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How Can I Clean My Dishwasher

Removing Dishwasher Rust Stains

How To Clean Your Dishwasher Filter

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Mineral stains and rust stains are more common than you think, especially in areas where hard water is prevalent.

Heres how to get rid of rust.

What Youll Need

Step 1: Run A Cycle

The next time you go shopping, look for a detergent with rust-removing properties.

Once youve got it and ensured that your dishwasher is empty and debris-free, its time to start. Sprinkle some of this rust-removing detergent on the bottom of your dishwasher and place some of it in the soap dispenser cup as well.

Once youre done, run the dishwasher through a complete cycle.

Step 2: Fix the Root of the Rust Problem

The truth is that rust in your dishwasher is only a symptom of the disease going on in your plumbing. Therefore, the best thing to do is to fix what is causing the rust.

You can get a plumber you trust to look into your system and offer some solutions.

Tips To Keep Your Dishwasher Clean Longer

First and foremost, scrape those dishes. You don’t need to rinse them, but scraping off all the food bits will help prevent food from accumulating in the filter and other spots. Check the filter regularly and rinse it out any time food is trapped there. Finally, if you have hard water that tends to cloud or spot your dishes, use dishwasher salt to keep mineral deposits from building up.

In case you missed it, learn how to clean your washing machine here. What appliance should we tackle next? Maybe the fridge? What about the dryer? How about the oven? Let us know what your next project is and we’ll find the best way to get the job done.

Put The Suitable Dishes On The Top And Bottom Racks Of The Dishwasher

Once you’re done removing the chunks of food, bones, and other solid substances left in your dishes, start loading them at the racks of your dishwashing machine. The top rack should contain your drinking cups, mugs, and other fragile items like drinking glasses. Make sure to place these items upside down on the top rack.

On the other hand, the bottom rack is where your pots, pans, bowls, plates, plastic items, and other cooking ware should be placed. Furthermore, be sure to separate your silverware and stainless steel items. After all, mixing them can lead to a chemical reaction, which will damage your items.

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Yes The Thing That Washes Your Dishes Needs Its Own Cleaning From Time To Time

Caitlin is the senior digital home editor at Better Homes & Gardens, where she covers all things home, including decorating and interior design, cleaning and organization, paint and color, home improvement, and more. She is a writer and editor with nearly a decade of interior design education and expertise. She has vast experience with digital publishing, including SEO, photoshoot production, video production, eCommerce content, print collaboration, and custom sales content. Caitlin graduated with a bachelor of journalism, with an emphasis in magazine editing, as well as a minor in textile and apparel management from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She also received a multicultural certificate. Caitlin regularly attends trade shows and industry press conferences for market research and continued education.

It might seem strange to worry about how to clean your dishwasher. After all, it’s an appliance with a job of washing dishes. But these handy machines need routine cleaning just like your other kitchen appliances. That’s because the door attracts fingerprints every time you load it with dirty dishes, and the interior accumulates residue comprised of food particles, grease, and soap scum. Not only do these deposits look bad, they eventually begin to make your dishwasher stink because of bacteria that thrives in warm, moist, and dark places.

How To Clean A Smelly Dishwasher

Why Does My Dishwasher Smell?

Why does my dishwasher smell, even after I clean it? Thats a question many of us have asked. The answer? Its certainly not that you dont know how to clean a dishwasher because we just showed you! Even when you clean a dishwasher with vinegar, a natural odor killer, you may need more firepower to get rid of lingering dishwasher smells.

Even a thorough cleaning cant get rid of all the little bits of food and residue that can accumulate in out-of-the-way areas. If your dishwasher smells bad, use these additional maintenance tips:

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Clean Under The Filter

Wipe out the area beneath the filter inside the dishwasher with a damp cloth, sponge, or toothbrush. Once clean, add the clean dishwasher filter back into place.

Note that filters vary greatly across appliances. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to clean your dishwasher filter.

Any Other Ways To Decrease My Dishwasher’s Overall Grossness

First and foremost, rinse your dishes. It’s another small thing that makes a big difference, Maker says. She recommends doing it even if your dishwasher detergent boasts its food-blasting abilities. Sure, it can take the food off your plate, but “the problem is what’s left behind afterward,” says Maker. “It’s all of that bacteria and food and whatever that gets caught in the filter and leads to odors.”

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You’ll save yourself so much time and energy if you just rinse the d*mn dishes. Of course, you don’t have to get ’em perfectly clean , but they should at least be free of big chunks or smears of food.

Another pro tip: Leave the dishwasher door open whenever it’s not in use. Not wide openbecause that’s an accident waiting to happenbut at least cracked a little bit so that it hasn’t been clicked shut, advises Maker. This allows the dishwasher to air out and helps any moisture that’s left behind dry. “Even when I travel, I always leave the dishwasher door slightly open just, so that no grossness can fester in there,” she says.

