How To Clean A Dishwasher - Tips, Do's and Don'ts

Tips and Tricks to Clean a Dishwasher

Using a dishwasher makes life very easy. However, maintaining the dishwasher in mint condition is a whole different ballgame. You need to be very adept at cleaning the dishwasher to avoid hassles in maintaining the dishwasher for many years. After all, it is a question of home hygiene, and you cannot afford to be lax or careless on this essential aspect.

Although you may get the overall benefits of not using your bare or gloved hands to clean the dishes manually, you still need to clean out the dishwasher itself now and then! Here are some tips and handy tricks on how you can master the art of cleaning a dishwasher.

How Often to Clean a Dishwasher

One of the common questions that people have is how often to clean a dishwasher. “Should it be daily, weekly, or fortnightly,” is what some folks wonder? This is also important as cleaning a dishwasher can be rather humdrum in addition to being time-consuming. There are a few thumb rules that may help you out.

Firstly, for bits of food that stick to the dishwasher, you must clean it daily to prevent accumulation and stink. The filter, gasket, and dishwasher door must be cleaned weekly, while a monthly deep clean is necessary for the interiors. Cleaning the exterior as well as the buffing may be done as and when required.

How to Clean a Dishwasher With Vinegar

It is easy to clean a dishwasher if you know how to go about it; it is not rocket science! One of the most common materials used to clean out a dishwasher easily is vinegar. For cleaning with vinegar, you need to take one cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe bowl and place the bowl at the bottom of the dishwasher. Next, run a clean cycle on the dishwasher with the hot water setting. The main reason for doing this is that the vinegar would quickly and easily dislodge any grime or food lodged inside the appliance, in addition to cleaning out solidified soap scum from the insides of the dishwasher. It can also remove soap scum or sediments that are stubborn and cannot be removed by bare hands.

The scientific reasoning of why vinegar is so effective and widely used to clean a clogged dishwasher is that it is acidic in an astringent way, which can dislodge all the particles that cling firmly to the sides of the dishwasher. If you do not get optimal results in one cycle, you may very well go ahead and repeat this process with vinegar until you get the desired results. Repeated cycles can ensure squeaky-clean interiors that do not lead to any stuck food bits or stink.

How to Clean a Dishwasher With Baking Soda

One of the common ways to clean a dishwasher is by using baking soda or sodium bicarbonate. When you have to clean a smelly dishwasher, you can very efficiently get hold of some baking soda and place it in the dishwasher-safe bowl. Before you do this, ensure that the dishwasher is empty before cleaning the dishwasher with this ingredient. Baking soda is alkaline in nature and is a highly effective material to remove stubborn dirt and grime from inside the dishwasher. When you have placed the bowl filled with a cup of baking soda, run the hot water cycle in the dishwasher. This should generally do the trick if you have dirt and grime that is not so stubborn or deep-seated in the dishwasher.

In case there are stains of grime or oil as well as an unpleasant odor that persists, you may have to repeat the process of cleaning the dishwasher with baking soda all over again. If this still does not work and you have grime remains and an unpleasant smell, you need to take a couple of cups of baking soda and add in 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to concoct a cleaning paste. This mix needs to be placed on parchment paper. The parchment paper bag with this paste needs to be dried for a few hours. After it is dried out thoroughly, place this parchment paper bag on the bottom of the dishwasher and clean it out again by running it on the hot water mode for one cycle. This is a straightforward process that you can use to clean the dishwasher naturally, and you can get exceptional results that last for a long time until your next cleaning cycle.


How to Clean a Dishwasher With Bleach

You may not know it, but many folks depend greatly on using bleach to clean out their empty dishwashers. One of the essential things to keep in mind while using bleach is that it can corrode the interior metal surface. So, if you have a dishwasher with metallic parts and surfaces, you would do well to keep away from using bleach and stick to vinegar or baking soda to get the results you need. If you have ascertained that your dishwasher does not have any metallic parts, you can safely use bleach, alternatively known as a bleaching powder. Most of the less expensive dishwashers have predominantly plastic insides, for which you can easily use bleach to clean the interiors effectively.

