How to clean your dishwasher

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Keeping your dishwasher clean will ensure that it runs efficiently and that no food or detergents clog it.

Is it a fun job? No it is not. If you’re anything like me, dealing with old leftovers is one of the worst chores around the house. But if you want clean plates, a dishwasher that lasts, and don’t want to spend money on repair bills, it’s a very good use of your time.

Don’t forget that prevention is better than cure: scraping the food off your plates before putting them in the dishwasher will save you having to remove the same food from the filter two weeks later.

Vinegar is often recommended for cleaning dishwashers, but it should be used infrequently and sparingly, and not while you’re washing kitchenware. Because it’s an acid, vinegar can attack the rubber parts in your dishwasher (e.g. hoses and seals) and when mixed with salt it can stain pans.

Make sure your dishwasher is empty before you start cleaning.

1. First of all, remove the rack at the bottom of the dishwasher. Grab a flashlight or use your phone’s light to see what’s happening down there.

Interior of a dishwasher

2. Next Wipe away leftover food from the base and sides. If you’re around, you might want to top up your dishwasher’s salt container.

3. Now is the time Clean the filter. The drain of your dishwasher is protected by a filter. This filter can be in one, two or even three parts. There may be a wider mesh section and what looks like a small basket sitting in the drain.

Take out the removable filter elements (which are clearly marked), empty any food residue into the container and clean the parts with a soft brush.

empty filters

4. Don’t forget replace the filter Parts before running the dishwasher again.

5. If the inside of your dishwasher looks anything less than shiny, you can do that Use a cup of vinegar to clean it. Place a cup of white vinegar in the top rack and run the dishwasher on the hot cycle. Make sure the vinegar is in a dishwasher-safe container.

6. If there is a musty smell, you can try a baking soda rinse. Sprinkle a cup of baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and let sit overnight. Run a hot water cycle in the morning.

Don’t use vinegar and baking soda together. It’s not dangerous, it’s just completely ineffective. After an initial explosive acid-base reaction that produces carbonic acid and sodium acetate (which is why a mix of the two is much more effective for drain cleaning), the second reaction is a decomposition into water and carbon dioxide gas. So essentially, you’re just turning your cleansing cocktail into water.

And we are in Do not use vinegar and bleach together – always, on something. Together, these two popular cleaning products create toxic chlorine gas.

7. Clean the door seals. Use a clean, damp cloth and some dish soap and go over all the seals. Do not use vinegar or bleach as these can damage the gum, making it stiff and unable to form a proper seal. If areas are compressed, gently pull them out. Make sure the seals are completely dry before restarting the dishwasher.

Finally, Clean the outside of the door. If you have an integrated dishwasher, finish by scrubbing the bottom edge of the door with an old kitchen sponge that you can throw away afterwards.

8. After each cleaning process Leave your dishwasher door open and ideally let it air out overnight.

If you think your old dishwasher is giving up the ghost and you want to see some new options, we reviewed both a full-size integrated dishwasher, the Hisense HV651D60DEand a slim model that Neff N50 Slimline S875HKX20G which has intelligent functions.

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