After all, a dirty dishwasher is just about the last thing you want to come home to.

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Variation For Stainless Steel

For a stainless steel door, it is best to use a stainless steel cleaning product and a microfiber cloth. Follow the product instructions, and always wipe in one directionin the same direction as the grain of the metal.

Another option is to wipe the front of the dishwasher with a solution of mild dish soap mixed with water, followed by a drop of olive oil or baby oil on a microfiber cloth to remove any streaks.

How To Clean A Dishwasher Filter

How to Clean Your Dishwasher with Baking Soda and Vinegar

While many newer dishwashers come with self-cleaning filters, if your model has a manual filter, remove it and clean it once a month or as often as needed. Your owner’s manual will have more information on how to clean a dishwasher filter, but in general, remove and rinse the filter using these steps:

  • Unlock the upper dishwasher filter and gently pull it out. If your model has a lower filter, remove it, too.
  • Check the filter base inside the dishwasher for any food that might be caught there. Wipe the area with a damp microfiber towel to clean it.
  • Wash the filter by hand in warm, soapy water. Gently scrub it with a small, soft-bristle brush if there are stuck-on food particles.
  • Rinse the filters thoroughly under warm running water.
  • Put the filters back in place. If the upper filter has a locking mechanism, be sure it’s locked before you run the dishwasher again.

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Consider Using A Dishwasher Cleaner

Every six months when you run an empty and hot wash, it’s worth considering whether you want to use a dishwasher cleaner, too.

Manufacturers recommend using a proper dishwasher cleaner, and we agree. Avoid using any ‘natural’ alternatives such as lemon juice or white vinegar.

Dont use bleach or harsh cleaners, though. This can degrade the seals and components and cause damage to the machine.

When we rate dishwashers, we take a brand’s reliability into account, so you can be sure that the best dishwashers will not only be excellent at cleaning even the most hard-to-shift dirt, it will last a long time, too.

Select The Cleaning Agent

Commercial cleaning products are very effective in tackling the hardest and toughest stains while offering sanitising properties as well. They are quite convenient for cleaning a dishwasher quickly as the products are ready to use immediately. On the other hand, if you prefer cleaning agents that have less chemical content and yet, are effective, you can devise your own DIY dishwasher cleaning solution at home.

The two most popular ingredients for this are distilled white vinegar and baking soda. In white vinegar, you have a potent weapon against grime and one thats acidic enough to cut through mineral deposits. In addition, it packs sanitising properties to eliminate bacteria buildup as well. Baking soda will help to eliminate foul odours, scrub away grease, dislodge food particles, and remove stains.

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How To Clean Your Dishwasher Filter

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We recommend cleaning your dishwasher filter once a week for the best results. This is because your dirty dishes will not become clean if the filter is dirty. Thats how it goes, no matter how effective your dishwasher is.

Ensure you read through the user guide of your countertop dishwasher or typical dishwasher before you remove your filter. Once youre sure about what youre doing, you can remove and clean the filter.

Keeping Your Dishwasher Clean

Dishwasher Repair Tips: Dishwasher Not Cleaning Dishes

Now that you know how to clean a dishwasher, youre going to see many benefits. Not only is the machine better-smelling and fresher-looking, but youll find its actually more effective. With all the residue gone, soap and water can spray through the appliance at full strengthleaving you with cleaner dishes. In fact, any time your dishes start to come out of the dishwasher with gunk still stuck to them, its a sign that your dishwasher probably needs a deep clean. Try to deep clean the inside of the dishwasher once every six months to keep it running optimally, and learn how to load a dishwasher properly to keep things hygienic in between.

Apart from that six-month deep clean, if your dishwasher has a self-cleaning sanitize cycle, you should run it on a monthly basis. The sanitize cycle runs hotter and longer than a regular dishwashing cycle and is able to kill 99.9% of bacteria and food soil that a standard wash cycle leaves behind.

If your dishwasher doesn’t have a sanitize cycle, you can stock up on Affresh. Affresh is a foaming tablet that combats residue and dishwasher detergent buildup, and its designed to be used with a regular full cycle.

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How To Naturally Clean Your Dishwasher

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After my family made the switch from processed food to real food, I began to rethink the products we used in our home and on our skin. If youve been around Live Simply for any length of time, then youre probably very familiar with our story.

Honestly, I never once thought that making such drastic food changes would later lead to an entire overhaul of my cleaning and bodycare routines. Even though that wasnt ever my goala complete lifestyle overhaulit happened slowly over time, and the transition was quite natural. Literally, natural.

As I began to overhaul my cleaning products, I realized that there was very little information out there about the practical how to of natural cleaning. Sure, I could easily find a recipe to make an all-purpose cleaner, but I also needed more how to to make natural cleaning practical

How exactly can I get my cutting boards clean without bleach?

