishes aren’t coming out properly cleaned, you know something is wrong. In that case, it’s time to give your machine some love and give it a good scrub inside and outside. Here’s four easy steps, explaining the best way to clean your dishwasher.

Step 1: Remove food remnants

So, how do you clean a dishwasher? Well, as part of your dishwasher care, it’s good practice to get into the habit of cleaning out any bits of food left after each washing cycle. That way, you’ll avoid dirt build-up in the long run. Simply pull out the bottom rack fully and collect any large bits of food or gunk by hand or with a towel. 

Step 2: Clean the filter once a week

If you’ve been wondering how to clean a smelly dishwasher, the filter is the crucial part to look at. It serves to trap the food waste so your dishes come out sparkling. If it’s not regularly emptied over time, the muck inside the filter will begin to reek of rotting food. Regular cleaning (once a week) ensures that gunk isn’t left to accumulate. Luckily, cleaning your filter is easy, though filters vary based on the appliance brand, so make sure you refer to the owner’s manual and instructions first. Here are some general tips:

  • Locate and if possible, remove the filter
  • Rinse it using hot water
  • Scrub the inner filter using a soft brush
  • Put it back into your machine

Step 3: Wipe the door seals weekly

When food gets trapped in the door seals, your dishwasher may begin to leak. To avoid flooding your kitchen, you can use a cleaning solution like Soft Scrub® with Bleach Cleanser. Squeeze a little onto a damp sponge, and wipe the door rims and seals. Wipe down with a clean damp sponge afterwards. While you’re at it, give the outside of the machine a quick wipe to get rid of any unsightly finger marks left from opening and closing the door. 

Step 4: The monthly deep clean

A thorough clean is the best way to clean inside of your dishwasher and rid it of even the most persistent muck and dirt build-up. You can use dedicated cleaning products for this or choose a more natural option like white vinegar. Harsher cleaners such as bleach are often not necessary and may not be recommended by your machine’s manufacturer.

For natural cleaning:

  • Measure two cups of white vinegar
  • Pour it into some Tupperware or a glass and place it on the top rack
  • Run a normal, empty cycle

If your dishwasher still stinks after using white vinegar, sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom, leave it overnight and run a normal, empty wash in the morning.

Using a dishwasher cleaning tablet or powder:

  • Be sure to follow the directions on the product label

That was easy, wasn’t it? Knowing how to clean your dishwasher properly will allow you to get plenty of good use out of it.