A hand pouring liquid detergent into a dishwasher dispenser

How to Clean the Dishwasher

Dishwasher Cleaning Comprehensive Guide

Cleaning your dishwasher may not be the first thing on your mind when it comes to kitchen chores, but it’s an essential task to ensure your appliance functions optimally. A clean dishwasher not only extends its lifespan but also ensures your dishes come out sparkling clean. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of cleaning your dishwasher, step by step. From the exterior to the interior, we’ve got you covered.

Why Cleaning Your Dishwasher Matters

We will start by explaining why cleaning your dishwasher matters because if you don’t see the reason why you should clean your dishwashers, you won’t get enough motivation to try all your best when cleaning your dishwashers. Your dishwasher cleans your dishes, but who cleans the dishwasher? Over time, food particles, grease, and soap scum can accumulate, leading to unpleasant odours and reduced efficiency. Regular cleaning is the key to maintaining a hygienic and efficient appliance.

What do you need to get started?

Before you start cleaning, gather the following supplies:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Soft brush or toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Screwdriver (if necessary)

Safety First

Cleaning your dishwasher is a simple task that can improve its performance and hygiene. However, before you start, you need to make sure that you are safe. Ensure your dishwasher is unplugged or the circuit breaker is turned off for safety. It’s also a good idea to wear gloves to protect your hands from cleaning agents.

1. Cleaning the Exterior

The first step of cleaning your dishwasher is to clean the exterior. This will make your dishwasher look more attractive and prevent dirt and grease from accumulating. Here is how to do it:

  • Start with the exterior of the dishwasher. Wipe it down with a damp cloth and a mixture of water and dish soap. This will remove any stains, fingerprints, or food particles that might be stuck on the surface.
  • Pay special attention to the control panel, buttons, and handles. These are the parts that you touch frequently, so they might be more dirty or sticky. Use a toothbrush or a cotton swab to gently scrub the crevices and corners.
  • Polish the stainless-steel parts with a microfiber cloth for a streak-free shine. If your dishwasher has a stainless-steel door or trim, you can use a special cleaner designed for this material. Spray it on the cloth and wipe the parts in the direction of the grain. This will make your dishwasher look shiny and new.

2. Removing and Cleaning the Filter

The next step of cleaning your dishwasher is to remove and clean the filter. The filter is the part that traps food particles and prevents them from clogging the drain. If the filter is dirty, it can affect the performance and cleanliness of your dishwasher. Here is how to clean it:

  • Locate the dishwasher’s filter, usually at the bottom of the tub. Depending on your dishwasher model, the filter might be a round or cylindrical shape with a mesh screen. You might need to twist or lift it to remove it from its place.
  • Remove the filter carefully and rinse it under running water. Use your fingers to gently remove any large pieces of food or debris that might be stuck on the filter.
  • Use a soft brush or toothbrush to scrub away any remaining dirt or grease. You can also use some dish soap or baking soda to help dissolve any stubborn stains. Be gentle and avoid damaging the filter’s mesh.
  • Reinstall the filter once it’s clean and dry. Make sure it fits snugly and securely in its position. You can also check the manual of your dishwasher for more instructions on how to remove and clean the filter.

3. Cleaning the Spray Arm

The last step of cleaning your dishwasher is to clean the spray arm. The spray arm is responsible for distributing water during the wash cycle. If the spray arm is clogged or dirty, it can affect the water pressure and the cleaning efficiency of your dishwasher. Here is how to clean it:

  • Remove the spray arm and soak it in a solution of white vinegar and water to remove mineral deposits. The spray arm is usually located at the bottom or the top of the dishwasher tub. You might need to unscrew it or pull it out to detach it from its place. Then, soak it in a large bowl or sink filled with equal parts of white vinegar and hot water. This will help dissolve any hard water deposits or calcium build-up that might be blocking the holes of the spray arm.
  • Scrub any remaining debris with a brush. After soaking the spray arm for about 15 minutes, use a small brush or toothpick to gently scrub any dirt or food particles that might be still stuck on the spray arm. Make sure to clean all the holes and crevices of the spray arm.
  • Rinse thoroughly and reattach it. Once the spray arm is clean, rinse it well under running water and shake off any excess water. Then, reattach it to its position and make sure it spins freely. You can also check the manual of your dishwasher for more instructions on how to remove and clean the spray arm.

