How to Clean a Dishwasher

March 21, 2017

How to Clean a Dishwasher

Without a doubt, the dishwasher is a wonderful addition to any home. Whether your family eats most dinners on the run or sits down together for a complete meal, the aftermath is the same. Total chaos. When the countertop is piled high with plates, cups, pans, silverware and more, your trusty dishwasher is there to accept and clean it all, with the touch of a button. But most of us forget our trusty dishwashing friend also requires some TLC.

Here’s a tip, if you don't clean your dishwasher regularly, over time food debris, scum from soap and detergents and grease will build up inside; where grease, food particles and scum collect, germs will thrive.

Your dishwasher’s efficiency is also affected by a build-up of dirt and grease. How often do you open your dishwasher after the dry cycle, expecting to see clean dishes but instead find debris on your plates? That’s your key to take a few simple steps to stop the accumulation of icky dirt, grease and germs on the inside of your dishwasher.  It's actually easier than you think.

Begin with the exterior

If your dishwasher is stainless steel, a glass cleaner is the most effective way to clean fingerprints, grime, dirt, and grease. If the exterior is plastic, use hot water, dish soap and a sponge. Never spray a cleaner on the exterior directly. You could destroy the electronic controls on the front of the machine. Always apply cleaner with a soft cloth or paper towel.

Mind the filter

A word of warning, the filter in your dishwasher will accumulate a lot of bad smelling debris. It's very important to clean it well and often Remove the filter and soak it in warm, soapy water for at least ten minutes. Use a toothbrush to remove any food particles that have not washed away. Be gentle, your filter may be fragile. While you’re replacing the filter, inspect the drain of your dishwasher carefully. Remove any food particles or debris. That will help to enhance drainage which makes for cleaner dishes.

Deodorize the dishwasher

To deodorize, use a vinegar wash.  Dump a cup of white vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher or place it in a safe container on the upper rack. Then, start the hot-water, heavy clean cycle. Once done, your dishwasher will be sparkling clean and smell fresh.

If you aren’t a fan of vinegar, you could use a cup of baking soda. Just place it in the bottom of the dishwasher or in a container on the upper rack and leave it there overnight. In the morning, run a hot water, heavy clean cycle to deodorize.

Check for tough grime

If you’ve done all of the above, your dishwasher is probably clean. However, if you still see grime and grease in corners or in seals, use a toothbrush to gently scrub it away with soapy water or baking soda paste.

Baking soda and vinegar aren't the only deodorizers you can use. Borax also works. If you have mold in your machine, you should use bleach to get rid of it. Some even swear by Kool-Aid and Popsugar as an effective cleaner.  Whatever cleaner and method you use, having a clean and odor-free dishwasher is so important to your family’s health and well-being. So don’t forgot to do it!

Of course, remembering to clean your dishwasher pales in comparison to remembering if you’ve washed the dishes inside! How often have you reached in your dishwasher on a busy morning expecting to pull out a clean coffee cup, only to find nothing but dirty dishes? All you wanted was a nice cup of coffee!

Never fear, Glide Signs makes it easy to know whether or not the dishes inside your dishwasher are clean or dirty. Go to and see how a simple magnet can make your mornings easier.