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Family Times
Cleaning Your Dishwasher
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 • Posted May 16, 2012

This morning I had a call about how to clean the inside of a dishwasher. So I did a little quick research, and found several articles that were pretty similar on the subject. I know it would be good for me to clean my dishwasher, so I thought ya’ll might need to also!

Remove the racks of your dishwasher. Most dishwasher racks are on wheels and will slide out easily. If this is not the case, refer to your user’s manual or check the manufacturer’s website. Place the racks in your bathtub or outside and spray them down with a combination of bleach and warm water. Use one to two parts bleach to ten parts water- this is the cheapest, most effective sanitizer that Extension highly recommends- but watch out that you don’t get it on your clothes! Plus it does need to be mixed fresh once a day. Let the racks air dry.

Check the drain area. It is common for larger pieces of food, pieces of paper (from price tags or labels) and other small items to collect in the drain. Remove anything you find and use a small brush to scrub the drain area clean.

Inspect the sprayer arms. The arms have several small holes that shower the dishes with a strong jet of hot water. If these holes get clogged with food and other particles, your dishwasher will not clean well. Use toothpicks to remove debris from the sprayer holes.

Replace the dishwasher racks.

Place a dishwasher-safe cup filled with plain white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher. Using the hottest water available, run the dishwasher through a cycle – except for the cup of vinegar, the dishwasher needs to be empty. The vinegar will help to wash away the loose, greasy grime, sanitizes, and helps remove the musty odor. If you don’t have any white vinegar, you may substitute a packet of unsweetened lemonade mix in the soap cup. Don’t experiment with other flavors as they may stain the inside of your dishwasher. For best results, use the vinegar once a month.

After using the vinegar to sanitize the inside of the dishwasher, sprinkle a cupful of baking soda around the bottom of the tub and run it through a short but complete cycle using the hottest water. The baking soda will help freshen the smell of the dishwasher as well as brighten up the look of the inside of your appliance by removing stains.


If you have problems with mold and mildew, add ½-1 cup bleach in the bottom of the dishwasher and run a full cycle. NOTE: DO NOT USE BLEACH IN YOUR DISHWASHER IF YOU HAVE A STAINLESS STEEL INTERIOR).

Now that the dishwasher is clean and running right………here are a few IMPORTANT tips to KEEP it that way….until the next cleaning. (A routine dishwasher cleaning is a good habit to get into. And you have to admit…now that you know how it’s done…it’s not that hard.)

*Run the garbage disposal before starting the dishwasher. The dishwasher drains into the same pipe as your sink, so that drain must be clear.

*Run a bit of hot water in your sink before running the dishwasher. You will get cleaner dishes if the water starts hot. You can collect the water you run and use it for watering plants or other purposes. Run the water until what comes out of the tap feels hot.

*Run full loads to conserve water and energy, but don’t pack dishes too tightly. Dishwashers wash dishes by spraying water over them, so the water needs to be able to get to the dishes to clean them.

*If you are inclined to pre-wash your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher, consider this. Dishwasher detergent NEEDS a certain amount of grease and dirt in order to do its job. Otherwise, it actually foams up during the cycle which is not good for your dishwasher.

*Never mix chlorine bleach and vinegar. Toxic chlorine gas results from the mixture.

*One of the uTube videos I watched on cleaning your dishwasher was from an appliance repairman, and he also mentioned that using granular dishwasher soaps was recommended over gels!

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