How to Clean Dishwasher: A Comprehensive DIY Guide

Welcome to our in-depth guide that will walk you through how to clean dishwasher. Keeping your dishwasher clean is essential not only for its optimal performance but also for ensuring hygienic results.

This comprehensive article will give you a thorough and easy-to-follow step-by-step process to effectively clean your dishwasher, allowing it to stay in top condition. We will explore the importance of regular dishwasher cleaning and share practical techniques to address common issues that may arise. By following our expert tips, you can achieve sparkling results and enjoy a fresh-smelling dishwasher effortlessly.

Get ready to discover the secrets of maintaining a clean and efficient dishwasher that will make your daily kitchen chores a breeze. Let’s dive in!


Why Cleaning Your Dishwasher Matters

Why Cleaning Your Dishwasher Matters
Cre: The Home Depot

Cleaning your dishwasher regularly is of utmost importance for several reasons. Let’s delve into why keeping your dishwasher clean matters:

Preventing Clogs: Over time, food particles, soap residue, and mineral deposits can accumulate in your dishwasher, leading to clogs in the drainage system. Regular cleaning helps prevent these clogs, ensuring proper water flow and drainage.

Removing Food Debris: Dishwashers are designed to clean your dishes but can also accumulate food debris. If left unchecked, these particles can cause unpleasant odors, affect the cleanliness of your dishes, and even lead to mold or bacterial growth. Cleaning your dishwasher removes these food residues, maintaining its performance and hygiene.

Eliminating Bacteria: Warm and moist environments like dishwashers can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Cleaning and sanitizing your dishwasher eliminates harmful bacteria, ensuring your dishes are clean and safe.

Enhancing Efficiency: A clean dishwasher operates more efficiently. Water can circulate effectively when the interior is free from residue and buildup, allowing for better cleaning performance. An efficient dishwasher consumes less energy and water, resulting in cost savings and environmental benefits.

Optimize Operation: Regular dishwasher cleaning ensures longevity, optimal performance, and hygienic operation. You can enjoy spotless dishes, eliminate unpleasant odors, and maintain a healthy kitchen environment by cleaning your dishwasher.


How to Clean Dishwasher Effortlessly and Efficiently?

You know that feeling when you open your dishwasher, see a pile of dirty dishes, and sigh? It’s not fun. But it doesn’t have to be like that. You can clean your dishwasher easily — and here’s how.

Step 1: Preparation

Tools and Materials Needed

How to Clean Your Dishwasher
Cre: The Spruce

Before diving into the cleaning process, gather the following tools and materials:

  • Dishwashing detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Soft-bristle brush or toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Safety gloves

Safety Precautions

Take necessary safety precautions, such as turning off the power supply to the dishwasher. Wearing rubber gloves during dishwasher cleaning is highly recommended to ensure safety and protect your hands from cleaning agents and debris.

Empty the Dishwasher and Remove any Dishes or Utensils

Removing the dishwasher racks, utensil holders, and filter is essential to clean the hard-to-reach areas thoroughly.

Prepare a solution by combining warm water with 1 cup of white distilled vinegar in a container. Place these components in the mixture and allow them to soak for at least 30 minutes. This soaking process will help to loosen and dissolve any built-up grime or residue.

Step 2: Cleaning the Interior

The inside of your dishwasher is where most of the cleaning takes place. It’s also where food particles, detergent, and mineral deposits can build up. The good news is that you can easily clean this area yourself.

Learn how to clean the inside of your dishwasher with the following three steps:

  • Scrub the interior walls, racks, and spray arms with warm water and dishwashing detergent. Use a soft brush to remove stains and buildup effectively.
  • Check and clean the filter to ensure proper water flow. Take out the filter and rinse it to eliminate trapped debris.
  • Clean the spray arms by removing them from the dishwasher and soaking them in vinegar and water. Use a small brush to clean any clogs or residue. Avoid using sharp metal objects that may cause damage to the dishwasher’s spray arms. After cleaning, carefully reinstall the spray arms back into their designated positions.

