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How to Clean a Dishwasher in 5 Easy Steps

Cleaning a Dishwasher: The 5-Step Guide

So here it is, the quick and easy 5-step guide to ensuring that your dishwasher stays grime and dirt-free. However, before we jump in, we need to go over a couple of things. Firstly, you will need some equipment (obviously), but the good news is, this equipment is not too expensive or hard to find:

  1. 2 cups of vinegar (preferably white vinegar or apple cider vinegar)

  2. 1 cup of baking soda

  3. A toothbrush

  • To begin, make sure that your dishwasher is completely clean and empty of any dishes.
  • T
    ake a jug or bowl and fill it with the two cups of vinegar, place it on the top rack of your dishwasher and close it over.
    Run a normal dishwasher cycle with no detergent or other dishes. Over the course of the cycle, the chemicals in the vinegar will loosen any dirt or grime in the inside of the washer. 
  • Once the cycle has finished, remove the jug/bowl, pull out the bottom rack and sprinkle your cup of baking soda along the bottom of the washer.

  • Use a toothbrush to loosen up any stubborn stains or pieces of grime, and put the washer on a short hot-water cycle. Once this has finished, your washer should be grime-free and smelling like new.

You can take a few extra measures to ensure that your dishwasher stays clean all the time. For example, cleaning any excess dirt or food after each wash is useful because it prevents a build-up. To do this, you can simply remove the bottom rack, check for leftover food on the base of the washer or in the basket, and use a paper towel to remove it. You can also use some anti-bacterial spray (the one without bleach) to give it a quick once-over too.

Weekly Care

We have established how to clean your dishwasher if you are looking to do it as sparingly as possible, but what if you are on the ball and want to make sure that every week your dishwasher is taken care of?

It is important to keep your dishwasher clean and tidy weekly as well as on a monthly basis. Here are a couple of small measures that you can take to make sure that your dishwasher is kept clean at all times:

Wipe any residue away from handles, buttons or the door. Using a damp cloth to do this is best and will ensure that there is no build-up in places where frequent contact is made.

Remove the filter weekly by pulling out your lower dish rack to expose the filter on the base of the bottom spray arm. Rinse it under hot water and use a toothbrush to scrub the mesh screen and plastic, removing any residue. Once it looks good as new, lock it back into place. Repeat this step weekly to avoid spots and film on your dishes.

If your dishwasher is steel or stainless steel, be sure to give it a polish around the door and handle areas because this is where there will most likely be fingerprints.

Keeping your Dishwasher from Smelling

So you have cleaned your dishwasher, but there is still something there, something that is not quite right. There is a smell lingering, and you don't know what to do. Well, if that is the case, then you are in luck because here is a quick and easy solution that will have our dishwasher smelling of roses in no time:

  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Use the cup of vinegar technique outlined above – vinegar helps to get rid of grease and residue, and it will also help to neutralise food odours.
  • Once you have finished with the vinegar, leave the dishwasher door open for an hour or so. This is a step that many people do not take after they have cleaned, and it can lead to a bad smell building up once again.
  • Here is our top tip – Add a few drops of flavoured essential oil to the vinegar. This will mask the harsh vinegar smell with something pleasant. Essential oils are strong and will give your dishwasher a fantastic new smell.
  • Do this 5-6 times yearly and keep your dishwasher smelling incredible.

Cleaning your Dishwasher Filter and Drain

There is no point in having a squeaky clean dishwasher if the dishwasher drain is dirty. The drain can often get overlooked when it comes to cleaning, and as a result, it can lead to bad smells, your dishwasher becoming dirtier faster, and you have to clean your machine a lot more regularly than you might want to. So, in short, clean your filter and drain too.

The Drain To clean your drain, remove the bottom rack and the filter, and pour a cup of vinegar and baking soda into the basket at the bottom of the appliance. Let the solution sit for 15-20 mins, and then pour hot water into the drain. This should de-clog any debris, or at least loosen it up for it to be cleaned or emptied properly.

The Filter –When you want to clean the filter, it is important to remove it using the manual's instructions. You don't want to remove the filter in the wrong way and damage it. Once removed, wash the filter in the sink and remove any food debris, then fill the sink with 1 cup of bleach, ½ cup of salt, and 2/3 cup of baking soda. Mix it and leave the filter submerged in the solution overnight. The next day, simply remove the filter, place it back in the dishwasher, and put the dishwasher on a hot water cycle with no dishes. This will clean off any excess dirt and ensure that your filter is kept squeaky clean.

Dirty Dishwasher Filter

How Often Should I Clean my Dishwasher?

This is something that is entirely up to you. However, on average, most will suggest you clean your dishwasher once every 4 weeks. Now this will depend on how much you use your dishwasher. If you are using it 2-3 times per day, you may need to clean it every 2-3 weeks, but if you are using it once per day, you should be okay to give it a proper clean once per month.

If you are looking to buy a brand new dishwasher to use these helpful cleaning tips on and still have a few questions, then why not contact your local store, where one of our store assistants would be happy to help you out. Alternatively, call our online sales team, who will gladly assist over the phone!