What about my toilet? Yuck! How do I get my toilets clean and odorless without the help of those famous scrubbing bubbles?

What about my kitchen sink? How do I clean and disinfect my kitchen sink without that metallic green can?

So many questions and so few answers.

Today, were going to dive into another very practical natural cleaning how-to by focusing on cleaning the dishwasher.

How To Deep Clean Your Dishwasher

Be honest. When was the last time you cleaned your dishwasher? And Im not talking about running a washing cycle with an empty chamber, Im talking about a deep cleaning of filters, cartridges and crates. Im guessing that quite a bit of time has passed since your last cleaning. Well, tiny bits of food, grease and dishwasher soap scum can cling together and form deposits in all the nooks and crannies of your dishwasher. After a time, they can not only make your dishwasher look and smell bad, but decrease its efficiency as well.

Here at Cleancult, were big fans of cleaning our different home appliances and keeping them working in top shape! So, for the benefit of everyone and their machines, today we bring you an easy, effective and swift way of cleaning your dishwasher using only vinegar, baking soda, and a toothbrush. So gather your cleaning supplies, because its time to give new life to your dishwasher.

According to cleaning experts, you should clean your dishwasher at least once a month to keep it working properly and in top condition. Follow these few easy steps and give your dishwasher the cleaning it deserves.

What you need:

1 cup of vinegar 1 cup of baking sodaA toothbrushDish soap

The steps:

  • Wash the filter – Remove the filter and wash away any excess or gunky remains you may find. Place in warm soapy water for about 10 minutes and then rinse.
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    How To Regularly Maintain Your Dishwasher


    • Scrape and go. Scraping large particles into the bin or compost means you won’t have to pick them out of the filter later, but there’s no need to rinse plates before racking them .
    • Leave the door ajar. This isn’t always practical, but it helps extend the life of your door seals, and circulating air helps keep mould and odours at bay. Some models even open automatically to aid drying performance.
    • Use good quality dishwasher detergent. Not only will they do a better job, quality cleaners are less likely to leave detergent residue behind and help prevent slimy deposits from building up in your appliance.


    • Clean your dishwasher seals. Grime build-up around seals causes them to deteriorate more quickly. Run a damp cloth over door seals and contact points to keep them in top condition.
    • Clean the filter. A filter full of food scraps and grease will be the source of most dishwasher problems, so giving it a clean is essential to dishwasher health.



    • Run the dishwasher on its hottest cycle while empty. Or better yet, give it a clean with a bowl of vinegar or a commercial cleaner. This helps flush grease, limescale and deposits out of the pipes and removes foul odours.
    • Check the spray arms. Clearing any blockages can restore lost dishwasher performance.

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    How To Clean Your Dishwasher


    To deep clean your dishwasher, remove any foreign material you can find from the drain. Place a bowl full of white vinegar on the top rack and run a complete wash cycle on the hottest setting. Then sprinkle a handful of baking soda across the bottom of your dishwasher and run for a short hot water cycle.

    Keep reading for the full breakdown of how to clean your dishwasher top to bottom!

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    Dishwasher Cleaner Or Vinegar

    There are plenty of products for cleaning your dishwasher available at the supermarket, but do you really need one or is there already a great cleaner in your pantry? Plain old white vinegar does a great job of cleaning dishwashers. Vinegar can remove foul smells and built-up grease in your pipes. Its also cheap and readily available. That said, some manufacturers warn against using vinegar in their dishwashers . Check your dishwasher manual first.

    Cleaning with vinegarPour two cups of vinegar into a bowl placed on the bottom rack of an otherwise empty dishwasher. Run it on the normal/default cycle, pausing halfway through for half an hour or so to let the inside get a good soaking. If the dishwasher still smells, throw in a generous handful of baking soda and run it again. That should give stubborn smells their marching orders.Putting the vinegar into a bowl, and not straight into the dishwasher, is important. Most dishwashers run their drain pump at the start of the cycle which clears residual waste water left over from the previous run but this would pump your vinegar straight down the drain. Using a bowl keeps your vinegar where it’s needed.

    A Quick 101 On Your Dishwasher Filter

    A dishwasher filter is actually amazing. Think of it as the first line of defense against major damage to the machine. The filter not only helps make it possible to skip prerinsing your dishes, but it also filters the water and catches food particles as the machine washes. It prevents major clogs that can cause leaks or break the pump, too.

    Without a periodic inspection and rinse, food can build up and cause a blockage. Most of the appliance experts we spoke with told us that a dirty filter primarily causes a stench and less clean dishes, but in rare cases it can cause much more serious problems with drainage or even cause damage to the pump. This is why it is so important to check and rinse the filter. Fortunately, its easy to maintain your filter so your dishwasher is ready for whatever comes its way. Heres how.

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