Do you notice a nasty smell every time you open your dishwasher? If so, it’s time to deep clean your appliance. Fortunately, cleaning the dishwasher is an easy process you can carry out without any fancy products—baking soda and vinegar will do!
Read on for a straightforward and natural way to leave your dishwasher spotless.
Step #1. Empty your dishwasher
To reach and clean every corner of your dishwasher thoroughly, it needs to be empty. So take out everything you can: racks, utensil holders, and dishes. Wash racks and holders in the sink with warm soapy water right away so they can dry while you continue this method.
Step #2. Wash the filter
It’s essential to keep your dishwasher’s filter in good condition. Failing to do so could create major blockages, leaks or damage to the water pump. Besides, one of the main causes of stinky dishwasher odors is food accumulation in the filter.
To clean the filter, follow these instructions:
- Take out the filter. Usually, it’s a small circular device at the bottom of your dishwasher under the water arms. Twist it to unlock and pull it upwards or check the appliance’s manual if you’re unsure.
- The main filter also keeps a coarse mesh filter in place. So, make sure you remove it too.
- Reach into the sump where the filter was to remove any possible food residue.
- Wash both filters in your sink with warm soapy water and your trusty kitchen sponge.
- Return the filters to their place in the correct order.
Note: Some dishwashers have self-cleaning filters which aren’t removable. If that’s your case, skip this step.
Step #3. Get rid of the food residue
Food crumbs and residue won’t go away without a little help, especially if they’re stuck to the walls of the appliance. So, for better results, pre-clean your dishwasher.
To do it, grab a clean cloth, dampen it with warm soapy water, and wipe away all the gunk and food bits you find. Also, use a toothpick or clip to poke and unclog the water jet holes.
Note: Food residue on the rubber seal can create an opening and cause leakages. So, if you notice food particles on the gasket, clean it with soapy water and a soft toothbrush.
Step #4. Run a cycle using vinegar
To make use of vinegar’s acidic power, fill a dishwasher-safe bowl with two cups of vinegar and put it on the dishwasher’s floor. Once done, just let the machine run a full hot water cycle.
Besides softening grease and food stains, vinegar will help you to completely remove those chalky white spots (hard water stains) inside your appliance—it will also help with funky smells!
Will vinegar damage your dishwasher?
Vinegar is perfectly safe for cleaning your dishwasher as its acidic properties aren’t strong enough to corrode the metal. However, it can damage the inner workings of your dishwasher if poured into the detergent compartment. As long as you avoid that, you’ll be fine.
Step #5. Run a short cycle, now with baking soda
Once the previous cycle is completed, run a short new one (also with hot water), but this time cover the dishwasher floor with a thin layer of baking soda. The chemical composition of baking soda will act on the softened stains and gunk, dissolving them in water.
Finally, run a drying cycle before returning the racks and holders to the dishwasher.
Note: If your dishwasher has no drying cycle, manually dry the interior with a clean cloth. Pay attention to slits and tiny holes (they’re perfect places for mold to grow!).
Make the rest of your house sparkle too!
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