Yes, You Have to Clean Your Dishwasher - And Here's How
Regular cleaning tops the list of the most effective ways to maintain your home appliances - and your dishwasher is certainly no exception.
For the best upkeep, perform a thorough cleaning about once a month, as suggested by Better Homes & Gardens. When that time comes, here's how to clean a dishwasher like a pro:
Start with the exterior
For dishwasher doors made of plastic, use a sponge soaked in hot, soapy water to wipe it down. Glass cleaners work well on stainless steel dishwasher doors, as it breaks up the grime while also removing smudges and restoring shine. Pro tip from Consumer Reports: Don't spray cleaners or water directly onto the dishwasher door. Excess moisture can damage the electric controls, so play it safe by wetting the sponge, paper towel or cloth before getting to work. After cleaning, wipe the door dry with a soft cloth.
You'll definitely want to perform this step during your monthly dishwasher cleaning, but you may also choose to wipe away grime, splashes and finger smudges as they happen between cleanings.
Move on to the parts
Open the dishwasher door, and remove the racks and utensil holders. Wipe them down to remove food particles and other debris. Next, tackle the spray arm, which may need a soft brush or toothpick to remove build-up from the tiny holes.
Remove the bottom dish rack to reach the drain and filter. Starting with the drain, use the soft brush or toothpick to dislodge gunk and grime from the drain holes. Filters vary depending on the dishwasher model, so refer to the owner's manual for detailed instructions. If your model allows you to remove the filter, rinse it under hot water. Use a damp paper towel or toothbrush to get into the crevices.
Finish with the interior
Use a sponge and hot, soapy water to wipe down the door gasket, behind the door and around the tub of the dishwasher. Your soft brush will come in handy for removing food or debris stuck in crevices, especially within the grooves of the gasket rubber seal. If there's a lot of buildup, use a cleaner or distilled white vinegar for extra cleaning reinforcements.
Finally, run the dishwasher while it is empty - aside from a dishwasher-safe cup or bowl of white vinegar. Place the container in the center of the top or bottom rack, and then run a full cycle with hot water for extra disinfecting. Once the cycle is finished, wipe down the inside of the dishwasher with a dry cloth or paper towel. The vinegar will sanitize and deodorize your dishwasher, leaving the unit looking and smelling remarkably fresh and clean.
You can also sprinkle a cup of baking soda along the bottom of the dishwasher tub and run a short cycle with hot water. The baking soda helps further deodorize the unit and removes stains from the interior. If you notice rust stains in your dishwasher, look for a detergent designed to combat the issue. Fill the soap dispenser with the detergent, and run an empty load. If the stains persist, repeat the process or call a plumber to install a rust-fighting filter, according to Better Homes & Gardens.
If you experience issues despite your best cleaning and maintenance efforts, try these quick fixes to troubleshoot common dishwasher problems.
Being prepared before home repair issues arise is always a good strategy. Plans from HomeServe can help with the costs of covered repairs. See what plans are available in your area.