The method of using bleach is the same. Fill half of the dishwasher-safe bowl with bleach. Now turn on the dishwasher to the “clean cycle mode” and clean it once or twice so that all the grime, stains, and stubborn food particles get entirely rooted out, and you can clean up the appliance. Then you can allow the dishwasher to dry off. If you want, you can also add in some essential oil to ensure that the insides of the dishwasher come up clean and emit a pleasant fragrance. This can be especially helpful since bleach has an extremely potent smell. This also ensures that you have been able to clean the bottom of a dishwasher along with all the other parts.

How to Clean a Dishwasher Drain Trap

One of the main areas of a dishwasher that needs to be cleaned is the dishwasher drain trap. This is essentially the area where you need to perform the act of ensuring that you deep clean a dishwasher so that there is not a single part of the dishwasher that is left. This is a rather elaborate process that cleans out the whole dishwasher, including all the racks. This is where the deep cleaning begins as you also attempt to clean the dishwasher filter. You can use a cloth or a toothbrush to clean the filter effectively.

The drain area is where the maximum amount of dirt gets clogged in because of the constant use of the dishwasher day in and day out. You will need to be prepared to get your hands dirty because of all the nasty particles of food and grime that get stuck onto the dishwasher drain trap. A clogged drain in a dishwasher creates problems regarding the draining of the liquid after the wash cycle is complete while also emitting an unpleasant smell due to the food particles clogging the pathway.

That is why you need to get your hands into the drain trap and remove any particles that may be stubbornly lodged inside. You can also use a plunger to try and clear out the drain trap easily. These plungers are readily available in the market, and in some cases, you can also use special chemicals that will clear out your drain trap with the minimum effort expended for the same.

As you are deep cleaning your dishwasher, you also need to clean hard water from them. You will need to use Rinse Aid or a similar detergent made with the specific purpose of cleaning hard water stains and keep surfaces clean. These products are conveniently available in the market, making the process of caring for your dishwasher extremely easy!

Dishwasher Cleaning Dos and Don’ts


  • Ensure that all the dishwasher racks are cleared out of any utensils and cutlery before cleaning the dishwasher.
  • Be careful about the material you use to clean the dishwasher so that there are no hassles or harm caused to the dishwasher.
  • Run an entire wash cycle on the dishwasher using the cleaning material so that there is no need to repeat the process as far as possible.
  • Use a proper cloth to wipe the dishwasher once the cleaning operation is over to avoid scratches on the dishwasher.
  • Examine the dishwasher after the cleaning cycle is complete to ensure no extra particles or sediments remain even after the cleaning process.


  • Do not use bleaching powder to clean a dishwasher that has metallic parts. The bleach would surely corrode these metallic parts and damage your dishwasher.
  • Don’t use excessive vinegar or cleansing liquid beyond what has been prescribed to clean out the dishwasher to prevent damage to the appliance system.
  • Don’t attempt to clean the drain trap without opening out the filter situated above the drain trap.
  • Don’t just clean the exterior of the dishwasher frequently while neglecting to clean the interior. Since the interior portion gets dirty, your dishwasher will not be completely clean regardless of the exterior being sparkling and spotless.
  • Don’t neglect to clean the dishwasher filter and drain trap from time to time. Neglecting to do so while conducting a deep cleaning of the dishwasher will lead to cumbersome and bothersome drainpipe blockages, which may cause horrible stink or even breakdown of the appliance.

Deep cleaning of your dishwasher is essential from time to time. Ensure that you exercise caution and are timely in cleaning out your dishwasher to avoid unnecessary hassles later!

Also Read:

Top Kitchen Decorating Ideas
Easy Kitchen Tips and Tricks
How to Clean Your Kitchen Electronics

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Ruchelle has a vast experience working with clients in hospitality, health and wellness, entertainment, real estate, and retail. She aims to utilise her learnings to deliver quality content which will in turn help drive sales and customer engagement.