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How to Deep Clean a Dishwasher

How to deep clean a dishwasher yourself
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If you’re lucky enough to have a dishwasher in your kitchen, you already know how practical and time-saving it can be. Dishwashers are a great way to clean daily dishes with less elbow grease, and these days, they come with all kinds of cool bonus features, like the sanitizing function.

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Whether you use your dishwasher daily, weekly or during big events like a family function or dinner party, it does a lot of heavy lifting. So don’t you want to keep yours clean and working efficiently? Read on for everything you need to know about deep cleaning a dishwasher, from why it’s important to how often you should do it.

Why Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?

If your dishwasher does the cleaning, why does it need to be cleaned? Well, food particles, grease and even soap scum can build up within, affecting the way the appliance does its job. If you fail to clean your dishwasher regularly, it can clog, become ineffective or start smelling.

Think of all the leftover gunk and germs that dishwashers can store. Sure, lots of it drains away, but stuff always stays behind and can lead to gross germs.

Related: This Is the Best Way to Clean Your Kitchen Sink Drain

How to deep clean a dishwasher yourself
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How Often Should You Deep Clean a Dishwasher?

How often you deep clean a dishwasher depends on how often you use it, but a good rule of thumb is once a month or every four weeks. If you use your dishwasher a lot and tend to throw dishes in “as-is” (without rinsing or prewashing them), you should probably do a deep clean more often than that.

Related: 10 Smart Ways to Clean Your Kitchen With Lemon Juice

How Do You Clean a Dishwasher?

Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to thoroughly clean a dishwasher — the machine itself even helps, thanks to today’s technology. Here are a few steps to follow:

Clean Out the Filter

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Open your empty dishwasher and pull out the bottom rack to access the filter/strainer. Clear away any debris and remove it following the manufacturer’s instructions. Clean the filter under running water using a small sponge or a toothbrush and dish soap.

Wipe Out the Interior

Use a sponge or dishcloth to wipe out the inside walls and door of the dishwasher. Don’t forget to scrub the racks and the door seal, where unexpected gunk can land, as well as additional parts like the detergent dispenser and utensil holder.

How to deep clean a dishwasher yourself
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Clear Out the Spray Arms

The spray arms, where water emerges to clean those dishes, can also get blocked. Locate them and ensure they’re free and clear. If necessary, remove those arms and rinse them under the sink faucet. Next, scrub and clear all of those tiny slots in the dishwasher where water sprays, ensuring the machine can function at its best.

Clean the Door

If you’re cleaning the inside of your dishwasher, you’ll probably want to clean the outside, too. To keep the appliance sparkling, wipe down the outside with a cleaner or a homemade mixture of vinegar and baking soda.

Related: 15 Things You Should Be Cleaning With Baking Soda

How to deep clean a dishwasher yourself
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Run Your Dishwasher

Once you’ve put the racks back in, run your dishwasher. If it has a special cleaning cycle, use that; otherwise, a standard wash should do just fine. Or, if you’d prefer to give your dishwasher an extra deep clean that also deodorizes it, put a dishwasher-safe bowl with one cup of vinegar at the bottom of the appliance. Run a hot water cycle, and you’re done!

If you’ve got stains, you could also do a second, quick-wash cycle after the vinegar cycle. This time, dust the bottom with a cup of baking soda and then run a quick-wash cycle.

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One last note: never use bleach in your dishwasher. It can ruin your appliance.

Related: How to Deep Clean Your Oven

How to deep clean a dishwasher yourself
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How Do You Keep a Dishwasher Cleaner for Longer?

If you want to minimize gunky buildup inside your dishwasher and go longer in between deep cleans, there are a few things you can do. Before loading dishes, ensure you’re scraping off all excess food and rinsing dishes lightly. The less residue on plates and other tableware, the better (although a full cleaning isn’t necessary before loading).

It’s also important to load your dishwasher correctly and not overload it. If there are too many dishes, water cannot properly circulate, which can create clogs.

If your dishwasher has a self-cleaning cycle, use it every few weeks to help kill bacteria in between deep cleans. If your appliance doesn’t have this cycle, you can buy a specific dishwasher cleaning solution to use instead.

 

 



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