How to Properly Clean and Maintain Your Dishwasher

Did you know youre supposed to wash your dishwasher? This little chore is often one that is easily neglected with all the other household chores. Yes, you do need to clean your dishwasher. This surprises many people, but it really does make sense once you think about it. This appliance helps you keep your dishes and cookware clean. You can even use it to clean your jewelry or as a quick and easy way to wash potatoes! So, it obviously can get dirty if its not kept spic and span.

Monthly Dishwasher Cleanup Routine

Over time, soap scum, grease, limescale and even iron can build up in the spray arms, tubes, and other major parts. Here is a quick once-a-month routine which you can use to keep your dishwasher gleaming and good as new for a long time.

1.     Empty your dishwasher.

2.     Remove all the racks and check the spinning holes.

3.     Use a paper towel to clean out any debris you see in the area where the water sprays in or drains out.

4.     Next, check the inner side of the dishwasher door. There are a lot of small groves where grime and soap scum can gather. Give the grate a good scrubbing as well.

5.     Remove the filter and wash it.

6.     Wipe the door-seal with a cloth soaked in vinegar.

7.     Use a toothbrush to clean the utensil racks and place them back in the dishwasher.

8.     Run an empty cycle with 2 cups of vinegar on Low.

9.     Use a stainless steel spray to clean the exterior surfaces then wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.

The Right Way to Load Your Dishwasher

This is something that many people get wrong. Dishwasher manufacturers complain that users ignore a lot of settings and dont use all the available features. The user manual that came with your dishwasher includes diagrams of how to arrange the dishes for washing. There is no one fixed way as there are many manufacturers and multiple models. If you have thrown out your manual, as many of us likely have done, you can probably find a downloadable version online.

Finding the Right Dishwasher Detergent

Using the wrong kind of detergent or one that contains too many harsh chemicals can harm the internal mechanisms of your dishwasher. Check the list of ingredients on your dish soap, the following chemicals are known toxins and/or questionable, and products that contain them are best avoided:


        1,4 Dioxane (a probable carcinogen)


        Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)

        Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)


        Diethanolamine (DEA)

        Monoethanolamine (MEA)

        Triethanolamine (TEA)

        Coal tar dyes




        Alkyl phenoxy ethanols (APE's)

Try to find milder ones, they are just as effective. Or simply make your own! There are a ton of DIY recipes that you can use.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

You will need:

       Baking soda            2 cups

       Washing soda —        1/2 cup

       Borax powder          1 cup

       Kosher salt              1/4 cup

       Citric acid                1/4 cup

       Lemon essential oil              15 drops  

Combine the dry ingredients, and then add in the essential oil drop by drop. Store the mixture in an airtight container.

An up-to-date energy efficient dishwasher will last a long time and save you a ton on costly repairs and service charges. Keep your home and family healthy by keeping a healthy and green kitchen routine that includes regular cleaning of your dishwasher.