How to Clean Your Dishwasher, A Step By Step Guide

Keeping your dishwasher clean is essential for maintaining its performance and ensuring your dishes come out sparkling every time. Regular maintenance helps prevent unpleasant odours, clogs, and even potential damage. In this tutorial, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to effectively clean your dishwasher.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean a Dishwasher

Materials Needed

  1. Dishwasher-safe cleaning agent (such as vinegar, baking soda, or commercial dishwasher cleaner)
  2. Soft brush or toothbrush
  3. Microfiber cloth or sponge
  4. White vinegar
  5. Optional: Lemon or lemon juice

Follow the simple steps below on how to clean your dishwasher

Step 1: Empty the Dishwasher

Start by ensuring that your dishwasher is completely empty. Remove any dishes, utensils, or debris from the dishwasher racks and the filter.

Step 2: Wipe Down the Interior

Using a damp microfiber cloth or sponge, thoroughly wipe down the interior of the dishwasher. Pay special attention to the walls, door, and the gasket around the door, as these areas often accumulate grime and residue. For stubborn stains or build-up, you can use a soft brush or toothbrush to scrub gently.

Step 3: Clean the Filter

Locate the dishwasher filter, usually at the bottom of the dishwasher. Remove it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Rinse the filter under running water to remove any debris or food particles. If the filter is removable, soak it in warm soapy water for a few minutes, then scrub it gently with a soft brush to remove any stubborn residue. Rinse the filter again and place it back into the dishwasher.

Step 4: Clear the Spray Arms

Check the spray arms, which are responsible for distributing water throughout the dishwasher. If they are clogged or have residue build-up, carefully remove them. Rinse them under running water to remove any debris or mineral deposits. Use a toothpick or a small wire to clear any clogged spray holes. Once clean, reattach the spray arms.

Step 5: Run a Vinegar Cycle

To eliminate any lingering odours and tackle mineral deposits, run a cycle with vinegar. Place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack of your dishwasher. Ensure that the dishwasher is empty, then run a hot water cycle. The vinegar will help dissolve mineral deposits and eliminate any odours.

Step 6: Baking Soda Refresh (Optional)

For an extra cleaning boost and fresh scent, you can sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher. Close the dishwasher and run a short hot water cycle. Baking soda will help remove stains and neutralize any remaining odours.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

After completing the cleaning cycle, inspect the interior of your dishwasher for any remaining spots or residue. If needed, wipe any affected areas with a damp cloth or sponge.

Optional Step: Lemon Freshness

For a natural citrusy fragrance, you can place a halved lemon or pour lemon juice in a dishwasher-safe bowl on the top rack. Run a short hot water cycle to infuse your dishwasher with a refreshing scent.

How often to clean your dishwasher

Cleaning your dishwasher on a regular basis is important to maintain its performance and ensure that your dishes are thoroughly cleaned. The frequency of cleaning will depend on several factors, including the frequency of use, the hardness of your water, and the types of dishes you typically wash. Here is some detailed advice on how often to clean your dishwasher:

Monthly Cleaning

It is generally recommended to perform a monthly deep cleaning of your dishwasher. This involves a more thorough cleaning process to remove any accumulated build-up and prevent potential issues. Monthly cleaning helps ensure optimal performance and extends the lifespan of your dishwasher.

Regular Maintenance

In addition to monthly deep cleaning, there are certain maintenance tasks you should perform on a regular basis:

  • Clean the Filter: Check your dishwasher’s manual for instructions on how often to clean the filter. Some filters require cleaning every few weeks, while others can be cleaned less frequently. If you notice debris or residue build-up in the filter, clean it more often as needed.
  • Inspect and Clear the Spray Arms: Regularly inspect the spray arms for clogs or debris. If you notice any blockages, clear them using a toothpick or a small wire. This should be done every few weeks or as needed.
  • Wipe Down the Interior: Take a damp cloth or sponge and wipe down the interior walls, door, and gasket of your dishwasher every few weeks. This helps prevent the build-up of grime and keeps your dishwasher fresh.

Water Hardness and Usage Considerations

If you have hard water, which contains high mineral content, you may need to clean your dishwasher more frequently. Mineral deposits can accumulate faster in the dishwasher, affecting its performance. Consider using a dishwasher cleaner specifically designed to remove mineral build-up.

Additionally, if you use your dishwasher frequently or tend to wash dishes with heavy grease or food residue, it’s a good idea to clean your dishwasher more often. Grease and food particles can accumulate in the filter and spray arms, leading to clogs and odours.

Signs That Your Dishwasher Needs Cleaning

Apart from following a regular cleaning schedule, pay attention to the signs that indicate your dishwasher needs cleaning. These signs include:

  • Lingering Odours: If your dishwasher emits unpleasant odours even after running a cycle, it’s a clear indication that it needs cleaning.
  • Spots or Residue on Dishes: If you notice spots, film, or residue on your dishes after a cycle, it may be due to a dirty dishwasher.
  • Poor Performance: If your dishwasher isn’t cleaning dishes as effectively as before or if you notice a decrease in water pressure during cycles, it may be time for a cleaning.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and it’s important to consult your dishwasher’s manual for specific recommendations from the manufacturer.

By following a regular cleaning routine and being attentive to your dishwasher’s condition, you can ensure that it remains in excellent working order, providing you with clean and spotless dishes every time.

spotless glasses that shine

Is it safe to utilize bleach for cleaning your dishwasher?

While bleach is a powerful disinfectant and can effectively kill germs and bacteria, it can be harsh on the dishwasher’s components and may cause damage. The high chlorine content in bleach can corrode or degrade rubber seals, gaskets, and plastic parts within the dishwasher.


Regularly cleaning your dishwasher is crucial for maintaining its performance and ensuring hygienic, spotless dishes. By following this step-by-step guide, you can effectively remove residue, prevent clogs, and eliminate odours. Remember to consult your dishwasher’s manual for specific instructions, as maintenance procedures may vary by model. With a clean and well-maintained dishwasher, you’ll enjoy efficient and reliable performance for years to come.

Author: Just Fixed

Date published: