Your sponges, dish scrubber, toilet brush, and other home cleaning tools eventually get too dirty to be effective at cleaning – and your dishwasher is no different. Little bits of food can get trapped in the crevices of the machine and constantly get flung onto dishes during each new cycle or clog the drain and cause standing water to form. The dishwasher is also a common breeding ground for mildew, which is both unsanitary and smelly.
If you’ve got standing water, mildew smells, or other nasty buildup in your dishwasher, here are some easy tips on how to clean it:
1. Clear the Dishwasher’s Drain
Just like a kitchen sink, your dishwasher has a drain that keeps large food particles from dropping into and clogging your pipes. And just like with your sink, your dishwasher’s drain needs to be cleaned out once in a while. Take the drain out, remove as much gunk as you can manually, give it a good rinse in the sink, and then pop it back in.
2. Run a Cycle with Vinegar
Vinegar is a great tool for cleaning and sanitizing appliances such as dishwashers and microwaves without the need for heavy scrubbing. Place a dishwasher-safe container on the top rack of your dishwasher and fill it with two cups of white vinegar. It’s best to use a heavy dish that fits securely in the rack to hold the vinegar.
Turn the washer on at its highest heat setting. As the water circulates, it will mix with the vinegar and effectively sanitize the inside of the machine. Don’t add dishwashing detergent or liquid to this load; vinegar and hot water are all you need.
3. Run a Cycle with Baking Soda
Do you remember making vinegar and baking soda volcanoes in elementary school? Well, the chemical reaction that made that volcano bubble over makes for a safe and effective cleaning solution. The vinegar and baking soda will eat away at the mildew and other grime that’s attached itself to every surface and crevice of your dishwasher, and the baking soda itself will help to sanitize the surfaces.
All you need to do for this step is sprinkle a layer of baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher and then run another cycle on your hottest water setting.
4. Consider a Bleach Cycle
If you have really stubborn mold and mildew spots in your dishwasher, you may want to run a bleach cycle. However, if your dishwasher has a stainless steel interior, avoid the bleaching step since bleach can corrode stainless steel.
For this step, add ½ cup of bleach to the bottom of your dishwasher and run a full cycle.
5. Go the Extra Mile
While the steps listed above will usually be enough to clean your dishwasher, you may still want to do a bit more cleaning. After all – the cleaner your dishwasher, the cleaner your dishes.
The arms that spin at the bottom of your dishwasher have little holes that the water sprays through. Over time, these holes can get clogged up. To clean them out, use some sturdy wire, such as the kind that you use to hang pictures.
If you still have some lingering mold or mildew stains, use a toothbrush to scrub them off. Make sure to check every surface and crevice of your washer thoroughly, including the rack itself.
If your house needs a deep cleaning and you don’t have the time to do it yourself, give Love My Maids a call. Their team of professional maids will get your house looking its best on a one-time or regular basis.