How to Deep Clean a Dishwasher

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Dishwashers are handy around kitchens as they make dinnerware cleanup simple and convenient, but what happens when your dishwasher is in need of a deep clean? How do you clean the machine that does the cleaning?

In this article, we'll show you the step-by-step process on how to clean a dishwasher with ease! Thankfully, the same cleaning process used to clean your dishes can clean your dishwasher too. Understanding how to clean a dishwasher would help upkeep your machine to make it more durable, effective, and better at washing your dirty dishes.

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What You'll Need

Since the dishwasher has its own cleaning process, you don't need a lot of supplies to get your dishwasher clean. You'll only need some pantry staples, and know how to clean a dishwasher without any dishes inside.

  • Dishwasher detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge
  • Scrub brush
  • Dishwasher-safe bowl
  • Clean cloth
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How to Clean Your Dishwasher: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Empty Dishwasher

First off, make sure your dishwasher is empty before you start cleaning it. Remove any plates or dishes from the machine so you can give the interior a complete clean. Keep the dishwasher filter and racks in place, however.

Step 2: Fill a Bowl with Vinegar

Next, fill a dishwasher-safe bowl with one to two cups of white vinegar. Some deep cleaning guides online will tell you to place the vinegar directly into the detergent line or water line, but this may damage the hoses of your machine. Instead, it is safer and just as effective to clean your dishwasher by placing a cup or bowl of vinegar in it.

Place the cup right in the middle of the bottom rack. The vinegar will break down any remaining bits of food particles, soap scum, grease, and oils from your dirty plates and dinnerware. Vinegar will also kill off any mold or mildew that formed in your machine.

Step 3: Run a Dishwasher Cycle

Run the dishwasher on a hot water cycle. The hot water should loosen any dried food residue, while the bowl filled with vinegar will work to clean the stains out of your dirty dishwasher. You don't need to add any cleaning solution into your machine.

Step 4: Clean the Dishwasher Door, Dishwasher Filter and Racks

After the vinegar cycle has finished, clean your dishwasher filter by removing any debris it has caught, then scrub the door with a soft sponge to loosen the dirt. Remove the stainless steel interior racks if possible, and use a scrub brush to brush out the hard to reach areas of the racks with dish soap, then place the racks back into your machine.

Step 5: Clean the Drainage

Sprinkle baking soda onto the drainage line, and follow up with some fresh vinegar. Let the solution bubble and sit for 10 minutes, then use a bristle scrub brush to remove any grime residue from the drain lines. Rinse out with water to remove the muck, and prevent it from getting into the interior of your dishwasher.

Step 6: Run a Rinse Cycle

Run a rinse cycle to remove any soap and vinegar residue, and to finish the full cycle. Don't forget to clean your dishwasher on its exterior as well, using a damp cloth with a drop of mild dish soap.

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What to Avoid When Cleaning Your Dishwasher

There are a couple of do's and don'ts when understanding how to clean a dishwasher. It is important to note not to add anything into the dishwasher's compartments, such as vinegar or baking soda into the detergent compartment. These ingredients, while food-safe, can damage the lines of your machine over time. Here are notable things to avoid:

  • Do not fill the dishwasher with anything other than water and detergent in their respective compartments.
  • Never use regular dishwashing liquid in a dishwasher. These would cause your machine to overflow with bubbles.
  • Avoid placing greasy dishes into the dishwasher. Rinse your plates with the spray arm of your sink first before placing it into the dishwasher to clean.
  • Do not use abrasive cleaners in your dishwasher as these can scratch your machine.
  • Do not use non-food safe cleaners to clean your dishwasher.
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Cleaning Made Easy

At Luce Home, we know that efficiency and convenience is key to proper housekeeping, which is why our clients trust our cleaning services for their homes! Our professional cleaners are experts in cleaning different areas of the home, and our deep cleaning services will get your household running smoothly.

Give us a call today, and we can schedule a cleaning session with an experienced cleaner! 

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