Comprehensive Guide on How to Clean Your Dishwasher Properly

Comprehensive Guide on How to Clean Your Dishwasher Properly

The dishwasher has revolutionised the way we handle our daily dishwashing chores, offering convenience, efficiency, and improved hygiene. While handwashing dishes can be a viable option in some situations, utilizing a dishwasher brings a multitude of benefits that extend beyond time-saving convenience.  

Yet, it's essential to remember that they require regular cleaning and maintenance to perform optimally. Did you know that a well-maintained Freestanding Dishwasher and Drawer Dishwasher can last more than a decade? To do so, regular cleaning cycles are needed. Neglecting this crucial step can lead to unpleasant odours, reduced cleaning performance, and even potential damage.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of washing your dishwasher with expert tips, ensuring that it remains in its best condition for years to come. By following these simple yet effective how-to-clean methods, you'll be able to keep your dishwasher spotless and maximise its performance.

Why does a dishwasher need regular maintenance? 

Before delving into the cleaning process, it's important to understand why regular maintenance is essential for your dishwasher. Dishwashers are designed to accommodate large quantities of dishes, making them especially beneficial for families or individuals who entertain frequently. The convenience of being able to load multiple items at once, including plates, glasses, cutlery, and cookware, eliminates the need for repeated handwashing and drying cycles.

However, over time, food particles, grease, soap residue, and mineral deposits can accumulate inside the machine, leading to a variety of issues. These include foul smell, reduced cleaning efficiency, clogged spray arms, and potential damage to the appliance. By adhering to a consistent cleaning routine, you can prevent these problems, extend the lifespan of your dishwasher, and ensure the appliance operates at its peak.

How often should you clean your dishwasher? 

While the frequency of cleaning dishwashers can vary depending on usage and water quality, it is important to establish a maintenance schedule to keep them in top condition. This schedule can vary depending on the frequency at which you use your dishwasher and the hardness of your water supply. If you have hard water, which contains a higher concentration of minerals, it may be necessary to clean your dishwasher more frequently to prevent scaling and clogging.

If you use your dishwasher frequently or have hard water, a monthly cleaning routine is recommended. This helps prevent mineral buildup, grease accumulation, and potential clogs. It also ensures optimal cleaning performance. For households with average dishwasher usage and normal water hardness, cleaning every two months should suffice to maintain its efficiency.

Additionally, regularly cleaning the filter and incorporating descaling treatments when necessary will further enhance the dishwasher's efficiency. By following a consistent maintenance schedule, you can enjoy a clean and well-functioning dishwasher that effectively tackles your dishwashing needs.

How to prepare your dishwasher for cleaning? 

Before getting on the way to the cleaning process, it's important to prepare your dishwasher properly. Start by emptying the dishwasher entirely, and removing any dishes, racks, or utensil holders. Check for any large food particles or debris, and dispose of them in the trash. It's also advisable to disconnect the dishwasher from the power source to ensure safety during the cleaning process. Now let’s dive into the process step by step.

Cleaning the exterior of your dishwasher with water 

The first step in the cleaning process is to focus on the exterior surfaces of your dishwasher. Begin by wiping down the front panel, control buttons, and make sure you handle it with a soft cloth or sponge soaked in a mild detergent solution. For stubborn stains or fingerprints, you can use a non-abrasive cleaner specifically designed for stainless steel or the material of your dishwasher.

Next, pay attention to the edges and seams around the door, as these areas can accumulate grime over time. Use a toothbrush or a small cleaning brush dipped in the detergent solution to clean these hard-to-reach spots. Rinse the exterior surfaces with a clean, damp cloth to remove any soapy residue. Finally, dry the exterior of the machine with a soft cloth to prevent water spots or streaks.

Cleaning the interior of your dishwasher 

To thoroughly clean the interior, start by inspecting the bottom of the tub for any debris or food particles. Use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe away any visible dirt. Once the visible dirt is removed, it's time to tackle more challenging areas.

Cleaning the dishwasher filter

Locate the appliance’s filter, typically found at the bottom of the tub. Remove the filter carefully and rinse it under warm water to eliminate any trapped debris. For filters with stubborn residue, soak them in a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap. Scrub gently with a soft brush to dislodge any remaining particles, then rinse and reinsert the filter.

 Cleaning the spray arms

The spray arms are responsible for distributing water and detergent during the cleaning cycle. Over time, mineral deposits and food particles can clog the spray arm nozzles, hindering their effectiveness. To clean the spray arms, remove them from the dishwasher and rinse them under running water. Use a toothpick or small wire to unclog the spray arm holes, ensuring free water flow. Once clean, reattach the spray arms securely.

Descaling the dishwasher 

As mentioned before, mineral deposits from hard water can build up inside the appliance, affecting its performance. To remove these deposits, place a cup of white vinegar in the top rack of an empty dishwasher and run a hot water cycle. Vinegar's acidic properties will dissolve mineral deposits and eliminate any lingering odours. Alternatively, you can also use a commercial dishwasher cleaner following the manufacturer's instructions.

Cleaning the door gasket and seals 

The door gasket and seals create a watertight seal when it is in use. To prevent leaks and maintain their effectiveness, it's important to keep them clean. Use a damp cloth or sponge soaked in detergent to wipe along the door gasket and seals. Ensure you reach all the folds and crevices to remove any dirt or residue. Rinse the gasket thoroughly and dry it with a clean cloth.

As a consumer, should you opt for dishwasher detergent or vinegar to remove residues in your appliance? 

This is another doubt most users have. While the supermarkets around you offer a wide range of cleaning products specifically designed for dishwashers, you may already have an effective cleaner in your kitchen pantry: plain white vinegar.

Yes, vinegar is a versatile and affordable option that can effectively tackle common dishwasher cleaning tasks such as eliminating stubborn smells and removing built-up grease in the pipes. Nevertheless, it's crucial to note that some dishwasher manufacturers warn against using vinegar due to its acidity, which could potentially cause damage over time. So, make sure you refer to the user manual before proceeding.

To clean your dishwasher using vinegar, follow these steps:

  1. Place a bowl containing two cups of vinegar on the bottom rack of the dishwasher, ensuring that the rest of the appliance is empty.
  2. Run a normal or default cycle, pausing halfway through for approximately 30 minutes to allow the vinegar to soak and work its way.
  3. If the smell persists, add a handful of baking soda and run another cycle.

It's crucial to pour the vinegar into a bowl rather than directly into the dishwasher. Most dishwashers initiate the cycle by running the drain pump, which would immediately drain away the vinegar if poured directly. By using a bowl, you can ensure that the vinegar remains in the dishwasher where it's needed most.

Remember, prior to cleaning your dishwasher with vinegar or any other method, always refer to the user manual for guidance and to avoid potential damage or voiding of the appliance warranty.

 Final Thoughts 

Regularly cleaning your dishwasher is an essential task that helps maintain its performance and longevity. It is also a sign of good housekeeping. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can ensure that your dishwasher remains in optimal condition. Remember to clean both the exterior and interior of the dishwasher, paying close attention to the filter, spray arms, and door gasket. Incorporating these cleaning practices into your routine will not only eliminate unpleasant smells but also improve the dishwasher's cleaning efficiency. Make sure to go through your dishwasher manual before the process. With proper maintenance, your dishwasher will continue to be a reliable ally in your kitchen, providing sparkling clean dishes for years to come.