How To Clean Your Dishwasher

We don’t often think of it, but even the appliances we use for cleaning need to be cleaned from time to time. A dishwasher is exposed to the grease and grime of cooking as well as any contaminants in your water supply. These factors can lead to buildup which may cause your dishwasher to break or suffer in cleaning performance. This guide will show you when and how to clean your dishwasher.

When to Clean Your Dishwasher

Although individual cases may vary, most technicians recommend cleaning your dishwasher once per month. Some signs will be obvious. You may notice white buildup on the walls of the dishwasher, often concentrated around spray holes or drainage. You may also notice signs of rust creating a reddish or yellow color in the tub. In extreme cases, you may even notice that the dishes aren’t getting very clean or the dishwasher makes strained noises during operation. In these cases, you should also see noticeable build up around the spray arms. Like any cleaning chore, it will be much easier to clean if you maintain a regular cleaning schedule.

Ways to Clean Your Dishwasher

There are many methods to clean your dishwasher, which range in price and effectiveness. We’ve included four of the most popular methods for your consideration.

Dishwasher Cleaner

For the safe, professional, and easy method of dishwasher maintenance, try purchasing dishwasher cleaner. These use surfactants to reduce water tension and remove greasy residue from the interior of the machine. They also have a high-acidity content to quickly breakdown limescale. We recommend the Finish Dishwasher Cleaner product line, which is highly effective at cleaning hard water and dishwasher grime.

The Vinegar Method

This easy, cheap, and reliable method takes only one cup of vinegar. Simply pour the cup of vinegar in the basin of your dishwasher before you start an empty load. Vinegar cuts through limescale deposits, which accounts for the majority of dishwasher debris.

Vinegar is great for cleaning your dishwasher. If you want to soak any of the components, fill the sink with hot water and a cup of vinegar. You can also use a cloth dampened with vinegar for cleaning the door seal.

The Borax Method

For hard stains, try using Borax. This cheap and natural substance is great with a damp sponge for scrubbing the floor and door of your dishwasher. Wipe off the residue with a damp cloth. You can even line the bottom of the tub with ¼ cup of Borax for your first load of dishes. Unlike other methods, Borax is safe for dishes.

The Bleach Method

Bleach is a very toxic and harmful chemical, so it should always be used carefully. Do not use this method with stainless steel tubs as bleach damages stainless steel. If you are using a dishwasher with a plastic tub and you have found mold in or around your dishwasher, bleach is very effective at killing mold. You can either clean the area directly using heavily water-diluted bleach and latex gloves (for protection), or fill a cup with bleach, set it on the top tray, then run your dishwasher on the hottest setting. This should sufficiently clean the interior of the machine.

Preventative Measures

  • Use only detergent approved for automatic dishwashers. Do not use soap designed for hand-washing dishes unless it specifically says that it is compatible for dishwasher use. Soap that was not designed for a dishwasher may cause clogging.
  • Run hot water from the tap before starting your dishwasher. By running hot water in advance, you ensure that the water going into the dishwasher is hot. If you do not preheat the water, it will initially be cold and then gradually warm up. This starts your cleaning cycle off on the wrong foot. Hot water performs better than cold water, both for cleaning your dishes and maintaining your dishwasher.
  • Refill your rinse aid dispenser roughly once per month. Rinse aid not only helps to get your dishes cleaner, but also breaks down the particles that collect inside the washing machine. However, rinse aid should not be used if your water supply has already been treated for hard water.
  • By following these simple recommendations, you should be able to improve the performance of your dishwasher and extend its life cycle dramatically. When your dishwasher needs more than a simple cleaning, call on us at Appliance Repair Squad The Squad You Can Rely On.
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