How to Clean a Dishwasher with Citric Acid

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Why Use Citric Acid to Clean Dishwasher?

Dishwashing detergent can leave stains and residue in the dishwasher, causing cloudy-white spots to form within the interior, and on clean dishes. Some homeowners use this handy trick to clean dishwashers easily: using Tang. However, the active ingredient that facilitates the cleaning is citric acid, which can be used pure to clean dishwashers.

Using citric acid powder is a safe and effective way of cleaning your dishwasher as the acidity of the solution breaks down soap scum, minerals from hard water stains, grease and oils, and other residues that may be trapped in the dishwasher. Citric acid kills mold and bacteria too, leaving you with a sanitized dishwasher.

Citric acid can be found in many forms, such as citric acid crystals, citric acid powders, or citric acid in liquid form. You can also opt to use citrus fruits that have high amounts of citric acids, such as lemons, limes, and oranges.

How to Clean a Dishwasher with Citric Acid

Step 1: Clear the Dishwasher

First, clear the dishwasher. If you have dirty plates in the dishwasher, you can opt to wash these by hand instead while you clean the interior of your dishwasher. Alternatively, if your dishwasher is not particularly dirty, then you can run a wash cycle with hot water, and store away the cleaned plates before giving your appliance a deep clean.

It is important to clear away all the dinnerware, utensils, and glasses from the dishwasher as the citric acid needs to access every inch of the appliance to clean it. You won't need to remove the dishwasher racks as these can be cleaned with citric acid as well.

Step 2: Run a Wash Cycle with Citric Acid Crystals

Place one tablespoon of citric acid crystals in the detergent cup of your dishwasher. Load up the water reservoir, and run a wash cycle on the hot water setting. As the appliance runs, the citric acid breaks down any oil and grease from food residue from the interior of the dishwasher, dissolves hard water stains, and kills mold and mildew all at once - without needing to use harsh chemicals.

Make sure you run the wash cycle with heated water instead of cold water as high temperatures will help citric acid penetrate into hardened gunk, making them easier to remove. If you're using a liquid citric acid solution, then heat up water in an electric kettle to wash away scum with hot water.

Helpful Tip: To clean with citric acid in its liquid form, use the solution the same way you would white vinegar to clean a dishwasher. Place the citric acid solution in a spray bottle, and spritz all around the dirty dishwasher. Sprinkle baking soda as an optional ingredient, and scrub the grime away with a brush. You will need to use a bit of elbow grease to remove stains and mineral deposits.

Step 3: Run a Second Cycle, then Rinse

Run another wash cycle, but this time using your regular dish detergent in the detergent cup. This will remove any remaining citric acid residue, and wash away the loosened grime build up. This will also unclog the spray arm of your dishwasher after citric acid loosened the stuck grime. Run a full rinse cycle afterwards (rinse aid is optional).

Step 4: Let the Dishwasher Dry

Open the door to your dishwasher, and let the appliance air dry. This will prevent mold and mildew from growing in the cracks of your appliance, and keep your dishwasher clean. Deep cleaning your dishwasher once a month or every two months ensures spotless dishes, and a sanitary cleaning appliance!

Tips on Maintaining a Clean Dishwasher

  • Dry the dishwasher by leaving the door open, and facing a fan to the interior to prevent mold and mildew buildup.
  • Use soft water to rinse your dishwasher to avoid hard water spots.
  • Clean the dishwasher with citric acid, vinegar, or other acidic solutions on a routine basis.
  • Keep your kitchen clean.

Don't have time to clean your kitchen? Home maintenance can take a lot of time and energy that you may not have. Luce Home has got your back in keeping your home clean and pristine! Our cleaning services will make sure your home is spotless - everything from your living room to the kitchen, and even the bathrooms get cleaned and sanitized.

Check our more tips and tricks on kitchen cleaning on our blog! 

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