Just like any appliance, your Whirlpool dishwasher needs regular cleaning and maintenance. If you’ve let it go a little long between cleans, don’t give up! We created this comprehensive, step-by-step guide to walk you through how to deep clean your Whirlpool dishwasher. You’ll have it looking brand new in no time at all.
This guide applies to all main models of Whirlpool dishwashers, including:
You will need:
- A soft cloth
- A small scrubbing brush or old toothbrush
- White vinegar
Step 1: Clean the filter and filter housing
The first step to cleaning your Whirlpool dishwasher is to clean the filter and housing. Over time, the filter can become filled with food remains and other debris, causing a blockage. When the filter is blocked, your dishes won’t get cleaned effectively, and the interior of your dishwasher can get even dirtier.
To clean the filter:
- Remove the bottom rack of the dishwasher to access the filter.
- Remove the filter and the filter cover. In most models, the filter unscrews in a counterclockwise motion.
- Carefully wipe away any debris or grime in the filter housing using a soft, clean cloth dipped in a mixture of detergent and warm water.
- Take the filter to your sink and remove any chunks of food debris. Thoroughly clean the filter mesh with a small brush, such as an old toothbrush.
- Once it’s clean, replace the filter in the housing.
Step 2: Clear and clean the dishwasher interior
Next, it’s time to clean inside the dishwasher. Take out the racks, spray arms, and cutlery basket, and thoroughly wipe down the interior with a soft cloth and mild detergent. In Whirlpool dishwasher models the arms can be unscrewed—the top one unscrews clockwise and the bottom one counterclockwise.
When cleaning the interior, make sure you pay special attention to the detergent dispenser unit. This often has a buildup of detergent and may require some scrubbing with a brush to get it perfectly clean.
Step 3: Clean the spray arms
Now it’s time to clean the spray arms. Although they might look clean on the outside, spray arms can often get blocked with mildew or food debris, which can prevent water from flowing through them.
To clean the spray arms:
- Soak the spray arms in a solution of detergent and warm water. This will help to loosen any grime or debris.
- After about an hour of soaking, use a soft cloth to wipe the exterior.
- Check the holes in the spray arms—if they appear blocked, use something like a toothpick or similar to clear away the debris.
Step 4: Clean the dishwasher seals
The dishwasher seals ensure that your Whirlpool dishwasher shuts tightly, but they can also be a breeding ground for bacteria and mildew. Thoroughly cleaning the seals is a great way to get rid of any lingering smells, and also ensure that they’re working optimally. If the seals are dirty or moldy, they won’t allow the door to shut effectively, which can lead to leaks.
To clean your dishwasher seals:
- Open the dishwasher to gain access to the seals.
- Use a soft cloth dipped in soapy water to carefully clean around the entire seal, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.
- If there are any hard-to-reach spots, use an old toothbrush or other small brush to remove the debris.
- Give the seals a final wipe to make sure they’re perfectly clean.
Step 5: Clean the dishwasher exterior
After thoroughly cleaning the inside of your Whirlpool dishwasher, it’s time to clean the outside. Use a clean, soft cloth to carefully wipe down the entire outside of the dishwasher. Pay special attention to the keypad and the door handle, as these are the areas grime tends to accumulate.
Once you’ve finished cleaning the outside, dry the dishwasher with a dry microfiber cloth. If your dishwasher is a stainless steel model, it will show streaks if it isn’t dried and polished, so ensure you dry it thoroughly.
Step 6: Clean the area around the dishwasher
It’s easy for dust and grime to gather underneath the dishwasher or down the sides. When deep cleaning your dishwasher, you may want to clean the areas surrounding the dishwasher as well, to ensure everything is perfectly clean.
If your dishwasher is easy to remove, pull it away from the wall—this will make it easier to clean. If it’s screwed into place, just clean around it.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to vacuum up any loose dust and debris. Then use a soft, damp cloth to wipe away any remaining hard-to-reach grime. Once you’ve finished, put the dishwasher back neatly in place if you removed it.
Step 7: Finish with a cleaning cycle
Now it’s time to put everything back together and run a final cleaning cycle. Replace the spray arms, the filter, the racks, and the cutlery basket. Run a final cleaning cycle to sterilize the interior of the dishwasher and get rid of any lingering pieces of debris.
- Choose your cleaning products. You can either opt for a commercial dishwasher cleaner, which you can find in the cleaning aisle of your supermarket. Usually you would place it upside down on the top rack of the dishwasher.
- If you prefer to use natural cleaning products, you can fill a small bowl with white vinegar and place it on the top rack of the dishwasher. If you like, you can also scent it with a few drops of your favorite essential oils.
- Set your dishwasher to the hottest possible cycle.
Congratulations! Your Whirlpool dishwasher is now clean, disinfected, and ready to wash your dishes efficiently once again.