How to Keep Your Dishwasher Clean
A dishwasher’s purpose is to clean your dishes, but the appliance itself needs periodic cleaning too. Grease, soap scum, food particles, and other residue can build up, form deposits, and cause the dishwasher to smell. Cleaning a dishwasher is a necessary task, but is quick and effective if you do it systematically. Here are some areas to focus on:
- Door: Use warm water and soap; then wipe the door dry with a soft cloth. For stubborn fingerprints and smudges, use some rubbing alcohol. Even make a homemade cleaning solution with ¼ cup of baking soda mixed with 1 quart of water. Clean the top, sides and, using a small toothbrush, scrub around the edges and in grooves, crevices, and hinges.
- Tub: First, pick up any debris with some paper towels. Most debris can be found in or near the drain. Next, run a cleaning cycle while the dishwasher is empty. Set the water to the highest temperature to disinfect the unit. Wipe the inside of the machine with paper towels or a dry cloth after the cycle is complete.
- Accessories/Parts: After removing the racks and utensil holders, scrub and unclog the spray arm with a small brush. Then follow the appliance’s manual to clean the filter. A removable filter can be run under hot water. Don’t forget to clean the surface under the filter too. A damp paper towel or a toothbrush is effective here.
- Rust Stains: Rust can get in your dishwasher from the pipes and water source. Use a rust-removing detergent by adding it to the soap dispenser cup. Also, sprinkle a small amount on the bottom of the appliance. Then run a cleaning cycle while it is empty. Repeat the process as necessary, or until the problem is addressed at its source.
- Hard Water/Mineral Buildup: These deposits come from the water but can smudge and splatter all over your dishwasher. Hard water and mineral deposits can be cleaned with lemon juice. Add the juice to the top rack or basket, and then run a normal cycle. It can remove hard water spots, minerals, and even iron deposits.
How to Clean a Smelly Dishwasher
The most common causes of foul odors are leftover food particles and bacteria that thrive in moist, warm environments. You can prevent bad odors by wiping excess food off plates, bowls, and silverware before loading them. If a musty odor has taken over:
- Leave the door ajar while running the rinse-only cycle, allowing air to circulate.
- Add a cup of white vinegar to the upper rack and run the hot-water cycle.
- Spread a cup of baking soda across the bottom and run a short hot water cycle.
How to Clean a Clogged Dishwasher
If the unit is clogged, take out the bottom dish rack and remove food or gunk from the drain. You can even pour a solution of baking soda and vinegar down the bottom basket. A clear drain will prevent damage and increase the dishwasher’s efficiency. Hard materials not only clog the drain but can damage the pump and your dishes.
How to Clean a Stainless Steel Dishwasher
Fingerprints, dirt, and smudges can cover a stainless-steel surface if it’s not cleaned properly. Wipe them away with a stainless-steel cleaner but avoid abrasive cleaners or pads. They can scratch the exterior. The right cleaner can repel dirt, so your dishwasher remains clean and shiny.