The Ins and Outs of Cleaning a Dishwasher

How to Clean a Dishwasher

Having a dishwasher is a great way to ensure your dishes have been properly cleaned and sanitized. However, if you do not take the time to clean your dishwasher, it may not function properly. If you notice that your dishes are not coming out of the dish washing cycle very clean, there could be something not working properly or it could just need to be cleaned well.

Since your dishwasher is a cleaning appliance, it is easy to look past keeping the machine in clean, working order. Over time, soap scum and food debris can build up inside dishwashers. This creates germs and it also reduces the efficiency of the appliance.

Your dishwasher filter and drain should be cleaned about once a month. The first step to take in cleaning your dishwasher is to clear the drain. You can do this by removing the bottom dish rack and removing any food or other debris that is caught in the drain area. By making sure the drain is clear, this will improve drainage, increase the efficiency of your appliance and prevent any damage to the dishwasher.

Making sure your dishwasher is empty of any dishes, place a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher safe container on the top rack of the machine. Run your dishwasher through a hot water cycle with the vinegar and this will wash away any grease, grime and musty odors that have built up.

After you have ran the hot water cycle with vinegar, sprinkle one cup of baking soda across the bottom of your dishwasher and run a short, hot water cycle. After this cycle is finished, you will have a bright, stain free, fresh smelling appliance again.

Cleaning a Dishwasher Filter

Most dishwasher appliances have one of two types of filters. Some come with a self cleaning filter, while others come with manual filters. To determine which type of filter yours has, read your owner’s manual or look in the bottom of the dishwasher under the rotating arm. If there is a removable cylindrical piece, it is a manual filter.

Once you have removed the bottom rack of your appliance, you will easily be able to locate the filter on the floor of the dishwasher. Remove the filter according to the instructions in the user manual and hand wash the filter in warm, soapy water. You may even need to gently scrub the filter to remove stubborn pieces of food or other debris. Use a damp cloth to wipe around the area where the filter is. Once you have completed these steps, be sure to return the filter securely how you found it.

Cleaning a Smelly Dishwasher

There is nothing worse than opening your dishwasher to be hit in the face with a musty, moldy smell.

Stray food particles can get trapped in your dishwasher’s filter and the buildup will cause a foul smell over time. Running your dishwasher with a cup of vinegar in a bowl on the top rack is a great solution for getting rid of unwanted smells. Just be sure your dishwasher does not have any other dishes in it while you run this cycle.

If the vinegar smell is too strong for you, you can always add a few drops of essential oil into the vinegar before you run the hot water cycle. Lavender, orange, lemon and peppermint are a few popular essential oils that create a nice, clean smell in your dishwasher. Non toxic essential oils also have antibacterial properties in them, so this can help keep the foul smells away too.

Cleaning a Clogged Dishwasher

If the water in your dishwasher appliance is backing up and not draining, you may have something clogged in your dishwasher’s drain. To break up drain clogs in your dishwasher, you can try a homemade solution of vinegar, baking soda and hot water. First, you will want to pour a solution of baking soda and vinegar down the basket at the bottom of your dishwasher. Let this solution settle for about 10 to 15 minutes and then pour a pot of boiling hot water down the basket and that should clear out any clogs in the drain.

Cleaning a Stainless Steel Dishwasher

Keeping stainless steel appliances clean is not always an easy task. Stainless steel shows fingerprints and smudges that can be difficult to keep clean. The best type of cloth to use on your stainless steel dishwasher is a microfiber cloth. They are soft and non abrasive, so they will last for several uses.

A good homemade solution to use on stainless steel is olive oil and vinegar. Spray the outside of your dishwasher with vinegar and wipe it down using your microfiber cloth. When wiping, always go with the grain of the stainless steel. The vinegar will remove any debris that is caked onto the outside of your appliance. After wiping the vinegar off, dip your microfiber cloth into a small bit of olive oil and finish it off by wiping with the grain of the stainless steel again. You will see all of the marks and smudges disappear. Your stainless steel dishwasher will be looking shiny and brand new again!

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