How to Clean Your Dishwasher So It’s Sparkling Clean

Hey there, folks! Today, we’re diving into an appliance that often gets overlooked when it comes to cleaning – the dishwasher. We all know it’s a champ at cleaning our dirty dishes, but guess what? It needs a little TLC too! Think about it; it’s like the unsung hero of your kitchen, working tirelessly to make your life easier. So, let’s show your dishwasher some love and get it sparkling clean.

Why Clean Your Dishwasher?

Before we jump into the how-tos, let’s quickly chat about why cleaning your dishwasher is essential. Just like a car needs maintenance, your dishwasher does too. Over time, bits of food, grease, and soap scum can build up inside, leading to a few issues:

  1. Funky Odors: Ever opened your dishwasher and thought, “What’s that smell?” Well, it’s probably time for a clean. Those lingering food particles can create some nasty odors.
  2. Clogged Sprayers: A dirty dishwasher can result in clogged spray arms, which means your dishes might not get as clean as they should.
  3. Reduced Efficiency: All that gunk can make your dishwasher work harder, which means higher energy bills and a shorter lifespan for your trusty machine.
  4. Unsightly Stains: Ever noticed stains or spots on your dishes? That could be due to buildup in the dishwasher.

So, cleaning your dishwasher isn’t just for the appliance’s sake; it’s for your benefit too!

Clean Your Dishwasher

What You’ll Need

Before we get down and dirty (pun intended), gather your cleaning supplies. You won’t need anything fancy – just some household items:

  1. Vinegar: This kitchen staple is a natural cleaner that’ll do wonders for your dishwasher.
  2. Baking Soda: It’s great for scrubbing away stains and odors.
  3. A Toothbrush or Soft Bristle Brush: Perfect for reaching those nooks and crannies.
  4. A Screwdriver: You might need this to remove the sprayer arm for a thorough cleaning.
  5. A Rag or Sponge: For wiping down the exterior.

Now that we’re all set, let’s get to work!

Step 1: Empty the Dishwasher

First things first, make sure your dishwasher is empty. No dishes, no utensils – nothing. This is the best starting point for a deep clean.

Step 2: Remove and Clean the Dish Racks

The dishwasher’s interior isn’t the only thing that needs attention. Pull out the dish racks and give them a good once-over. Look for any stuck-on food bits or debris, and use your toothbrush or soft bristle brush to scrub them away. If they’re really dirty, you can soak them in warm, soapy water for a bit.

Step 3: Check the Drain

Now, let’s focus on the drain area. This is where all the leftover food particles go, and it’s a common spot for clogs. Pop out the bottom rack and remove any visible debris from the drain area.

Step 4: Wipe Down the Interior

Take a moment to admire the inner workings of your dishwasher. See those nooks and crannies? That’s where gunk loves to hide. Dip your toothbrush or soft brush in some vinegar and scrub away any buildup. Be thorough!

Step 5: Clean the Spray Arms

The spray arms are what make sure your dishes get squeaky clean. If they’re clogged, your dishwasher can’t do its job properly. Remove the spray arms (you might need that screwdriver for this part), and rinse them under running water to remove any trapped debris. If they’re really grimy, soak them in vinegar for an hour or so, and then give them a good scrub.

Step 6: Run a Vinegar Cycle

Now that you’ve tackled the visible grime, it’s time to give your dishwasher’s insides a good overall clean. Pour a cup of vinegar into a dishwasher-safe container and place it on the top rack. Then, run a hot water cycle with no dishes in the dishwasher. The vinegar will help break down any remaining gunk and eliminate odors.

Remove and Clean the Dish Racks

Step 7: Baking Soda Magic

After the vinegar cycle is complete, it’s time to sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher. This will help absorb any lingering odors and break down stains. Run a short hot water cycle again, and voilĂ !

Step 8: Wipe Down the Exterior

While your dishwasher is doing its baking soda magic, take a moment to wipe down the exterior. A damp cloth or sponge will do the trick. Pay extra attention to the control panel and handles, as these areas tend to get greasy.

Step 9: Final Rinse

Once the baking soda cycle is done, give your dishwasher one final rinse by running a short, hot water cycle with nothing inside. This ensures that any remaining vinegar or baking soda residue is washed away.

Step 10: Shine On, You Crazy!

Now, take a step back and admire your handiwork. Looking and smelling so much better! And just like that, you’ve given your trusty appliance the spa day it deserves.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. How often should I clean my dishwasher?
  • It’s a good idea to clean your dishwasher once a month for routine maintenance. However, if you notice odors or stains, don’t hesitate to give it a clean sooner.
  1. Can I use bleach to clean my dishwasher?
  • While bleach can be effective, it’s harsh and can damage the rubber seals and plastic components of your dishwasher. We recommend sticking with vinegar and baking soda for a gentler clean.
  1. My dishwasher still smells after cleaning it. What should I do?
  • If odors persist, try leaving a small bowl of baking soda in the empty dishwasher overnight. Also, make sure to regularly clean the filter and check for food debris in the drain area.
  1. Are there any dishwasher cleaning products I can buy?
  • Yes, cleaning tablets and solutions available in stores. They can be convenient, but you can achieve excellent results using vinegar and baking soda, which are more budget-friendly.
  1. Can I clean the dishwasher with dishes inside?
  • It’s best to clean your dishwasher with an empty interior. This ensures that the cleaning agents can work effectively on all the hidden nooks and crannies.


There you have it, folks – a step-by-step guide to getting your dishwasher sparkling clean. Your dishes will thank you, and your kitchen will smell fresher than ever. After all, it’s the unsung hero of your kitchen, quietly working its magic so you can enjoy clean dishes hassle-free. Happy cleaning!

Mark Andrews

Mark Andrews is a culinary artisan, renowned for his unwavering dedication to the world of pasta. With a profound passion for the art of pasta-making, he has transformed his love for this Italian staple into a lifelong pursuit of perfection.

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