4. Running a Cleaning Cycle

The final step of cleaning your dishwasher is to run a cleaning cycle. This will help sanitize the interior of the dishwasher and remove any remaining dirt or grease. Here is how to do it:

  • Place a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container on the top rack. White vinegar is a natural cleaner that can help dissolve any build-up and eliminate odours. You can use any type of vinegar, but white vinegar is preferred because it does not leave any stains or smells.
  • Run a hot water cycle without any dishes. Choose the hottest and longest cycle available on your dishwasher settings. This will ensure that the vinegar reaches all the parts of the dishwasher and kills any bacteria or germs. Do not add any detergent or rinse aid to the cycle.
  • The vinegar will help dissolve any build-up and eliminate odours. After the cycle is finished, open the dishwasher and let it air dry. You can also wipe down the interior with a clean cloth if you want. Your dishwasher should now be clean and fresh.

5. Dealing with Mould and Mildew

Sometimes, you might notice mould or mildew growing in your dishwasher. This can happen if the dishwasher is not dried properly or if there is excess moisture in the air. Mould and mildew can cause health problems and unpleasant smells, so you should deal with them as soon as possible. Here is how to do it:

  • If you notice mould or mildew, mix baking soda and water into a paste. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and disinfectant that can help remove mould and mildew. You can use about a quarter cup of baking soda and enough water to make a thick paste.
  • Apply the paste to affected areas and let it sit for 15 minutes. Use a sponge or a cloth to spread the paste over the areas where you see mould or mildew. You can also use a toothbrush to reach the corners and crevices. Let the paste sit for about 15 minutes to work its magic.
  • Scrub with a brush and rinse thoroughly. After 15 minutes, use a brush or a sponge to scrub the paste and the mould or mildew away. Rinse well with water and wipe dry with a clean cloth. You can also run a hot water cycle to rinse the dishwasher completely.

6. Cleaning the Seal and Gasket

Another part of your dishwasher that you should clean regularly is the seal and gasket. These are the rubber parts that prevent water from leaking out of the dishwasher. If they are dirty or damaged, they can cause water leakage and reduce the efficiency of your dishwasher. Here is how to clean them:

  • Check the dishwasher’s door seal and gasket for dirt or residue. You can find them along the edges of the dishwasher door and the tub. Look for any signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, holes, or loose parts. If you notice any damage, you might need to replace them with new ones.
  • Wipe them clean with a damp cloth. Use a damp cloth or sponge to gently wipe the seal and gasket. You can also use some dish soap or vinegar to help remove any grease or grime. Be careful not to pull or stretch the rubber parts, as this might damage them further.

The Importance of Regular Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent future issues and prolong your dishwasher’s life. By following the steps above, you can keep your dishwasher in optimal condition and ensure that it cleans your dishes effectively and efficiently. You can also save money on repairs and replacements, as well as reduce your energy and water consumption. Make it a habit to clean your dishwasher every few months, or whenever you notice any signs of dirt or odour. By doing this, you can enjoy a sparkling clean dishwasher and home.

How to Clean the Dishwasher – FAQ’s

Q: How often should I clean my dishwasher?

A: Ideally, clean your dishwasher every 1-3 months to maintain optimal performance.

Q: Can I use bleach to clean my dishwasher?

A: It’s not recommended as bleach can damage the dishwasher’s rubber components. Stick to vinegar and baking soda for a safe clean.

Q: My dishwasher smells bad. What should I do?

A: Run a cleaning cycle with white vinegar and check the filter and spray arm for debris.

Q: Is it necessary to clean the dishwasher if I use dishwasher tablets?

A: Yes, even with dishwasher tablets, regular cleaning is essential to prevent build-up and odours.

Q: Can I clean the dishwasher with lemon juice?

A: Lemon juice is a natural alternative to vinegar and can be used for a fresh citrus scent.

Q: What if my dishwasher is still not clean after following these steps?

A: If issues persist, consider consulting a professional technician for a thorough inspection.


Now that you know how to clean your dishwasher, you might be wondering if there is an easier way to do it. Well, there is! You can hire professional cleaners from Teebs Cleaning, a trusted and reliable company that offers dishwasher and house cleaning services. Teebs Cleaning will take care of your dishwasher and make it look like new. You can get a free quote from them by clicking on this link: Get a quote from Teebs Cleaning. Don’t wait, book your cleaning service today and enjoy a sparkling clean dishwasher and home.

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