4 Ways to Clean Your Dishwasher


Source: iStock

Cleaning is never high on our priority lists, but one room that demands more attention than any other is the kitchen and the one appliance that gets used more quite a bit is the dishwasher.

We don’t think about it often, but homeowners need to clean their dishwashers. Soap and hot water can only do so much every time you run that expensive appliance. Fortunately, for all homeowners and renters, there are quick and easy ways to clean your dishwasher with everyday materials you already own.

Doing a quick search online, you will find numerous ways to clean your dishwasher. Nonetheless, there are four methods that more and more homeowners are utilizing, no matter how old or how new their dishwashers are. Those four methods are:

  1. The Vinegar and Baking Soda Method
  2. The Liquid Bleach Method
  3. The Tang/Kool-Aid Method
  4. The Manual Method

On the other hand, if you are thinking of getting a new dishwasher, make sure your home can accommodate it.

1. Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda have been used as cleaning agents for years. They are a kitchen’s best friends when it comes to cleaning. The same holds true for inside your dishwasher.

If you want to clean your dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda, please use the steps below:

  1. Remove all items from your dishwasher
  2. Remove the dishwasher filter
  3. Soak filter in sink with warm water and soap for 10 minutes
  4. Replace the filter
  5. Measure one cup of white vinegar
  6. Add ½ up of baking soda
  7. Pour vinegar and baking soda mix in the bottom of the dishwasher
  8. Run dishwasher on heavy cleaning cycle

Looking for more in-depth information on your dishwasher, including how to find the best and cheapest models? Please see Dishwasher Appliances.


Source: iStock

2. Liquid Bleach

Bleach is another member of the kitchen cleaning family. When used correctly, it can remove even the toughest of stains. Beware, bleach is very harmful to stainless steel. Do not use bleach if your dishwasher is made of stainless steel.

As you might expect, bleach is a little stronger than vinegar and baking soda. If you have neglected your dishwasher for years and are worried about permanent stains or mold, liquid bleach could be the answer.

If you want to clean your dishwasher with liquid bleach, please use the steps below:

  1. Remove all items from your dishwasher
  2. Measure one cup of liquid bleach
  3. Place liquid bleach in regular serving cup and place on top rack of dishwasher
  4. Run your dishwasher on the hottest setting

3. The Tang or Kool-Aid Method

If you don’t have vinegar or bleach, one tried and true method is Tang or Kool-Aid. Stick with me for a moment. Much like vinegar or bleach, Tang or Kool-Aid provides that extra strength and energy your dishwasher needs. It not only gets rid of tough stains or cloudy glasses, but also acts as a kitchen freshener, something many of our readers need.

If you want to clean your dishwasher with Tang or Kool-Aid, please use the steps below:

  1. Run your faucet until water is hot
  2. Start your dishwasher
  3. Turn off faucet
  4. After five minutes, open your dishwasher
  5. Add Tang or Kool-Aid to the detergent bin and then a few extra pours to the bottom of the dishwasher, mixing it with the water
  6. Close the dishwasher and let it finish its cycle

Source: iStock

4. The Manual Method

As you can see, none of the previous three methods require much physical effort. However, like most maintenance projects, there is always good old elbow grease to do the trick.

If you want to clean your dishwasher manually, use the steps below. To visualize every step, please see The Kitchn.

  1. Empty the dishwasher
  2. Remove the racks
  3. Make sure spinning holes are clean. Use a needle, nose pliers, a toothpick or some other small pointy tool to remove any debris that has built up in the holes of the spinning arm.
  4. Wipe the bottom of the door and the dishwasher grate with warm, soapy water.
  5. Remove the filter and wash with warm, soapy water. Make sure you disassemble the filter if you can and wipe down each piece. You can use baking soda for the filter.
  6. Clean around the door seal with a damp cloth soaked in vinegar.
  7. Wipe down the utensil rack with a rag and toothbrush, as well as both racks with warm, soapy water.
  8. Run an empty cycle using the vinegar method above. Some stop the cycle halfway through to let the vinegar soak in the dishwasher.


The dishwasher is one of the hardest working appliances in the home. With all the dirt, food and bacteria that enter, all homeowners and renters should try to clean their dishwasher once a month. Doing so will ensure your dishwasher’s health for years to come.

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