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How to Clean Your Dishwasher

how to clean your dishwasher

Dishwashers are amazing machines. They save time and effort by doing a lot of work for us. However, to keep it in top working condition and maximum its life span, keeping a clean dishwasher is a must.

Over time, several factors affect the cleanliness of your dishwasher. Hard water can build up inside, clogging sprayers and filters. Solid chunks of food can get caught in the drain and give your dishwasher a funky smell. If not regularly cleaned, your dishwasher can even develop mold or mildew. Fortunately, cleaning your dishwasher is an easy task. Here’s how to clean your dishwasher:

Sprayer Arms

Begin with an empty machine. Take out all the racks to gain access to the inside parts. Using a toothpick or thin wire (or strong paperclip), gently poke and jiggle around in the holes of the sprayer arms. Your goal here is to clear the holes of any hard water build-up that might be blocking a firm, clean spray.


If your dishwasher comes equipped with a detachable filter, remove it and soak it for 15-20 minutes in warm, soapy water. Alternatively, you could go at it with a small, soft brush and a paste made of baking soda and water.


The drain/grate on the bottom of your dishwasher can collect grease, food particles, and hard water. This reduces its efficiency and can create a foul smell. Remove any large chunks of food that are stuck in and around the grate. To clean, use that same baking soda and water paste used to clean the filter. Give it a thorough brushing.


The seal around the door of your dishwasher also needs attention. You can wipe these down with a cloth soaked in distilled white vinegar, which rids the seals of dirt, grease, and odor.

Final Wash

After you’ve cleaned the individual parts listed above, it’s time for the final overall wash. Dump a couple of cups of vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher, close the door, and run it for one full light-wash cycle. That’s it. The vinegar helps with not only sanitation, but also any hard water build-up.

To get the most out of your dishwasher’s abilities, it’s a good idea to clean once per month. Spending a few minutes on this task is well worth it in order to maintain a dishwasher that looks, smells, and acts nice.

A good rule of thumb for most appliances, is to clean them every 6 months or so. You should clean your refrigerator often to keep out stinky smells, and clean your dryer vent to keep it running efficiently, and to avoid hazardous vent fires.

For more information or any questions about proper dishwasher maintenance, please contact us.

James Rathbun

I am a local appliance repairman based in O’fallon, Missouri. Born and raised in the St. Louis area, I’ve always been intrigued by repairing appliances. I enjoy meeting new people and believe good customer service is the key to long-lasting business relationships. I’d love to earn your business, so if you’re in St. Charles County, Lincoln County, Warrenton County or St. Louis County, please give me a call at 636-980-3377 or 314-335-9796!

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