Step 3: Tackling Odor Issues

Tackling Odor Issues of the Dishwasher
Cre: Appliance Doctors

If you notice an unpleasant odor coming from your dishwasher (we’ve all been there!), there are a few things that may be causing it.

First, identify familiar sources of dishwasher odors, such as food particles, mold, or mineral buildup.

Then run a vinegar cycle by putting a cup of white vinegar on the top rack and run a hot water cycle. This helps eliminate odor-causing bacteria.

Consider using dishwasher-safe freshening agents, such as citrus peels or dishwasher cleaning tablets, to maintain a pleasant smell.

Tips: Adding dishwashing detergent to the cycle during a vinegar rinse is unnecessary. The vinegar itself will effectively mix with the water, creating a powerful cleaning solution.

Step 4: Paying Attention to Seals and Gaskets

The seals and gaskets on your dishwasher are the first line of defense against leaks. They’re also one of the most critical parts of the appliance, as they keep water from leaking out of the machine.

The seals and gaskets don’t last forever, though, so they’ll eventually need to be replaced. If you ignore them, they can cause severe damage to your dishwasher and make it even harder to clean. If you spot damage or wear, consult the manufacturer for replacement options.

Otherwise, inspect and clean the door seals and gaskets regularly. You just need a damp cloth to remove debris or residue, ensuring a tight seal.

Step 5: Cleaning the Exterior

No matter what kind of appliance you have, keeping it clean on the outside is important. You don’t want to be embarrassed by an unclean dishwasher and don’t want your guests to think you’re a slob. Here are some easy steps to keep your dishwasher looking good.

  • Wipe down the dishwasher door and control panel using a microfiber cloth and mild detergent. Pay attention to any buildup or stains and ensure a thorough cleaning.
  • Use a stainless steel cleaner and a soft cloth to restore its shine and remove fingerprints from stainless steel exteriors.

Step 6: Verify Your Dishwasher Temperature Settings

Verify Dishwasher Temperature Settings
Cre: Finish

It is essential to have hot enough water to clean your dishes effectively. Here’s another valuable tip to ensure the optimal performance of your dishwasher.

Adjust the temperature settings to a range of 120°F–150°F. Fill a cup with the hottest tap water from the nearest sink to your dishwasher to test the water temperature.

Insert a thermometer into the cup and read the temperature. If it falls below 120°F or exceeds 150°F, you’ll need to adjust your water heater. Maintaining the right temperature will ensure that your dishwasher delivers sparkling clean dishes every time.


Dishwasher Maintenance Tips

Once you’ve learned how to clean the dishwasher, you’ll experience numerous benefits. Not only will your dishwasher smell fresher and look cleaner, but it will also become more effective at cleaning your dishes.

Removing residue allows the soap and water to spray through the appliance at full strength, resulting in sparkling clean dishes. If you notice any lingering food particles on your dishes after a wash cycle, it’s a sign that your dishwasher may need a deep clean.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for regular maintenance practices, such as descaling and cleaning the spray arms.
  • Avoid overloading the dishwasher, which can impact its performance and cleaning results.
  • Consider using rinse aids and dishwasher-safe cleaning products to enhance the dishwasher’s efficiency.
  • To prolong the lifespan of your door seals and prevent the buildup of mold and odors, leaving the dishwasher door slightly ajar whenever possible is beneficial. While this may not always be convenient, allowing air to circulate helps maintain a fresh interior. Some dishwasher models even have the feature of automatically opening the door after the cycle to enhance drying performance.
  • Opt for high-quality dishwasher detergents to achieve optimal cleaning results. These superior cleaners remove dirt and grime and minimize the risk of leaving detergent residue behind.
  • Using Affresh can be an excellent alternative for dishwashers without a sanitizing cycle. Affresh is a foaming tablet designed to combat residue and dishwasher detergent buildup. Simply use it with a regular cycle to maintain a clean and efficient dishwasher. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for optimal results.

