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How to Clean a Dishwasher and Keep Your Dishwasher Sanitary & Working Well

When you place your dishes into the dishwasher after a delicious meal, you expect them to come out clean, sparkling, and sanitized. However, a dishwasher can become one of the dirtiest places in the home if it’s not properly cleaned and maintained. Here is some information about how to clean dishwasher parts, such as the racks, drain, and spray arms. We’ll also address common issues, like clogs and mold, and recommend how often to clean your dishwasher.

What to Use to Clean Dishwasher?

As with any household job, cleaning the dishwasher starts with the right set of tools. Vinegar is excellent for removing dirt and grime from a dishwasher without the use of harsh chemicals. It also helps to have a thin wire on hand to clean the gunk of out the spray arm holes, a toothbrush for caked-on grime, and a box of baking soda to sprinkle at the bottom before running a hot water cycle.

How to Clean Dishwasher with Vinegar

Vinegar is an essential ingredient in every household because it is so versatile for cleaning. The fist step in cleaning your dishwasher is to remove the bottom rack to take a look at the drain and identify any food debris or clogs. If there are no issues, pour two cups of white vinegar into a glass measuring cup and let it sit on the top rack. Run the machine like you normally would, but with hot water and no detergent inside. Also, don’t use the heat-dry setting. This process will wash away grease and other undesirable residue, as well as bad odors.

How to Clean Dishwasher Drain

First, pull out the bottom rack of the dishwasher to make the drain easier to access. Then check the drain area for any food chunks, hair, bones, shells, or pieces of broken glass. Carefully remove those items from the drain, perhaps using a tweezers, or use an old toothbrush to scrub them out of tight spaces.

How to Clean a Clogged Dishwasher

Dishwashers tend to back up over time with regular use, and clogs are often the result of an issue with your garbage disposal. Run your garbage disposal to get rid of any potential clogs inside of it and see if that helps your dishwasher run better. It may also help to clean the air gap next to the faucet and on your kitchen counter. Vinegar is also useful in breaking up a drain clog when combined with baking soda, allowing the mixture to sit in the drain for about 15 minutes, and then pouring boiling water down the drain to clear out debris.

How to Get Rid of Mold in Dishwasher

Mold, mildew, and fungi can all grow inside of a dishwasher because these organisms love dark and damp places. You can use a mixture of ¾ cup bleach with a gallon of water for the walls and plastic parts of your dishwasher to kill mold. However, white distilled vinegar also works great to kill bacteria and mold, and it’s safer to use than bleach. For mild-to-moderate mold issues, you may be able to simply scrub it off with a soap and water solution and a hard-bristled brush.

How Often to Clean a Dishwasher and Other Considerations

In most households, it’s a good idea to clean the dishwasher’s drain and filter about once per month. If you use your dishwasher multiple times every day, you may need to do a vinegar cycle more frequently.

If plumbing issues are to blame for your dishwasher not working, Central Plumbing Specialties can help. With multiple New York locations, we’re your one-stop source for plumbing needs in the kitchen, and we also carry a stunning line of decorative kitchen fixtures like faucets, sinks, and finishing touches. We hope you’ve found this cleaning guide useful and will now be able to keep your dishwasher cleaner, safer, and working well for many years to come!

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