How To Clean A Dishwasher The RIGHT Way

Need to know how to clean a dishwasher? If you’re like hundreds of thousands of homeowners, you probably take your dishwasher for granted.

After all – it’s really easy to take something for granted when it works flawlessly for you – day in and day out. The dishwasher is probably the top appliance that isn’t given the respect that it rightly deserves.

It will probably feel weird cleaning something that is primarily designed to clean, but it’s a job that must be done. In a perfect world, you would never have to clean this appliance, and it would continue to spit out clean dishes every time you use it – but we don’t live in a perfect world!

how to clean dishwasher

Filled With Gunk

Over time, you’ll start to notice it filling up with gunk. This is especially true if you use it often. Soap scum, grease and leftover food are some of the top culprits.

You don’t want your dishwasher to start smelling like a sewer. To clean this appliance, you have several methods at your disposal. Some are conventional while others are unconventional. Let’s take a look at each method.

Cleaning With Borax

A common myth is that baking soda and Borax is the same thing. Borax is actually sodium borate, and baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Fortunately, it’s really easy to clean with Borax. It’s a naturally occurring substance, so you’ll find it’s quite cheap.

To clean with this substance, grab a damp sponge and scrub the inside door and bottom floor of the dishwasher really good. You can rinse the Borax away with a damp rag.

Finish the job by adding ¼ a cup of Borax to the bottom of the dishwasher when you run your next cycle. Don’t worry – it’s safe to have dishes in there during this final part of the process.

You should also make sure to add the regular detergent. The additional Borax will remove spots from glasses and make sure your dishwasher smells fabulous.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Did you know that vinegar is an extremely useful liquid? In fact – it’s one of the most versatile liquids known. There is a reason why it’s recommended for countless home remedies.

It also happens to clean extremely well. Vinegar is regularly used for cleaning, killing weeds and cooking. Combine vinegar with baking soda, and you will have a VERY powerful cleaning substance.

Before using this method, go ahead and take the machine’s filter out and allow it to soak for 15 minutes in soapy water. After putting the filter back in, pour about one cup of vinegar all over the bottom of the machine.

Next, put the machine on the ‘heavy’ cleaning cycle setting. After the cycle has ran, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda onto the bottom of the machine and let it sit overnight. In the morning, run another ‘heavy’ cleaning cycle. That should do the trick.

Cleaning With Bleach

Either you love it or hate – but bleach is a fantastic sodium-based cleaning agent. Its chemical name is sodium hypochlorite. You’ll find that this is the active chemical found in most bottles of bleach.

It’s important to understand that bleach can damage stainless steel, so if the interior of your dishwasher is made from this metal, just skip this method of cleaning. What many homeowners love about bleach is the fact that it works very well for killing off mold.

If there is persistent mold in your dishwasher, place about one cup of bleach inside on the top rack and run the dishwasher on the hottest setting.

Cleaning With Tang

Yes – you read that right! An unconventional form of cleaning involves the use of Tang, which is a popular beverage. Also known as the main ingredient in Kool-Aid, Tang can help when you start noticing your dishwasher is leaving chunks of crap on the dishes.

It’s great for removing hard water deposits. You’ll want to start by running your water faucet until it becomes hot. Next, start the dishwasher cycle and allow it to run for a few minutes.

Stop the dishwasher and add some Tang to the machine’s detergent bin. If you happen to have a 20 oz. container of tang, you can sprinkle the rest of the powder onto the bottom of the dishwasher. Run the machine for a full cycle and become wowed by the cleaning power and fresh smell of Kool-Aid!

Additional Tips

You should try to remove and unclog the spray arms occasionally. If you can’t do it yourself, try to have a relative or similar do it for you.

Over time, the spray arms become clogged with deposits, and if they’re clogged, it will greatly reduce the cleaning power of your dishwasher. After they’re removed, you can soak the spray arms in white vinegar, which should do the trick.

It’s a good idea to clean the entire inside of your dishwasher at least once per month. Another great tip is to use a toothbrush to clean the door and seals. Make sure to use the toothbrush of someone in the family you don’t like for this job.

A wet sponge will work well to soak up the crud that is loosened by the brush. The soap cup should also be cleaned as it’s notorious for accumulating unwanted soap residue.

As a bonus tip – try out Lemi Shine and see how it works for your appliances. There is a good chance it will significantly improve the performance of your dishwasher.