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How To Clean Your Dishwasher (And Fix Most Problems!)

Hard water stains, greasy deposits, or drainage issues plaguing your dishwasher? This easy 3-step process can help you avoid an expensive repair bill!

While the idea of cleaning your dishwasher may seem redundant, it’s a useful procedure that can keep your dishwasher working effectively! One of the main issues with dishwashers is that over time, food residue, grease, and soap scum can form stubborn deposits. This grimy buildup can make your dishwasher look dirty, smell bad, and even prevent it from cleaning your dishes properly. Grimy dishwasher buildup can also prevent your dishwasher from draining correctly.

Our cleaning process uses a few of our favorite cleaning ingredients: white vinegar and baking soda. White vinegar removes grime, dissolves mineral deposits, and sanitizes your dishwasher. Baking soda removes lingering odors and scrubs away stuck-on food bits, residues, and stains.

This method will leave your dishwasher squeaky clean, smelling fresh, and solves most drainage issues. Here’s how it’s done!

1. Inspect The Drain

Before you clean your dishwasher, it’s a good idea to check the area around the drain. Remove the bottom rack for easier access, then feel the area around the drain. Remove any foreign material you find to prevent it from blocking the drain.

This is also a good opportunity to inspect the holes in the spray arm. If they look grimy, dip an old toothbrush into some vinegar and use it to scrub any food particles out the spray holes. Replace the bottom rack when you’re done.

2. Vinegar Wash

Set a small dishwasher-safe bowl on the top rack of your empty dishwasher, then fill it with white vinegar. Close your dishwasher and run a complete wash cycle on the hottest setting.

3. Baking Soda Wash

Once the first wash cycle finishes, sprinkle a handful of baking soda into the bottom of your dishwasher. Run it through another quick wash cycle using the hottest water setting.

Optional Step – Bleach Wash

If you’ve been struggling with mold and/or mildew in your dishwasher, adding a final bleach wash to the cleaning process will take care of it. To do a bleach wash, add 1 cup of bleach to the bottom of the dishwasher and run a full wash cycle.

(Note: Do NOT do this step if your dishwasher has a stainless steel interior. Bleach can permanently damage and discolor stainless steel.)

Repeat the steps outlined above every 3 months to keep your dishwasher clean and working effectively!

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