How to Clean Your Dishwasher: 7 Maintenance Guidelines

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The majority of people do not consider cleaning their dishwashers. After all, the appliance is utilized daily to clean your dishes. It is easy to believe that your dishwasher will clean itself as it washes the dishes, but the truth is that food debris and other deposits can accumulate over time. This accumulation can result in a dishwasher that performs poorly and dirty and discolored dishes. 

Cleaning and maintaining your dishwasher regularly can keep it running smoothly and ensure that your dishes are always spotless. The simple maintenance instructions keep your dishwasher operating and looking its best. 

1. Wash Regularly

Regularly running your dishwasher is one of the most effective ways to keep it free of excess buildup. Frequent use of your dishwasher will prevent debris from accumulating in the bottom of the appliance and reduce the number of times you will need to thoroughly clean throughout the year. 

2. Empty the Dishwasher

To implement the following instructions, you must run your dishwasher through a complete cycle and remove all the dishes. This allows for easier access to the entire dishwasher, allowing for proper maintenance. 

3. Inspect & Clean the Spinning Arms

Dishwashers function by spraying water onto dishes from their rotating arms. When these arms are not spinning correctly, or their holes are clogged with residue, your dishes will not be thoroughly cleaned. Using a small piece of wire, a toothpick, or small pliers, remove any debris accumulated inside the holes and ensure that the arms rotate correctly. 

4. Clean the Exterior and Edges

Often, offensive odors emanating from your dishwasher are emanating from the exterior areas surrounding the appliance. The door’s edges are not washed regularly, which can lead to a buildup of spills and food particles. 

A bit of ordinary household cleaner and a damp cloth should be sufficient to remove this unpleasant stain, and it can also be used to clean the appliance’s buttons and exterior door. 

How to Clean Your Dishwasher 

Other Parts You Should Clean: 

  • Under the door, on the inside. 
  • The flatware basket. 
  • The gasket. 
  • The detergent dispenser. 

5. Unclog & Clean the Drain

The drain is located at the bottom of your dishwasher, which is a common location for food particles, buildup, and other debris. Leaving these obstructions close to the drain will inevitably result in a clog. If your dishwasher’s drain is clogged, it will be less effective and more challenging to clean. And nobody wants to discover that their dishes are not spotless. 

How to Clean Your Dishwasher Drain: 

You can begin cleaning the area around the drain by collecting the most considerable debris by hand, but you may need to disassemble the drain to reach the smaller particles. Here is how to accomplish this. 

  • Disconnect the dishwasher’s power cord. 
  • Remove the screws and the cover, then. 
  • Guard the opening to keep out debris. 
  • Remove larger debris by hand. 
  • Using a brush or a cloth, remove smaller residues. 
  • Reassemble in the opposite direction. 

Cleaning the area around the dishwasher’s drain can help ensure that dirty water leaves the appliance effectively, allowing for effective dishwashing. 

6. Use Acid to Remove Buildup

Eliminating the water deposits and Buildup in your dishwasher is essential if you want your dishes sparkling and not dull after a cycle. Select one of the following acids and run it through a short process to remove excess scale: 

These are for Removal Build-Up: 

  • White vinegar 
  • Tang 
  • Lemon juice 
  • Lemonade mix 
  • Lemon-flavored Kool-Aid 

Powdered substances should be placed in the detergent dispenser, while liquids should be stored in a bowl on the top rack. 

7. Get Rid of Mildew

If you are dealing with a mold or mildew problem, a final bleach cycle in the dishwasher can also be beneficial. Unless your dishwasher’s door or interior is made of stainless steel, bleach can be the finishing touch for a wholly sanitized dishwasher every time you run the machine. 


Fill a dishwasher-safe bowl with 1 cup of white vinegar and place it on the bottom of the empty dishwasher. Set the dishwasher to run on a hot water cycle. The vinegar will break down any remaining bits of food, grease, soap scum, residue, and any other leftover grime.

  • Don’t wash (some) pots and pans in the dishwasher. 
  • Don’t wash (someone else’s) knives in the dishwasher. 
  • Don’t wash fine glasses in the dishwasher. 
  • Don’t wash woodenware in the dishwasher. 
  • Don’t use too much dishwasher detergent. 
  • Don’t overload the dishwasher.
  1. PREP. Scrape dishes to remove leftover food – use a rubber spatula or paper towel. 
  2. FILL. Fill sink or dishpan with clean, hot water. 
  3. WASH. Wash “in order,” starting with lightly soiled items. 
  4. RINSE. Rinse suds and residue with clean hot water. 
  5. DRY.

Clean your dishwasher monthly to prevent a buildup of germs and maintain the efficiency of the machine — you want to make sure your dishes are clean! Pour distilled white vinegar into a dishwasher-safe cup (I usually use a two-cup Pyrex measuring cup), and place the cup upright on an empty dishwasher’s top rack.

Even though your dishwasher’s job is to clean, it too needs a once-over periodically. Over time, food residues gunk up the drain and spray arms. The clogs reduce the amount of water circulating during the wash and rinse cycles and dishes can end up with a film of baked-on food and soap.

8 Things Not To Miss When Choosing a Dishwasher
  • Cleaning Performance.
  • Drying Performance.
  • Quiet Performance.
  • Cycles and Options.
  • Connected, Smart Dishwashers.
  • Efficient Interior Design & Stainless Tub.
  • Reliability, Maintenance & Installation.
  • Energy Efficiency.

Cast iron, enameled cast iron, non-stick, and most aluminum pots and pans should never be put in the dishwasher. The high water pressure, heat and detergent will remove the necessary oils from cast iron, damage or remove non-stick coatings, chip enamel, and cause discoloration on aluminum.

Run Empty Dishwasher Cycles with Vinegar and Baking Soda

For the first cycle, place a bowl filled with distilled white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher, and run a normal cycle. Then, pour a cup of baking soda into the bottom of the dishwasher and run a second cycle. Now your dishwasher should be odor-free!

It’s best to leave the dishwasher’s door open for a little while after running a cycle, as keeping it shut creates a warm, damp environment that is very comfortable for mould and other microbes.


One more tip to ensure your dishwasher operates optimally: Adjust the temperature to 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. It is insufficient to clean dishes effectively if the water is not at least 120 degrees. To determine your temperature, fill a cup with the hottest tap water possible from the sink closest to the dishwasher. Inside, insert a thermometer and read the temperature. You must adjust your water heater if the temperature is below 120° or above 150°.

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