Cleaning Your Dishwasher Interior
1. Check the drain. Remove the bottom rack on your dishwasher and examine if there are clumps of debris that collected in the drain. Any chunks left behind after a wash cycle can impede drainage and also damage the appliance.
2. Run the wash with vinegar. Fill a dishwasher-safe cup on the top rack of an empty dishwasher with vinegar. Slide the rack back in and close the door. Run the dishwasher on a hot water cycle. The vinegar will help loosen grease and grime, and remove any odor that the dishwasher might have acquired.
• Note: you should be using distilled white vinegar or specialized cleaning vinegar.
• Note: You can also use unsweetened lemonade mix and receive the same results.
3. Wash again with baking soda. When the first wash cycle is done, sprinkle the bottom of the dishwasher with a cup of baking soda. Run the dishwasher on a short cycle with hot water. The baking soda will help give the unit a fresh smell with a brightened clean interior.
4. Wipe the edges along the door. Check the area around the dishwasher door for debris and grime. Dishwasher cycles can reach inside the door seals. Using a damp cloth will work best.
5. Wash the filter. The filter prevents large debris from entering the drain and will need semi regular cleaning. Most dishwashers will require the use of a screw driver to remove the filter but some have it to where you can easily pop it out. Rinse the filter in your sink with warm water. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and soapy water to scrub at the filter until clean.
• Note: Not all dishwashers have a filter.
6. Clean the spray arm. Most dishwashers have 2 spray arms – one below each rack. Remove both arms by untwisting the central bolt that holds them in place. Rinse each arm in the sink with warm water. Use a toothpick to clean any spray holes that appear to be clogged with gunk.
Now that your dishwasher is clean and running right, here are a few important tips to help keep it that way.
Run your garbage disposal before use. Your dishwasher drains into the same pipe and your sink does. To keep the drain clear and effectively drain the water, run your garbage disposal before you start cleaning it.
Run hot water in your sink. Before starting a load of dishes, run the water in your sink until it feel hot. You will get cleaner dishes if the water starts hot.
Don’t over-rinse dirty dishes. Dishwasher detergent needs a certain amount of grease and grime in order to properly do its job.
Stainless steel interiors should use a rinse aid. Stainless steel tubs are notorious for collecting hard water spots. To help prevent these spots from forming make sure you are using a rinse aid. What is rinse aid? Despite its name, rinse aid is actually more of a drying aid. It contains chemicals all surfactant, which lower the surface tension of water. So instead of forming droplets, the water spreads into thinner sheets that roll right off materials.