How to Clean Your Dishwasher

Today, we are going to talk about how to do a good, thorough cleaning of your dishwasher.  This is necessary from time to time and if you do it regularly, you should avoid the experience that I had just recently.

The other day I opened up my dishwasher after a load of dishes had run through and instead of the pleasant clean smell I was expecting, I was met with an odor that was, well, let's just say, less than pleasant.

In all my life, I have never experienced this.  Never. Not once.

So, I pulled out the filters and they did indeed look a little gross, so I gave them a good rinse and returned them to the dishwasher thinking that would do the trick.

Nope.  The next time I opened the dishwasher after a load of dishes had been washed I was met with the same funky smell.  This told me that it was time for a thorough cleaning of the dishwasher.

Admittedly, it had been too long since I had done this.  So, I decided while I was at it I would take some pictures and walk through my eight step process. ( I am updating my old blog post on cleaning the dishwasher with my current method.)

8 Easy steps to clean your dishwasher:

1.  Remove the filters and give them a good scrub with soap and hot water.

2.  Fill your sink with hot, soapy water and let your filters soak in there while you are completing the rest of the cleaning of your dishwasher.  (I have two dishwashers, so that is why there are two sets of filters in my sink.)

3. Get a scrub brush and scrub all the areas where the filters used to be.  Scrub any other areas in the dishwasher that look like they need it.  You can see, my dirty dishwasher needed quite a bit of love.

4.  Inspect the sprayer arms and make sure that the holes are not blocked with any food particles, or debris.  As you can see, I had some of that to remove from my sprayers arms as well.

5.  Now, give all the areas that are closed up during the washing process a good scrub.  (i.e. the spaces the door covers when it closes, but the water doesn't get to while it is washing dishes.)  I had to use a toothpick to get some of the gunk out of the corners on the bottom ledge.  Don't forget the inside ledges of the door.

6.  Give your filters that have been soaking a final scrub and a good rinse and return them to the dishwasher.

7.  Put about a tablespoon of Citric Acid in the detergent cup. Close it up and run the empty dishwasher through a full cycle with the hottest water possible.  (Sorry about the extra blurry picture here.)

Citric Acid can sometimes be hard to find.  I found mine at a health food store, but it is also available on Amazon.  I will include an affiliate link for some at the end of the post.

I used to fill an old heavy mug with vinegar as well and run it through the cycle with the citric acid, but I have read that vinegar can be quite corrosive, so just to be on the safe side, I stopped using it.  I feel the citric acid works just as well, if not better, on its own.

8.  While the washer is running, give the outside of the dishwasher a good cleaning.

It is so nice to have both dishwashers clean and sparkling again.  And, the thorough cleaning of my funky smelling dishwasher did the trick. It now smells fresh and clean after every wash.

*Affiliate Link

*Post updated 1/2021