Dishwashers, just like every other major household appliance, must be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent buildups of food debris, hard water and mold. Unfortunately, running an empty load with hot water isn’t enough to do the job. This might wash away some of the smaller particles, but it’s not going to clean stubborn, stuck-on debris. With a little bit of vinegar, baking sods and elbow grease, however, you can clean even the dirtiest dishwasher.
Prepare Your Dishwasher
Before you begin the actual cleaning process, it’s recommended that you remove any racks, trays and utensil baskets from inside your dishwasher. Most modern-day dishwashers contain racks that can be removed from the rolling track. If you are having trouble removing them, try lifting up and pulling outward.
Check The Filter
After removing the racks, trays and the utensil baskets from your dishwasher, check the filter at the bottom to determine whether or not it needs cleaning. This mesh screen is designed to catch larger pieces of food and utensils, preventing them from being flushes down the drain. Scoop up any debris you find here and dispose of it accordingly. You can also rinse the filter in the sink using hot water and dish soap.
Check The Sprayers
While you’re inspecting the inside your dishwasher, check the sprayers on top to ensure they aren’t obstructed in any way. It’s not uncommon for food particles to get stuck in the sprayers, restricting/blocking the normal flow of water. You can often unclog them by pressing a toothpick into the sprayer holes.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Place 2 cups of filtered white apple cider vinegar in the dishwasher and turn it on the energy-saving cycle (if applicable with your unit). The vinegar will clean, disinfect, and freshen the inside your dishwasher. Vinegar is also completely natural, offering a fast and effective method of cleaning without the use of harsh chemicals.
Look inside your dishwasher after the cycle with vinegar is complete. Some areas of hardened debris may linger behind, which is where the baking soda comes into play: mix a small amount of baking soda with vinegar to create a paste-like consistency. You can them scrub this vinegar-baking soda paste on the problematic areas to clean them. Last but not least, run an empty load to wash away any remaining vinegar or baking soda.