Cleaning 101: Tips To Cleaning Your Dishwasher

Studio 512

I recently found out that dishwashers have to be cleaned…who knew… well, not me! After learning this, I instantly googled, “Do You Really Need To Clean Your Dishwasher?” Turns out you do, even though your dishwasher’s job is to clean. Here are some ways you can clean your dishwasher to make sure it’s really doing its job! Trust me, it’s easy! Disclaimer: These steps work for most dishwashers, but make sure to review your owner’s manual before getting started.

Materials Needed:

  • Distilled white vinegar
    • This pantry staple can clean and deodorize a dishwasher
  • Baking soda
    • Helps deodorize the inside of the dishwasher and make it look shiny and new
  • Cloths, soft rags or paper towels
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpick


STEP 1: Empty Dishwasher

STEP 2: Remove Filter

Under the bottom dish rack (in most dishwasher models), you’ll find a drain filter. This is often where bits of trapped food get stuck, causing unpleasant odors. Remove the filter and wash it with dish soap and hot water. If it requires a deeper clean, use a toothbrush.

STEP 3: Clean Main Tub

Remove any leftover food and spray vinegar to clean the interior. Use a toothbrush if you need to scrub.

TIP: If your dishwasher is stinky, sprinkle about 1 cup of baking soda over the bottom, then run a hot water cycle as usual, but with no detergent.

STEP 4: Check The Spinning Arms

Make sure all the holes are open so water can run through them freely. Clear out any debris that has built up in the holes of the spinning arm using a toothpick.

STEP 5: Add Vinegar To A Bowl On The Top Rack

Pour a cup of vinegar into a small dishwasher-safe bowl and place the bowl on the top rack of the dishwasher. Run a hot water cycle (sanitary cycle) without detergent. You only need to do this step once a month.

STEP 6: Wipe Down Exterior

Clean the exterior, buttons, and panel thoroughly. You can use vinegar, soap, and water or if you have stainless steel, I like to use Weiman Stainless Steel Wipes. TIP: After using the stainless steel wipes, use a paper towel or microfiber towel to wipe the dishwasher down for a fingerprint-free, streak-free shine.

So, how often should you clean your dishwasher?

Here is a quick guide:

  • Daily: Remove bits of food
  • Weekly: Wipe down the dishwasher door, gasket, and clean the filter
  • Monthly: Deep clean the interior

TIP: Next time you go grocery shopping, pick up these Lemi Shine Dishwasher Cleaner Pouches or In Wash Dishwasher Cleaner Tabs. They are easy alternatives to the vinegar in a bowl hack.

According to Cascade, your dishwasher saves 100 gallons of water a week!

When you use your dishwasher every night instead of handwashing for just 10 minutes, you save 100 gallons of water a week. That’s over 5,000 gallons in a year or more than 80,000 glasses of water.”

Do you have any home cleaning hacks?

Send us an email at, we’d love to hear from you!

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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