This Hack Will Ensure You Never Pull A Dirty Dish Out of a Clean Dishwasher Again

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You probably assume rinsing and scrubbing your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher was the only maintenance you need to keep the dishwasher in pristine condition. But unfortunately, this kitchen workhorse needs some TLC in order to clean at peak performance and keep your dishes sparkling after every cycle.

At House Beautiful, we will give you a step-by-step guide on how to clean your dishwasher with ingredients you probably already have in your cabinets. As well as some daily maintenance tips and supplies you need to get the job done quickly.

how to load a dishwasher
Victoria Pearson

Before you start, gather all your tools, so you're not running back and forth and accidentally bumping into the dishwasher door (it happens!). The more prepared you are to start the project, the easier it will be.


Step One: Start with a Clean Base

Remove the dish racks to gain access to the interior of the dishwasher. Using a clean cloth, wipe down all the surfaces, concentrating on any areas of residual buildup. Take extra care with the blades and water jets. These smaller spaces tend to trap leftover food and debris.

House Beautiful/Brad Holland

Step Two: Clean the Filter

You may have also overlooked this in the past, but at the bottom of your dishwasher is a filter, and it needs to be cleaned to prevent clogs from leftover food. The easiest way to clean the filter is with warm water and a little dish soap. You can use a toothbrush or sponge to remove the food particles inside of it. Another option is to remove the filter, scrub out the debris and soak it in warm water with vinegar.

How often you'll need to clean the filter will depend on how well your wipe off and rinse your dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. If you load the dishwasher with dirty dishes with food still on the surface, you'll need to clean the filter at least once every two weeks. If your plates go into the dishwasher without food particles, you may only need to clean your filter every three to six months. Whirlpool advises you to check your dishwasher model before removing the filter to clean it. Not all dishwasher models are designed with a removable filter.

Step Three: Add White Vinegar to a Bowl

Once the inside of your dishwasher is clean, place your dish racks back into the machine. Keep the dishwasher empty, place a dishwasher-safe bowl on the top shelf, and fill it with one cup of white vinegar. Then run the dishwasher on a high-temperature setting. Once it's finished, discard the bowl of vinegar.

Step Four: Sprinkle Baking Soda

If you need to eliminate unpleasant odors from your dishwasher, add this step. Generously sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and then run it empty in a hot temperature setting. This will disinfect and remove any residual smells.

Step Five: Wipe Down the Dishwasher

Now that the inside of the dishwasher has been taken care of, it's time to redirect your energy to the exterior. If you have a stainless steel surface, grab polish and wipe down the front with a rag. Then take white vinegar with water in a spray bottle, wipe down the edges, and get into the rubber sealant. You may need to use the toothbrush to scrape out any grime or food crumbs.

Daily Maintenance Tips

After every dishwasher cycle, there are a few tips to keep your dishwasher running at optimum performance. Rinse and remove large food particles from your dishwasher before loading it. Make sure you load your dishes properly for an easy clean cycle. At the end of each cleaning, remove crumbs, glass, or other debris from the bottom of the dishwasher. By following these five easy steps, we can ensure you never pull a dirty dish out of a clean dishwasher again.

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