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How to Clean Your Dishwasher

How to Clean Your Dishwasher

You would think that your dishwasher gets cleaned every time that you run a wash cycle, only it doesn’t.  Since it gets filled with scalding hot soapy water when you run it, it is hard to believe it gets dirty, until the smell hits you.  After a while your dishwasher will start to smell if it doesn’t get cleaned properly.  Food scraps, grease and soap scum all get trapped in the filter and not only is your dishwasher dirty, the smell is vile.  All of that dirt and soap scum clogs up your filter and your dishwasher doesn’t wash your dishes as effectively as it should.  Now let’s get down and dirty and learn how to clean your dishwasher properly.

Here is what you’re going to need:

  • Pair of rubber gloves
  • Plain white vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Bleach

Now let’s get started:

1. Take Out the Bottom Rack

You will need to get access to the drain in your dishwasher so you need to remove the bottom rack.  You want to put on the rubber gloves and remove any gunk that might be sitting in the bottom of your dishwasher.  These chunks of food and debris stop the dishwasher from draining properly and can even cause damage.

2. Run Through a Vinegar Cycle

Next you want to run your dishwasher through a complete cycle using only vinegar.  Put about a cup full of plain white vinegar in a bowl on the top rack and then turn on the dishwasher.  Vinegar does a couple of different things, first it will neutralize any bad smells coming from the dishwasher.  It will take care of grease that may be along the inside walls of the dishwasher, clean off mineral deposits and remove build-up from the detergents that you use.  Even if you don’t do a complete clean of your dishwasher you should run through a cycle with plain vinegar about once a month to keep your dishwasher fresh.

3. Run Through a Baking Soda Cycle

Like vinegar, baking soda has more than one purpose.  If it has been a long time since you cleaned your dishwasher then vinegar may not be enough to get rid of the smell, baking soda will help.  Shake about a cupful of baking soda across the bottom and on the door.  Baking soda is abrasive, not enough to damage the dishwasher but enough to clean off the sides.  Just use a short cycle and you should have a clean smelling, shiny interior!

4. Run Through a Bleach Cycle

This is completely optional and not necessary, especially if you’re not fond of the smell of bleach.  However if you have mold then bleach may be exactly what you need.  If you have a stainless steel dishwasher then DO NOT use bleach on your dishwasher you can end up damaging it rather than cleaning it.  Put the bottom rack back into the dishwasher and put a container with a cup full of bleach and the run a complete cycle.

5. Keep Your Dishwasher Clean

To keep your dishwasher clean and smelling fresh it should be cleaned out once a month or every other month depending on how often you use it.  It will make the dishwasher last longer and make sure you get clean dishes every time.

Keeping Your Dishwasher Clean

Once you have your dishwasher cleaned out let’s talk about how to keep it that way.  Dishwashers aren’t invincible and if they aren’t treated properly they will breakdown and you will be stuck spending money on getting them repaired or even more money replacing the dishwasher.  Here are some tips on keeping the dishwasher clean.

  • Clean off your plates! Yes, the dishwasher is there to wash your dishes and you shouldn’t have to wash them first.  We aren’t talking about that.  Scrape off any excess food into the trash and give it a quick rinse under hot water.  It will make the dishwasher’s job easier and prevent gunk from gathering in the bottom.
  • The dishwasher drains water into the same drain that your sink does. If your sink has a garbage disposal then make sure the drain is clear otherwise you can end up with a swamp on your kitchen floor.
  • Run the dishwasher when it is full, but don’t cram every dish you own in there. Don’t pack it too tightly or water can’t get around and clean your dishes.  You will only end up running the cycle twice in order to clean all your dishes.

If you have your home regularly cleaned, either from a Boston cleaning service or our Manchester cleaning service then the dishwasher is typically not part of that service.  Deep cleaning services will include your dishwasher, otherwise every couple of months run through a vinegar cycle and your dishwasher should last for years.

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