How to Clean Your Dishwasher for a Streak-Free Shine 

how to clean your dishwasher

Hot water, no light, and food particles? It’s a perfect place for bacteria to grow. 

Your dishwasher is a breeding ground for germs, bacteria, and fungus. While it may seem like an appliance that scrubs your dishes day in and day out wouldn’t need attention, it’s important to give your dishwasher a thorough cleaning. Otherwise, you could just be spreading all of that bacteria around your dishwasher and onto your dishes. 

Without regular cleaning, you’ll start to notice a slight residue or find food remnants left on your dishes long after the rinse cycle ends. Your dishwasher may even start to smell. The whole point of having a dishwasher is to make cleaning dishes easier!

Cleaning your dishwasher regularly is the best way to ensure that with every cycle, you end up with sparkling clean dishes and gleaming glasses and tableware. 

how to clean your dishwasher

What You May Not Know About Your Dishwasher

Perhaps your household shares the same age-old debate about doing the dishes: To pre-rinse or not to pre-rinse your dishes? That is the question. 

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s actually a good idea to merely scrape plates and dishes before they go in the dishwasher. Why is this? Because dishwasher detergents are designed to cling to food particles to work the way they are supposed to. 

Your favorite detergent contains enzymes that need these solid food particles. Once activated by water, the enzymes break down the food proteins into smaller and smaller particles until they release from the dishes and wash away down the drain. 

How to Clean Your Dishwasher

You can clean your dishwasher inside and out using a few household items you likely already have sitting on the shelf in your pantry. Once per month you can use a dishwasher cleaner to keep your dishwasher fresh, but you’ll still need to clean your dishwasher from time to time. 

How often should you clean your dishwasher? Follow this schedule:

  • Daily: Remove visible bits of food
  • Weekly: Wipe down the dishwasher door and gasket and clean the filter
  • Monthly: Deep clean the interior
  • When needed: Clean and buff the exterior

There are a few ways you can clean your dishwasher so you end up with bright, shiny dishes every time. 

Cleaning Your Dishwasher Drain Trap

You should check your dishwasher drain trap frequently to see if it’s hanging onto bits of food, grit, and gristle. Large pieces of food are the most common cause of clogs in your dishwasher drain. 

Begin by removing and disassembling your dishwasher train trap. Once it’s been carefully taken apart, you can use a sponge or a toothbrush loaded up with dish soap to remove any stuck-on bits of food or mold, then rinse, re-assemble, and replace it. 

For Everyday Cleaning

You can clean your dishwasher with basic white vinegar or baking soda

To clean your dishwasher with white vinegar, fill a dishwasher-safe cup or bowl with white vinegar and place it on the upper rack of your dishwasher. Run the dishwasher empty, on the hottest setting so that the vinegar can kill any germs and rid the walls of your dishwasher with any grimy buildup. 

To clean your dishwasher with baking soda, sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda along the bottom of the dishwasher and run your dishwasher on the hottest cycle. 

To Clear the Spray Arms

Your machine has both upper and lower spray arms that deliver water to your full load of dishes. If these are even partially clogged, it can impact the ability to clean your dishes. You need to remove the spray arms, clear them of debris, then put them back. 

Here is how to do this:

  1. Turn off the electrical supply to your dishwasher by turning off the breaker. 
  2. Remove the lower rack of your dishwasher and set it aside.
  3. Remove the spray arms according to your owner’s manual.
  4. Thread a thin, flexible piece of wire through the spray arms (but not a coat hanger) to clear out debris or mineral deposits
  5. You can also soak your spray arms in white vinegar for about two hours to further clean them. 
  6. Replace the spray arms, turn on the electrical supply, then test your machine to see if it’s properly working.

Try Professional House Cleaning Services

Throughout Indianapolis and the north suburbs, Housekeeping Maid Easy offers a wide range of services for residential cleaning, from a weekly cleaning service to monthly cleaning services, deep cleaning services, and more, we can provide the additional help you need to keep every part of your home clean—including customized services to handle things like your dishwasher. 

Our house cleaning service is always tailored to you. Whether you need monthly house cleaning, or just need your dishwasher cleaned, we’re here for you. Take a look at our client testimonials and COVID-19 policy, then request a quote today!