How to Clean a Dish Washer

Understanding How To Clean a Dish Washer, a machine designed for cleaning, might sound funny. However, dishwashers can hold unpleasant things like bad smells, leftover gunk, and even mould. A dirty dishwasher doesn’t just look and smell bad, but it also doesn’t work as well as a clean one.

How To Clean a Dish Washer
How To Clean a Dish Washer

Like how a washing machine performs better with regular cleaning, a dishwasher’s cleanliness affects how well it cleans your dishes. To solve this, it’s important to learn the right way to clean your dishwasher.

Giving your dishwasher a thorough cleaning, even if it’s a high-quality one, might take some work. But doing this not only makes your dishwasher last longer and also helps it work its best. This guide will give you clear instructions on how to clean your dishwasher the right way, even when it’s smelly, has mould, or isn’t cleaning dishes well.

How Often To Clean a Dishwasher 

You can clean your dishwasher every month using a soft brush and common things you already have, like white vinegar and baking soda. Once or twice a year, do a deeper clean with a few more items. Also, make sure to clean the outside of your dishwasher regularly – at least once a week or when it gets dirty.

You should know the time to clean your dishwasher when you notice any of these things:

  • An unpleasant odour.
  • The dishes are getting clean.
  • Dishes smell.
  • Dishes with white or yellow mineral deposits.

What you need:

Tools and Equipment

  • Gentle brush with soft bristles
  • Bendable wire
  • Used toothbrush
  • Cleaning sponge
  • Soft and smooth microfiber cloths


  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda.
  • Soap for washing dishes
  • Special cleaner for shiny stainless steel
  • Olive oil or gentle baby oil (for stainless steel)
  • Cleaner made for dishwashers (optional)

How To Clean a Dishwasher

After gathering all your tools and materials, then you proceed to clean your dishwasher. Here are the steps to follow to give your dishwasher a sparkling experience.

Step 1: Take Everything Out

Empty your dishwasher of all the dishes and silverware. If you can, take out the racks too, so you can clean them more easily. If the racks can’t be removed, don’t worry about it, just leave it there.

Step 2: Wash the Racks and Rubber Seals

Use hot soapy water and a scrub brush to clean the racks and the rubber seals around the door. Another way is to spray them generously with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water, and then gently scrub.

Step 3: Scrub the Inside Walls

Because the dishwasher gets used a lot, soap scum and dirt build up on the walls and door. Scrubbing them with hot soapy water and a cloth or scrub brush can make a big difference.

Step 4: Clean the Dishwasher Filter

When your dishwasher smells bad, it’s usually because the drain filter is clogged. If your dishwasher has one, it’s probably at the bottom back of the tub. Remove this filter and clean it in your kitchen sink with hot soapy water, or the vinegar mixture, and use a bottle brush to get into all the little spaces.

Step 5: Unclog the Drain

Now that the filter is out, clean the dishwasher drain. Get rid of any food bits or gunk, then use a sponge and hot soapy water, or the vinegar mix, to clean. After that, rinse and put the filter back.

Step 6: Run Two Wash Cycles

To clean your dishwasher, run two separate cycles: one with vinegar and one with baking soda. “For the first cycle, put a bowl with vinegar on the top rack and run the dishwasher normally,” Peterson says. “After that, pour a cup of baking soda in the bottom and run another cycle.”

Step 7: Clean the Outside

While your dishwasher is running, clean the outside. For stainless steel, use a special cleaner and wipe with a cloth that doesn’t leave lint. For plastic or glass surfaces, wipe with a damp cloth and a little bit of detergent. Then rinse with another damp cloth and dry. If the outside is glass, you can use glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth too.

How to Prevent Having a Smelly Dishwasher

Whenever water and bits of food get together, smells can happen. Follow these tips to stop odours and help your dishwasher stay clean for a long time:

  • Rinse your dishes and silverware well before putting them in the dishwasher.
  • Give your dishwasher a deep clean every one to four months.
  • Clean the drain and filter of your dishwasher at least once a month.
  • Run vinegar and baking soda cycles every two weeks.
  • Make sure the dishwasher’s water is running hot.
  • Avoid using other hot-water stuff while the dishwasher is on (so it gets enough hot water).
  • Keep your dishwasher slightly open when it’s not being used to stop mould.
  • If you’re not using the dishwasher for a while (like during a vacation), put newspaper or a bowl of baking soda inside.


Why is it Important To Clean a Dishwasher?

Cleaning your dishwasher helps remove buildup, odours, and mould, making sure it works efficiently and keeps your dishes clean.

Can I use Regular Soap to Clean the Dishwasher?

It’s best to use dish soap, vinegar, or dishwasher-specific cleaners to prevent damage or excess foaming.

Is it Safe to Clean the Dishwasher While it’s Running?

Yes, you can clean the exterior while it’s running, but avoid opening it during a cycle to maintain proper performance.

What if my dishwasher still smells bad after cleaning?

If persistent odours remain, check for clogs, ensure proper drainage, and consider professional inspection if the issue persists.

Can I use bleach to clean my dishwasher?

It’s generally not acceptable or recommended, because bleach can damage dishwasher components and pose health risks if not properly rinsed.



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