Cleaning Dishwashers

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated September 18, 2023)

Learning the proper way of cleaning dishwashers does more than simply allow you to have clean dishes. By taking the time to periodically, and regularly, clean your dishwashers the way that they are supposed to be cleaned, you can help prevent all kinds of issues from developing. Some of these issues can be having a musty odor develop, lime scale, stuck on food, or even your dishwasher dying on you. Luckily, cleaning dishwashers properly isn't a very difficult task.

  1. Run the machine. Before you can actually begin to clean your dishwasher in earnest, you need to run it through a complete cycle, though you need to do it empty. This will help wash away as much of the dirt, debris, grime or simply crud that can accumulate along the bottom of most dishwashers over time.
  2. Check the arms. After the cycle has completed, you need to pull out the racks as much as possible, and then begin cleaning the spinning arms. Look closely at the holes and ensure that they are open and free of any gunk. If they are not free, then make them so using the smallest possible tools, and being careful to not damage the holes or gaskets in any way. Repeat the process with each of the holes, on all of the arms. To ensure that you get everything out, you may need to run the machine again.
  3. Clean the edges. Using a green scrubbie or magic eraser cleaning pad, begin cleaning the edges of the dishwasher. Start at the top, and then work your way around and down on both sides. Be sure that you also get the rubber gasket as well. Be sure that you also get under the bottom of the door, where a lot of gunk, and little water, collect.
  4. Look at the bottom. Take the time to look at the bottom of your dishwasher, around the area of the drain. Make sure that the drain is clean and free of any and all debris so that the water can flow unimpeded. If it looks as if anything has gotten through the drain that shouldn't have and gotten stuck, you will need to remove the drain and bottom spinning arm assembly by loosening up the screws. Be very careful that you remember where everything goes so that you can replace it all when you are finished.
  5. Clean the basket. Use a bristled scrub brush and clean the flatware basket. If you are lucky enough to have a basket that comes out, remove it and wash it in your sink using the same methods that you would on a colander. When you are finished, replace the basket.
  6. Run some citrus through. Lime scale can be a bit of a problem for your dishwasher, but luckily there is a rather simple solution to this. Put some Tang, lemonade, or some other citrus based fruit drink powder into the soap dispenser, and then run your dishwasher through a normal complete cycle. This can get rid of most, if not all, lime scale buildup that you may find in your dishwasher.
  7. Run some bleach. Mold can be a very bad thing, and you really don't want it anywhere near your dishwasher. One way to do this is by pouring about a cup of bleach into the dishwasher, and running it on a regular cycle. Use this method very rarely though since bleach can be pretty harsh on most things, such as plastic or rubber.
  8. Run a cycle. Once you have finished cleaning your dishwasher, you need to run it through another complete cycle, though without any detergent or other cleaners. This is more of a rinsing process with some really hot water than anything else. You are simply trying to rinse away any cleaners that may still remain, as well as any debris that you may have missed.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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