Keep your house in tip-top shape. Learn How to Clean a Dishwasher

Last week I shared on Instagram and Facebook that I was cleaning my dishwasher.

Seems cleaning a dishwasher peeks a lot of interest! lol

The days are finally getting longer, the sun is warm and the trees are filled with chirping birds.  Signs of Spring always get me in a mood to do some Spring cleaning!

How to clean a dishwasher

How to Clean a Dishwasher with Vinegar:


It might sound odd to “clean the dishwasher”.  After all, you are using it to clean dishes, so you would think the dishwasher would say clean as well, right? Wrong!  You need to clean your dishwasher periodically to keep it running efficiently and smelling fresh!

What I do is pretty simple. The directions might look involved, but really, it’s very easy.

What you need to clean a dishwasher:

Distilled White Vinegar

Baking Soda

Old soft toothbrush, q-tips, toothpicks

Soft cloth

Paper towels

cleaning a dishwasher

Steps to clean a dishwasher:

  • Start with an empty dishwasher.
  • Fill one side of kitchen sink with distilled white vinegar water (I just dump, but I would say 1-2 cups of vinegar with a half full sink of water)
  • Remove the utensil holders and racks. Wipe them down checking  for stuck-on food bits and debris in the bottom of washer.
  • Remove and disassemble the arm and grate and filter, if you have one, from the floor of the dishwasher (I remove all parts that I can remove by hand).  Place in sink to wipe down with damp rag and vinegar water.  Make sure the holes that spray the water out on the blades are clear of tiny bits of food, you can use a toothpick to clear them if necessary.
  • Using paper towels, remove debris and food gunk (I’ve even found hair??) .
  • Use a damp rag that’s been wet with vinegar water to wipe down inside and edges of door, use a toothbrush or q-tip to get in tiny places. *if you are having trouble removing some gunk, try using a soft toothbrush and a baking soda paste.
  • Reassemble and replace all parts.
  • Clean garbage disposal.  Click here to read how I clean my drains with vinegar and baking soda.  Then run the garbage disposal and dump a cup of ice cubes down while it’s running, to help remove any debris in the garbage disposal.
  • Add 2 cups of white vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher and turn it on to Energy or Low Wash. Stop the machine in mid-wash, so the vinegar can set on the bottom and work. Let it stand for about 20 minutes, then turn on to finish cycle. (sometimes I will let it sit over night, and turn it back on to finish when I get up)
  •  When done, wipe out the inside with dry paper towels.
  • Don’t forget to wipe down the outside while you’re at it.  Depending on the type of dishwasher you have,  spray the front of your dishwasher with a mild spray cleaner or stainless steel cleaner.
  • step back and enjoy your clean dishwasher!

cleaning dishwasher

I’ve heard you can clean your dishwasher with a packet of Lemonade Kool-Aid .  I have not tried this, but would love to hear if anyone has.

Since we have hard water, I use Lemi-Shine in most cycles to help cut down on hard water build up on my dishes and my machine.

As far as detergent goes, I usually buy what ever is on sale or what I have a coupon for, although I’ve heard Finish is supposed to be the best.  What dish washing detergent do you use?

I put the instructions on how to clean a dishwasher into a free printable for you.  Just click the picture then use your browser print option to  print.

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