How To Clean Your Dishwasher
These 3 easy steps will get rid of odours and restore your dishwasher’s cleaning ability to its former glory!
TL;DR: Use hot soapy water to clean the outside, being careful of the electronic controls. Remove & rinse the filter (if not self-cleaning) in the sink. Remove food scraps blocking the spray arm, clean and rinse off in the sink. Deodorise by running a cycle with a small bowl of white vinegar solution on the bottom rack. Complete this process once a month.
With nearly 12 million of us finding space for them in our kitchen, dishwashers have become a staple of Australian life. Whether looking after your family or living the bachelor(ette) lifestyle, it's pretty evident they aren't going anywhere anytime soon - just don't call us lazy!
They do have a few drawbacks. For it to work optimally and keep bad smells at bay, you need to clean your dishwasher regularly. The following tips show you how to keep it fresh and running well.
How to clean the outside of your dishwasher
First, begin with the outside. Because you will be using your dishwasher most days it means it will get dirty.
If the front of your dishwasher is plastic, wipe it down with hot soapy water and a sponge.
If your dishwasher is stainless steel, window cleaner is great for removing smudges, grime and fingerprints. Never spray the cleaner straight onto your dishwasher as the liquid could get into the electronic controls and damage them. Rather spray the cleaner onto a cloth and then wipe down your dishwasher. If you prefer using natural ingredients located around your home, opt for a white vinegar and water solution. Just mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray onto a cloth. The low acidity of the vinegar also kills any surface bacteria.
We recommend wiping down your dishwasher a couple of times a week to keep it fresh and clean.
White vinegar is an amazing natural cleaning option when harsh chemicals are a no go. Here's a great method using white vinegar to clean mould from your ceiling.
How to clean your dishwasher filters
A key factor to consider when choosing a dishwasher is the filter type it uses. Self-cleaning filters work by grinding food waste into a pulp, allowing it to be easily washed down the drain. Alternatively, manual filters collect food waste using a fine mesh, preventing drain blockages but requiring a rinse under the tap to keep an effective water flow and reduce bad odours.
Manual filters are very common in newer dishwashers because of their quieter operation. But if you don’t regularly clean them, your dishwasher emits a foul smell.
Once a week remove the dishwasher’s bottom rack to gain access to the filter system. It is made up of a few interlocking parts so it’s easy to access. Normally, there is a cylinder in the centre that you unscrew to lift the system out of the dishwasher. Take the filter system apart and clean each of the parts in the sink.
You should also use a small brush to dislodge any food scraps or grainy pieces that will result in clogging the mesh filter.
After you have cleaned all of the various filter parts, check for food scraps that may be trapped in the spray arm. You should be able to remove the spray arm by lifting it off its base with a gentle pull. Rinse the spray arm in the sink, and remember to check for clogged holes. If you find any clogs, clear them using a toothpick or skewer.
How to deodorise and sanitise your dishwasher using white vinegar
As you use your dishwasher often, you will find that discolourations form throughout the inside of the machine. Odours will penetrate into the interior materials, too.
You can solve both of these problems using white vinegar. This is done by putting a clean bowl with a few cups of vinegar in the centre of the bottom rack. Run a normal cycle without dishwasher detergent. As the vinegar disperses throughout the cycle, your dishwasher should be left deodorised and sanitised. If you fancy a super clean dishwasher repeat the same process but this time with baking soda. Measure 1 cup of baking soda and place it in a bowl in the centre of the bottom rack. Once the cycle is complete, use a kitchen sponge to gently remove any remaining stains.
Have some baking soda left over? Why not clean the oven glass you've been avoiding!
If you find that there is still discolouration, normally caused by mineral deposits from the water, you may need to use a tough dishwasher cleaner.
You should look to do this process once a month, but you may need to do it more frequently based on the build-up in your machine and frequency it is used.
Your dishwasher is your best friend, so treat it to regular clean ups. In turn, it will treat you to many years of faithful service and many free hours to spend doing other useful and fun activities, like cleaning your shower screen!