As you spring-clean your home, make sure your dishwasher is getting some love! For an appliance that's job is to clean, it also needs some cleaning itself. Tiny bits of food, grease and soap scum can bind together and collect in all the nooks and crannies of your dishwasher, causing bacteria buildup and odors. Therefore, a quarterly cleaning is important.
With an empty dishwasher, remove the bottom rack and examine the drain to ensure there are no items that could plug it, cause damage to the pump, or scratch dishes. Next, fill a dishwasher safe bowl with vinegar. Place the bowl on the top rack and run the dishwasher on the hottest and longest cycle to sanitize and loosen food and soap scum. This will also help remove any musty odor. After that cycle is finished, sprinkle a handful of baking soda around the bottom of the dishwasher using a short cycle on the hottest setting. This will further remove any odor and help with any stains.
Deep-cleaning your dishwasher should be done seasonally, but there are several things you can do on a regular basis to keep it clean:
- Run your garbage disposal before starting the dishwasher. Most dishwashers drain into the same pipe as the sink, so clearing the drain will help with food particles.
- Make sure your water is hot enough to effectively clean. Your water heater should be set to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While it's always great to fill the dishwasher up in an effort to conserve water and energy, filling it too full can hinder cleaning functionality.
For more information on cleaning your dishwasher, watch the video below.