2021 Guide For Cleaning the Dishwasher

Where would we be without our dishwashers?

Well, we’d certainly be spending a lot more time in the kitchen. These valuable appliances save us hours every week. 

After cooking a big meal, the last thing you want to do is wash a sink full of dirty dishes. Thanks to your trusty dishwasher, you can simply load all your plates and cutlery into the machine, press start, and you’re good to go.

In the kitchen, we regularly clean most of the appliances that we use each day. We clean the oven, the countertops, and even the coffee maker. But what about our dishwasher? Even though we might forget about it sometimes, dishwashers need cleaning too.


Why Should I Clean the Dishwasher?

Doesn’t your dishwasher clean itself each time it does a load of dishes? Not exactly. Here’s why you should give it a deep clean:

  • Safety. When it comes to food preparation, the distinction between disinfecting vs. cleaning is particularly important. If your dishes aren’t disinfected properly, someone might get sick. You can use bleach to sanitize and disinfect your dishwasher—however, don’t do this if it’s made of stainless steel (or else you’ll stain the finish!). For that, you’ll need to use another disinfectant, like isopropyl alcohol.
  • Efficiency. If you’ve ever done a load of dishes, only to find that your plates are still greasy with food stuck to them, then your dishwasher needs a good cleaning.  Washing your dishes by hand can take hours, and sometimes you can’t get things as clean as you’d like them to be. But a dirty dishwasher won’t perform much better. 
  • It makes the appliance last longer. A build-up of food waste can cause damage to your dishwasher, which may require repairs. 

Convinced that it’s time to clean your dishwasher? Here’s how to do it:


How to Clean Your Dishwasher:

Time to dive into the meat and potatoes of this post. A fair word of warning: if you haven’t cleaned your dishwasher in a while, you might not like what you find when you do. 

Here’s what you’ll need to do the job:

  •  A scrubbing tool (An old toothbrush or sponge will work just fine.)
  • Hot soapy water 
  • Vinegar 
  • Rubber gloves


  1. To start, run your dishwasher with only one coffee mug on the rack. Place the mug facing up and fill it with vinegar. Then, run your dishwasher on a regular cycle, and allow it to air dry once completed.


  1. Now it’s time for a deeper clean. Remove each part of your dishwasher, including both racks and the cutlery tray. Place these in your kitchen sink and soak them in hot water with soap. You can add vinegar as well.


  1. Using your rubber gloves and a wet towel, wipe down the outer panel and the sides of your dishwasher. Make sure to scrub the areas where the door seals. Within your dishwasher, wipe down the spinning component near the top. Wash down the interior sides and along the bottom. There, you’ll find the filter.


  1. Next, identify what kind of filter is in your dishwasher. Some dishwashers are self-cleaning; they operate similarly to the garbage disposal in your sink. But modern models rarely use these filters because they’re so noisy. More often than not, your dishwasher will have a manual filter that needs to be cleaned regularly. 

If your filter is manual, you can remove it and clean around and underneath it. This area is where food accumulates, so make sure to give it a thorough cleaning. 


  1. To clean the filter itself, place it under hot running water. Allow the pressure to remove any pieces of food stuck to the filter. At this stage, you can use the toothbrush to move any stubborn bits.


Now that your filter is cleaned, you can reattach it to your dishwasher. Rinse off the racks that were soaking in your sink and insert them back into place. Your dishwasher is good to go! 

How often should you clean your dishwasher? That depends on how thoroughly you rinse dishes before you load them, and how often you use your dishwasher. On average, aim to clean it at least once or twice a year. Try to clean your manual filter once a month. 


Ever used your dishwasher and found that it… didn’t really wash your dishes? We’ve all been there. If this happens to you, it’s time to give your dishwasher a deep clean.

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