Cleaning out your dishwasher. It almost seems counter intuitive, doesn’t it? Cleaning a cleaning machine? Shouldn’t it be cleaning itself as it cleans your dishes? Well, yes and no. But mostly no.
There are parts of a dishwasher that need your tender love and care to keep it clean. And it honestly doesn’t really take all the much effort to clean your dishwasher out, make it like new, and keep it that way.
Before you begin you’ll want to go ahead and prep a couple things…
- Rubber gloves
- A solution of hot water and soap
- Run the dishwasher empty
- Turn off your machine and unplug it
Now that you have all that stuff taken care of, the real work can begin.
Cleaning Your Dishwasher
Step 1: Remove Stuff
Okay, so your dishwasher is shut off and waiting to be cleaned. Go ahead and remove everything that you can. Remove the racks and any other small parts.
Step 2: Clean the Stuff
Once you have emptied your dishwasher, use your hot water and soap solution to clean everything you pulled out.
This shouldn’t be very difficult and you shouldn’t have to spend very much time on this at all. Pretty much everything you pull out of a dishwasher should be non-stick and coated. With just a little bit of your soap and hot water you should be able to clean all this stuff in a couple minutes.
Look in the small holes on the rotator arms and make sure there is nothing stuck inside of them. If there is anything blocking them up, it will cause problems with the dishwasher’s ability to clean the dishes and itself. No good!
If you find anything blocking up the rotator arm holes, you can use toothpicks or tweezers to remove it.
Step 3: Clean the Inside of the Dishwasher
Now everything is out of the dishwasher you’ll want to clean the inside out.
First, just go ahead and wipe down the inside with hot water and a microfibre cloth. If there are any recessed or protruding areas within, make sure that food, detergent, and other debris hasn’t gathered there.
For anything inside that has caused buildup, like caked-on food near the door and hinge area, you can use a sponge scrubber to wipe it away.
Step 4: Remove and Clean Filter
With the inside of the dishwasher well wiped and scrubbed, it’s time to remove the filters. Clean off any debris or food and soak everything in hot water with soap to remove any remaining grease.
Step 5: Replace Everything, Run Dishwasher
Replace all the different parts you removed from the dishwasher. Make sure to rinse everything in clean water before replacing in the dishwasher.
Now that everything is put back together, run a short cycle.
As your dishwasher runs, you can clean and wipe down the exterior of the machine. Remove any spills or stains on the dishwasher door or the surface of the control panel.
Stay Proactive To Keep Your Dishwasher in Tip Top Shape
The best way to keep your dishwasher clean is to be proactive with doing the little things moving forward.
What are the little things, you ask? Good question.
Clean Your Plates
Make sure you are rinsing off food from your plates. I know it’s a pain taking those extra 5 to 10 steps to the trashcan and swiping all the food inside (heavens forbid you have to lift a lid) but it will definitely aid your dishwasher in several ways.
First, your dishwasher will be able to get the dishes more clean if it doesn’t have to battle food stuck to plates.
Secondly, the dishwasher will be able to clean everything better with fewer large pieces food getting trapped and tossed around inside during the cycle. The filters and rotating arms are more apt to clog (more quickly too) if there is loose food inside. This will disrupt the machine’s ability to clean properly.
Let Your Dishwasher Dry Out
Bacteria and mold LOVE warm, moist environments. By allowing your dishwasher to completely dry out after every cycle, you make the area less welcoming to unwelcomed growths.
Run An Empty Cycle
It’s not a bad idea to run what you’d call a “maintenance cycle” about once a month in order to keep your dishwasher working in tip top shape. You can also add a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of your machine to assist with cleaning.
White vinegar is acidic and with help break down grease buildups. Vinegar is extremely useful for cleaning around the home. The most likely reason that it isn’t more popular and widely used is the odor it brings. However, the odor is fleeting (sort of) and can be tapered with baking soda.
And that’s all you need to know to have your dishwasher be the cleanest, best functioning dishwasher it can be!