The dishwasher is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you have. You can clean a great number of dishes at once, saving you time to spend on other activities. As with any other appliance, dishwashers need cleaning and maintenance in order to function properly. A neglected dishwasher will build up pieces of food that, over time, will cause bacteria and fungus to collect, potentially causing permanent damage to your system. If you want to prevent dishwasher damage, follow these simple steps to clean your dishwasher.
1. Wipe the Dishwasher Clean
The first step in cleaning your dishwasher involves cleaning as much of the filter and surface as possible. Using a sponge, wipe every wall and corner that you see, from food particles to filth. Remember to remove the racks to reach smaller areas as well. With the bottom rack removed, remove the filter at the bottom and clear it from any debris inside. Clean the filter itself on the sink. Use a rag soaked in vinegar to clean the door gasket.
2. Run a Vinegar Wash Cycle
Fill a dishwasher-safe bowl with a cup of white vinegar and place it on the top rack of the dishwasher. Run a clear cycle with the bowl on the hottest possible water setting. The vinegar will remove the grease and odors leftover in the dishwasher, as well as any detergents or mineral buildups that developed in the dishwasher over time.
3. Run a Baking Soda Cycle
Once the vinegar cycle is complete, sprinkle a cup of baking soda to the bottom of the rack. Run a short cycle in the hottest water setting available. The baking soda will absorb any additional food elements left in the device. The powder will also help you get rid of any leftover smells. Your dishwasher cleaning should be complete after this step.
4. Run a Bleach Cycle
In case your dishwasher remains dirty after the vinegar and baking soda treatments, or if you have mold and mildew issues, then consider adding between 1/2 to 1 cup of bleach to the bottom and running a full cycle. This step is not recommended for dishwashers with stainless steel interiors, as bleach corrodes stainless steel.