Dishwashers can feel like absolute life savers with how they remove the need for doing hours of washing up by hand. You can just pop all your dishes and cutlery in the dishwasher, and then they come out all clean and shiny in no time at all.
However, dishwashers can also seem like the bane of our lives when they start to churn out dirty dishes instead of clean ones. When this begins to happen, it’s usually because bits of food, grease and washing tablets get stuck and clog up your dishwasher. This is usually a sure sign that it’s time to give the appliance a good clean.
How do you clean a dishwasher? Well, this article will tell you the best ways you can clean your dishwasher so it can go back to doing the dishes for you!
Deep Clean Your Dishwasher
Every so often, probably about once a month, it’s going to be time to give your dishwasher a thorough deep clean. It’s essential you do this to keep your dishwasher presenting you with freshly cleaned dishes, as well as helping to prevent it from completely breaking down.
It doesn’t have to be as difficult of a chore as you’re expecting at all! Below is a simple method you can follow to give your dishwasher a deep clean:
Step 1: How to Clean the Dishwasher filter and Empty Drain
- Make sure the dishwasher is completely empty
- Remove the bottom rack
- Take out the filter and remove any bits of food
- Get a toothbrush (preferably one you don’t use on your teeth!) and use it to scrub the filter to get rid of those stubborn bits of grease and food
- Soak the filter in warm soapy water for about 10 minutes
- Whilst it’s soaking, check the dishwasher drain for any bits of food or other residue and remove them
- Once the filter is clean, put it back in the dishwasher
Step 2: How to Clean Dishwasher with Vinegar
- Make sure the dishwasher is still completely empty and that the bottom rack is not in there
- In a dishwasher-proof bowl, measure out two cups of distilled white vinegar
- Place it on the top rack of the dishwasher
- Turn the dishwasher on for one wash cycle without any tablets or detergent
The reason why vinegar is so good for cleaning your dishwasher is because it’s extremely sanitizing. It washes away loose bits of food and limescale, and also helps to get rid of any unpleasant smells your dishwasher has.
Step 3: How to Clean Dishwasher with Baking Soda
- Take the bowl of vinegar out of the dishwasher
- Sprinkle baking soda all around the bottom of the dishwasher
- Put the dishwasher on for one wash cycle on the hottest temperature
The baking soda helps to remove any stains in your dishwasher, whilst helping to give it a general freshen up!
Step 4: Final touches
- If there are still some stains in your dishwasher, use the toothbrush method (as mentioned for cleaning the filter) to get rid of these stubborn stains
- Wipe away any grime that might be on the top of the dishwasher door
Keeping Your Dishwasher Clean
So, now you know how to give your dishwasher a deep clean, it’s important that you know how to keep it clean to reduce the number of times you have to give it such a huge cleanse.
Below are some extra little tips on things you should do to keep your dishwasher nice and fresh!
- Remove Bits of Food
Something that will help to keep your dishwasher clean in the long term is to make you sure you remove any bits of food from your dishwasher after every single use. This prevents there from being a build-up of food that can clog up your dishwasher, and so should help limit the number of times you need to give your dishwasher a big, deep clean.
All it involves is using your hands to take it out. Pop some rubber gloves on if you’re not keen on the idea of picking up food!
- Rinse Filter Regularly
Your dishwasher should have a filter in it. If you’re not sure where it is then simply google it, searching for your specific make and model of dishwasher. Or, if you still have it, check the manual!
This filter needs to be emptied and cleaned weekly. It won’t take you long to do at all but will make such a huge difference in keeping your dishwasher clean.
- Polish the Door
Whilst the most important thing is keeping the inside of your dishwasher clean, it’s also good to have the outside of the dishwasher looking nice and fresh!
So, a good idea is to polish the door on a weekly basis, or whenever it starts looking a bit grubby. If you have a stainless-steel dishwasher door then it’ll probably get dirty quite often, with fingerprints showing easily on it!
You can find all sorts of cleaner that will be tailored to the material your door is made of (e.g., glass or stainless-steel cleaners). Alternatively, you can just use some good quality antibacterial wipes!
- Clean the Washer Arms
You know those funny arms at the bottom of your dishwasher that look a little like wind-screen wipers? Well, these are the spray arms that play a key role in helping your dishwasher to work properly.
They have little holes in them, and if these become blocked it can be one of the factors that causes your dishwasher to stop working.
So, every six weeks or so you should remove these spray arms, get rid any bits of food or debris blocking the holes, and give them a good wash.
- Replace Salt
Most dishwashers should have something called a softener unit found at the bottom of the dishwasher, probably next to the filter.
The softener unit is for putting salt in, which is needed for helping to soften hard water in order to prevent limescale from building up.
You should replace the salt every 6 or 8 weeks (or just whenever it runs out).
You can get proper dishwasher salt aids from most supermarkets!
- Regularly run the dishwasher empty
Something else that will help keep your dishwasher smelling fresh, is to do a regular empty wash on a hot temperature setting.
So, make sure the dishwasher is completely empty and put it through a wash cycle. This helps you to maintain a fresh, pleasant smelling dishwasher and will reduce the number of times you need to do a deep cleanse.
Image credit: Cottonbro