By incorporating these cleaning practices, you’ll enjoy a fresh and compelling dishwasher for years.


How Frequently Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?

How Frequently Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?
Cre: The Spruce

The frequency of cleaning your dishwasher depends on your usage. If you run a load every day, here are the recommended cleaning tasks:

  • After every load: Remove visible food particles from the filter well and bottom of the dishwasher.
  • Weekly: Wipe down the door edges and gasket to remove any debris and clean the filter.
  • As needed: Wipe the exterior, edges, and interior to remove drips, spots, and film.

It’s recommended to clean the interior of your dishwasher deep every three months or as needed for optimal performance. Additionally, if your dishwasher has a self-cleaning sanitizing cycle, running it monthly can eliminate 99.9% of bacteria and food soil left behind by regular wash cycles.

By following these cleaning routines, you can ensure that your dishwasher stays in optimal condition and continues to provide you with sparkling clean dishes. Remember, regular maintenance is vital to prolonging the lifespan of your dishwasher and maintaining its efficiency.



What is the best dishwasher in the market?

Currently, the market offers a diverse selection of quality dishwasher options. These include traditional built-in models, portable dishwashers that easily connect to your sink, and compact devices specifically designed for smaller spaces. With such a diverse selection, you can choose the perfect dishwasher that suits your needs and kitchen layout.
Check out our article for a detailed comparison of top dishwasher brands available in the Philippines market. We provide insightful information to help you decide based on your specific needs.

What are the signs that your dishwasher needs cleaning?

Look out for indicators such as:
– Unpleasant odors
– Visible residue or buildup on dishes
– Food buildup in the filter
– Reduced cleaning efficiency
– Clogged spray arms
– Dirty cutlery and crockery
– Clogged or slow drainage
– Cloudy glassware
– Rusting inside the machine
– Unusual noises
– Mold or mildew growth
If you notice any of these signs, cleaning your dishwasher promptly is essential to ensure optimal performance and hygienic results. Regular maintenance and cleaning will extend your dishwasher’s lifespan of your dishwasher and keep it functioning at its best.

What are some effective cleaning products for maintaining a clean dishwasher?

In most cases, you can use soapy water or an all-purpose cleaner. Remember to avoid abrasive materials that could cause damage. Checking the manual provides valuable insights on suggested cleaning agents and tips for optimal performance.
White vinegar, baking soda, and dishwasher cleaning tablets are popular choices. These products help remove stains, eliminate odors, and keep your dishwasher in optimal condition.

Is bleach safe to clean your dishwasher?

Using bleach to clean your dishwasher can effectively eliminate stubborn stains, mold, and mildew from the interior. However, it is important to note that this method is unsuitable for dishwashers with stainless steel components.



how to clean dishwasher
Cre: CNN

Regularly cleaning and maintaining your dishwasher is crucial for its efficient performance and longevity. With our comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to clean a dishwasher, you can achieve sparkling results and a hygienic dish environment.

Follow safety precautions, use suitable cleaning products, and adhere to manufacturer guidelines for optimal results. By giving your dishwasher the care it deserves, you can bid farewell to tedious handwashing and embrace the convenience of a clean and well-maintained dishwasher.

Remember, a well-maintained dishwasher ensures clean dishes and enhances convenience and efficiency in your daily routine. So, get ready to show your dishwasher the care it deserves. Your sparkling dishes and your future self will thank you!

Other articles on our CLEANING series:


Karyn is an IIN Health Coach certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition since 2021, with a passion for cooking and exercise, especially yoga. She brings her expertise in Nutrition and Fitness to Hometoppicks, leading both the Kitchen and Home Gym sections to provide credible product recommendations. Karyn is committed to guiding readers on their healthy living journey with her expert tips and trusted product suggestions. You can find more about her here.

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