Dishwashers stay pretty clean, but food, detergent, and mineral scale can slowly build up throughout the machine. If you notice some lingering smells, or your dishes aren’t getting as clean as they used to, then it’s time to tune up your dishwasher with some simple supplies—and maybe even a powdered dishwasher cleaner. Here is a simple guide on how to clean your dishwasher.
What you need:
- Dishwasher detergent and rinsing agent
- Rubber gloves
- Wash rag
- Dish soap
- Your dishwasher manual (may need to locate a PDF online)
To perform a basic cleaning, plan to spend five to 10 minutes, plus two hours for a dishwashing cycle, if needed. If your dishwasher requires a deeper clean, plan for an hour.
Clean the filter
You may need to clean your dishwasher’s filter as seldom as once a year, but Maids 2 Match Allen TX recommends this be done as often as every few weeks because frequent use, starchy foods, and hard water all contribute to a gunky filter, so it really can vary. When the performance drops off or the dishwasher gets stinky, that’s your cue to grab some gloves and take a look.
Filter designs can vary. The dominant design is a cylinder seated in flat mesh at the bottom of the tub, so that’s the type we’ll cover here.
Roll the bottom rack out of the way and twist the cylinder-shaped filter until it comes loose (usually a quarter-turn).
While you’re down there, you might spot some bones, pits, leafy greens, twist ties, or even glass. Carefully lift away both parts of the filter and dump any debris into the trash.
Then rinse the filter under running water. The cylinder may have a gooey, starchy film, and a few drops of dish soap can help break that up. Most dishwasher manufacturers don’t recommend scrubbing the cylinder because doing so might damage the ultra-fine mesh—though a few manufacturers say that soft bristles (like those on some toothbrushes) are okay to use.
Make sure to reinstall the filter properly. Otherwise, debris can slip into the sump and clog the machine.
Clean the rim and outside
Debris along the rubber door gasket—and any part of the dishwasher that touches it—can leave small gaps for water to leak through, so wipe off the gasket whenever you notice it’s dirty. A soft, damp cleaning cloth is usually fine on its own. But for stubborn soils, you can add a few drops of dishwashing liquid.
You will want to do the same for the outside of the dishwasher. If your dishwasher is made of stainless steel, you will also want to use a stainless steal cleaner for the outside of the dishwasher.
Run a self-clean, if needed
Each dishwasher manufacturer recommends something a little different (and it’s best to follow a manufacturer’s instructions), but the common thread is to use an acid. A couple of brands recommend white vinegar, one says that lemon juice works, others suggest citric acid, and some suggest store-bought dishwasher cleaners (which use citric acid as a primary ingredient). Your manual will usually recommend using the cleaner in a load with no dishes, at the highest temperature setting, but the other details can vary.
And that’s it, your dishwasher should be back to new and running efficiently.