How To Deep Clean a Dishwasher

March 14, 2023
Dishwasher Repair

If your dishwasher isn’t cleaning your dishes the way it used to, it might be time for a deep clean. This can help get rid of built-up grease and grime that can cause poor performance. 

Follow these simple steps to give your dishwasher a thorough cleaning. You’ll be glad you did!

1. Start by taking everything out of the dishwasher, including the racks

Starting a successful dishwashing cycle begins with clearing out all of the contents in your dishwasher, including the racks. Take some time here to make sure you’re getting everything, down to any lost utensils or food particles that might be lurking behind.

Be sure to get the sprayer arms as well. They should detach by either unscrewing or simply snapping off, depending on your model. This important step will help ensure that all of your dishes come out sparkling, leaving you feeling proud and accomplished when the cycle is complete. 

2. Wash the racks in hot soapy water, then rinse and dry them

Cleaning your dishwasher racks regularly is an important part of maintaining their longevity. To maximize the effectiveness of your cleaning, try washing the racks in hot soapy water and then rinsing them with warm water before drying. 

Doing this will help to remove any grease or dirt build-up effectively while also keeping rust at bay. It should take only a few minutes and a bit of effort to keep your racks looking good as new. 

3. Clean the spray arms with soap and water

Soak the spray arm in a sink filled with warm soapy water to loosen any caked-on food particles.

Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub away any stubborn residues that do not come off easily with just water and soap. You can even use a thin bit of wire to clean the holes of the spray arms to clear out any hard-to-reach muck and grime. Rinse off all parts with clean, hot water to make sure you have removed all soap residue and leftover grime.

4. Clean the dishwasher filter with hot water and a brush

Cleaning your dishwasher filter regularly is essential for ensuring the most hygienic and efficient cleaning of your dishes. Start by opening up the dishwasher, then locate and remove the filter from the bottom of the machine. The dishwasher filter will either be located at the front or at the back — check your owner’s manual if unsure. 

Once you’ve removed it, use a soft-bristled brush to remove any particles, such as food scraps or dirt, that have built up in the mesh. Rinse off all visible residue with very hot water to make sure you don’t leave any debris behind. Make sure to rinse both sides of the filter thoroughly before replacing it in its original position and closing up your dishwasher again. 

This process should be repeated at least once a month for optimal performance of your dishwashing machine.

5. Clean the interior of the dishwasher with a sponge or brush

Now that the outside of your dishwasher looks brand new, it’s time to move on to the interior. Use either a sponge or a brush to get rid of any built-up gunk and grime. Avoid using bleach, as this can interact with some dishwashing detergents and create chlorine gas, which is deadly. 

You can use the gentle cleanser of your choice or even good, old-fashioned baking soda. Just be sure to use something gentle and non-foaming. Otherwise, you can end up with a floor full of suds during the next dishwashing cycle. Make sure to wipe down all the parts you can reach easily — this includes the sides, bottom, and door. For those tough stains or food particles, feel free to use a little elbow grease as you rub them away with your brush or sponge.

Don’t forget any corners or crevices that could be hiding spots for trapped dirt. With only a few minutes of your time and some cleaning supplies, your dishwasher will come out sparkling clean and ready for use.

6. Be sure to scrub around the door seals and gasket, as well as under any removable parts

When cleaning your dishwasher, be sure to pay extra attention to those hard-to-reach areas. For instance, the door seals and gasket can often go overlooked, but they can accumulate dirt and grime if not regularly scrubbed.

Even if it appears clean, cleaning these parts will help ensure that your dishwasher continues running in peak condition. It can also help eliminate odor in the dishwasher. Don’t forget to clean under any removable dishwasher parts as well, such as the filter — this chore may be a little bit time-consuming, but it is an important part of dishwasher maintenance!

7. After cleaning, put everything back in the dishwasher and run it on an empty cycle

After all the hard work is done and your dishwasher is spick and span, it’s time for the next step. Put everything back inside your dishwasher. This means dish racks, small parts, and even the filter (if you removed it).

Once everything has been put in place, you can run an empty cycle to ensure that all leftover residue has been properly washed away. This will guarantee that no soapy residue sticks to your dishes after the next use of your dishwasher. Furthermore, this empty cycle also helps prolong its lifespan and prevent any build-up from taking away its effectiveness in removing dirt from dishes.

8. Add a cup of white vinegar to the dishwashing cycle for extra disinfecting power

A great way to ensure your dishes get extra clean is to add a cup of white vinegar to the dishwashing cycle. Not only do you get the power of your dishwasher’s cleaning agents, but vinegar helps disinfect dishes and cut through grease.

Just fill a cup with white vinegar, and place it on the top rack, then start the dishwasher. This will help keep your dishes looking their best and sanitized when you take them out. 

Now that you know how to deep clean your dishwasher, make it a part of your regular cleaning routine. By keeping up with maintenance and taking care of problems as they arise, you can prolong the lifespan of your dishwasher and avoid costly repairs down the line. Happy cleaning!


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