Here are step-by-step instructions and helpful tips for how to clean a dishwasher.
Why clean a dishwasher?
Don’t be tricked into thinking that because a dishwasher’s job is to clean, that means that the appliance naturally stays clean. Dishwashers often accumulate food particles, grease and soap scum. It also offers a dark, warm and moist environment, filled with rotting food, that allows bacteria to thrive. So not only does a dirty dishwasher look and smell unsightly, they’re also unhygienic and inefficient. Fortunately, a monthly clean can help dirty dishwashers look and work like brand new machines. Here's how to clean a dishwasher.
1. Clean the tub
You don’t need expensive products or intricate methods to get the job done – a DIY dishwasher cleaner works just as well.
Step 1: Clear the drain and scrub the filter
Remove the bottom dish rack and remove any food particles from the base of the dishwasher. You'll find most of the debris around the drain. For a more extensive clean, remove the internal filter and give it a light scrub under hot running water. This will stop grime from penetrating deeper into your appliance and help your dishwasher clean for effectively. Check your manual for instructions on how best to remove and reinstall it.
Step 2: Add vinegar
Instead of chemical-heavy, commercial-grade cleaners, you can refresh your dishwasher naturally and affordably with vinegar. In an empty dishwasher, place a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container (like a mug) in the top rack of the machine. Run a hot-water cycle. This process acts as a descaler, removing limescale, smelly odours and muck as well as reversing discolouration.
Step 3: Sprinkle baking soda
Another way to clean your dishwasher naturally is to sprinkle baking soda or bicarb soda around the base of your dishwasher. Run a shot, hot cycle. This will leave your dishwasher sparkling and stain-free.
2. Clean the door
Keep your dishwasher looking shiny and fingerprint-free by wiping it with warm, soapy water. To remove built-up grime, use a homemade solution of one quarter of a cup of baking soda and one litre of water and gentle scrub the surface. Glass cleaner works wonders in removing fingerprints on stainless steel.
3. Clean the seals
Crud can quickly build up around dishwasher seals leading to deterioration. Every month, use a small toothbrush dipped in hot soapy water to clean out the grooves and crevices, including the hinges. Run a damp cloth over any remaining cleaning solution.
4. Clean the accessories
It’s also important to regularly clean the racks and utensil holders. Wipe off any stuck-on food particles or other debris. Scrub the spray arm with a soft brush or toothbrush to remove clogs.
To make your monthly clean a little easier, there are a number of habits you can practice each day when using your dishwasher.
- Scrape and bin large chunks of food before putting your dishes into the dishwasher. That way you’re not picking these bit out of the filter down the track.
- Leave the dishwasher door ajar when possible. This will help air out the machine reduce mould and odours.