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How to Clean a Dishwasher

Tips on How to Clean a Dishwasher to Keep it Clean and Germ-free

A dishwasher is prone to buildup of bits of food and soap, which can reduce its efficiency. So, periodic cleaning is very necessary. In this article, we give you instruction to clean a dishwasher efficiently.
Rimlee Bhuyan
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
For a busy housewife, the dishwasher is a very important home appliance which makes life much easier for her. As it is not possible to scrape all the last bits of food from the utensils before putting them into the dishwasher, small pieces of food and dirt gets deposited inside the dishwasher. If this happens for a prolonged period of time, dirt and grime can accumulate in the dishwasher, which becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. So it is imperative that you set aside some time to clean your dishwasher every 2 to 3 months.
Cleaning the Exterior of the Dishwasher
The exterior of a kitchen appliance like a dishwasher stays relatively clean compared to the interior. You can use a regular cleaning spray to clean the front and the sides of the dishwasher. First spray some kitchen cleaner on the surface of the dishwasher and then wipe it down with a clean rag or towel. Ensure that you scrub all the hard to reach crevices of the dishwasher and also the handles and knobs. Before placing the dishes and bowl inside the dishwasher, make sure that you remove all traces of food and debris.
Cleaning the Interior of the Dishwasher
The inside of the dishwasher like the seal, the spinning arms and the drain tends to accumulate a lot of debris which needs to be thoroughly cleaned. The first step in cleaning a dishwasher is to remove the racks from the dishwasher. Make a solution of a mild detergent with hot water and scrub these racks with the help of a clean brush or rag. Rinse the racks in running water and let it air dry. Immerse a sponge in soapy hot water and clean the inside of the dishwasher. The seal which is around the door of the dishwasher might have a growth of mildew or mold.
One very easy way to remove this is by using a mixture of equal parts of bleach and baking powder. In a small cup, mix equal parts of baking powder with water, dip a clean brush into this solution and scrub around the seal. Similarly clean around the edges and corner of the dishwasher's door.
Now the next step is to clean the spinning arm of the dishwasher. Since these arms have small holes on them, bits of food get lodged in them leading to clogging which interferes with the proper functioning of the dishwasher. Use a pencil or a toothpick to clear out any dirt or food particles stuck in these holes. Avoid using any sharp metallic object as it might scratch the surface of these spinning arms. Wear rubber gloves to take out all dirt and debris that has collected inside the drain, which is located at the bottom of the dishwasher. Clean all around the drain to make sure that no hard chunks of food are present which can clog the drain.
After you have cleaned all the parts of the dishwasher it is time to deodorize it. All the accumulated food particles and dirt can give off a very foul smell from your dishwasher. There are a number of ways in which you can remove unpleasant odor from your dishwasher. Fill the soap dispenser of the dishwasher with citric acid like lemon or lime juice and run it through a full cycle. You can also fill the dishwasher cup with synthetic vinegar and run the empty dishwasher for a full cycle. This not only helps to remove odor but also eliminates the buildup of minerals as well as water stains.
The best way to maintain a dishwasher, or for that matter any home appliance, is to clean it as often as possible. Read the owner's manual to make sure that you are using it the right way. Do not overload the dishwasher with too many utensils, and use only those detergents or liquid cleaners which are suitable for it.