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How to Clean Your Dishwasher

how to clean your dishwasher

It is a common misconception that a dishwasher cleans itself while it washes your dishes. This is not the case.

Although it is still recommended that you do not prewash your dishes to conserve water and energy, it is important to note that debris such as food scraps, undissolved detergent, water minerals, and grease can accumulate on the interior walls and filter of your dishwasher over time. As a result, the spray arms can become clogged, which can lead to problems.

It is important to run regular cleaning cycles and maintain a clean dishwasher. Neglecting to do so can result in unpleasant odors and unsightly build-up on the interior walls of your dishwasher. Even if you carefully and correctly load your dishes, the accumulated debris can leave spots and films on your glassware, dinnerware, and flatware.

Moreover, the residue buildup can cause damage to the dishwasher’s filter and pump, which can result in costly repairs. So, the only way to keep a dishwasher clean is to run regular cleaning cycles and make sure the walls and filter inside are free of debris.

Read on to discover the best methods you can use to clean your dishwasher.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?

Regular maintenance of your dishwasher is essential to ensuring its longevity and optimal performance. A soft-bristle brush, baking soda, and distilled white vinegar are all common household items that can be used for monthly cleaning.

For more extensive cleaning, a few additional items may be necessary, which should be done once or twice a year.

It is also important not to overlook the exterior of the dishwasher. Dirt can accumulate quickly, so it is advisable to wipe it down at least once a week or as needed.

Steps for Cleaning a Dishwasher

Cleaning the Dishwasher Door

Step 1: Clean the Outside of the Dishwasher

Wipe the outside of the dishwasher door with warm, sudsy water to remove fingerprints. Alternatively, make your dishwasher cleaner by combining 1/4 cup baking soda with 1-quart water.

Avoid using harsh cleaners or scouring pads that may scratch the finish of the dishwasher. Wipe the door dry with a soft cloth once it has been cleaned. Wipe away stubborn fingerprints and smudges with a soft, dry cloth and a little rubbing alcohol.

Step 2: Clean the Inside of the Dishwasher Door

Open the dishwasher door to access the top and sides. Scrub around the door with a small toothbrush dipped in hot, soapy water. Make sure to dig into the rubber seal grooves and any other crevices, including the hinges.

This step may require gentle scrubbing with an abrasive cleanser if there are a lot of buildups. Wipe away any remaining cleaning solution with a clean, wet sponge.

Cleaning the Dishwasher Tub

Step 1: Remove the Debris

Using a handful of paper towels, remove any debris from the dishwasher’s base. Most of the debris will be found near the drain.

Step 2: Start the Dishwasher

Once the debris has been removed, you should run a cleaning cycle in the dishwasher. This should be done while the dishwasher is empty. You can also make your dishwasher cleaner.

To use vinegar to clean your dishwasher, place a cup of plain white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher. Then run a full cycle, using the hottest water possible to disinfect the unit as it cleans.

Step 3: Clean the Inside

When the cycle is finished, use paper towels or a clean, dry cloth to wipe down the inside of the dishwasher.

You can place a packet of unsweetened lemonade mix in the soap cup if you don’t want to use vinegar. You can also use baking soda to clean your dishwasher by sprinkling a cup of it on the bottom of the tub.

Run a full cycle with the hottest water possible for either method. Each will assist in cleaning and refreshing your dishwasher.

Cleaning the Dishwasher Filter

Step 1: Take Out the Filter and Clean It

Pull the bottom rack out to access the dishwasher filter. If your dishwasher filter is removable, twist it out and rinse it under hot running water to remove food particles and other debris.

Step 2: Clean the Area Beneath the Filter

Using a damp cloth, toothbrush, or sponge, clean the area beneath the filter inside the dishwasher. After cleaning, replace the clean dishwasher filter.

Note that filters differ from one appliance to another. Consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions on cleaning your dishwasher filter.

Tips for Keeping Your Dishwasher Clean for a Longer Period

  • Maintain a consistent dishwasher cleaning schedule. It is advisable to clean the dishwasher as soon as you notice debris in it and/or when you notice that your dishes aren’t getting clean.
  • Rinse food waste from dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. • Make sure there are no food stickers or other materials that will not dissolve easily in the dishwasher.
  • Avoid overloading a dishwasher so that the water can circulate freely.


What is the best way to clean and deodorize a dishwasher?

The best way to clean and deodorize a dishwasher involves running empty dishwasher cycles with baking soda and vinegar. Place a bowl of distilled white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher and run a normal cycle. Then, pour a cup of baking soda into the dishwasher’s bottom and run a second cycle. This will get rid of any odor in your dishwasher.

How do I deep clean my dishwasher naturally?

Place 1 cup of white vinegar in a bowl at the bottom of a dishwasher that has been emptied. Run the dishwasher on the hot water cycle. The vinegar will break down any remaining grease, food, soap scum, or residue.

What is the most effective homemade dishwasher cleaner?

Vinegar is the best homemade dishwasher cleaner. Its antibacterial features help break up buildup. Baking soda is also a good homemade dishwasher cleaner. It dissolves hard water deposits and, when combined with vinegar, thoroughly cleans the inside of your dishwasher.


Learning how to clean a dishwasher can offer multiple benefits beyond just improving its appearance and smell. If you notice that your dishes still have debris on them after running them through the dishwasher, it could be a clear indication that your appliance needs a thorough cleaning.

To maintain optimal performance, consider scheduling a deep clean every six months. For those who prefer to entrust this task to professionals, end-of-tenancy cleaning specialists at Top Cleaning GB can help. Schedule a free consultation to learn more.



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