Skip to Content

How to Clean a Dishwasher in a Few Simple Steps

How to Clean a Dishwasher in a Few Simple Steps

With a dishwasher, doing the dishes becomes a lot more convenient.

If you’re leading a busy life and don’t want to waste crucial time cleaning dirty dishes individually, you should invest in one.

But if you own a dishwasher, you know that cleaning it can be a chore.

It’s time-consuming and seems useless to do when the whole purpose of this appliance is to clean dishes.

Over time, a lot of food residue and grime gets built up at the bottom and becomes extremely difficult to get rid of.

It can make your dishwasher smell terrible, and you’ll find that your dishes won’t come out looking squeaky clean like they used to.

You need to clean your dishwasher regularly to make sure it works properly every time you load it.

I’ve also had my fair share of experience cleaning dishwashers, and after trying and testing many ways, I’ve found the perfect method.

The steps are super easy to follow and won’t take much of your time.

In this blog post, we’ll learn how to scrub out a dishwasher and what to use to freshen it up and get rid of the smell.

How to Clean a Dishwasher

What You Need

  • Sponge or a cloth
  • Paper towels
  • Toothbrush


1. Remove Food Residue

You need to develop a habit of removing any leftover bits of food from the dishwasher after each cycle.

Inspect the bottom rack to see if any bits of food have fallen into it and use a paper towel to remove them. Do this daily to prevent buildup and musty odors.

2. Scrub out Door Grime

Use a damp cloth or sponge to scrub out any grime or spots that are stuck on the inside of the dishwasher door.

Don’t forget to wipe away any stains on the handle and the dishwasher controls.

3.  Clean the Filter

The most important component of a dishwasher is the filter. If the filter is dirty, you’ll notice that your dishes aren’t clean either when you’re unloading them.

Take out the filter (check the manual to find where it’s located) and rinse it thoroughly under hot water.

Use an old toothbrush to clean out the mesh screen and get rid of any grease or food residue that’s stuck on it.

When it starts looking as good as new, put it back in the dishwasher.

Repeat the last two steps every week to make sure your dishwasher works perfectly.


  • Before loading all the dirty dishes and mugs, turn on your garbage disposal to make sure it’s cleared out. You need to do this if your dishwasher and sink drain into the same pipe.
  • Your water temperature should be around 120 degrees Fahrenheit because hot water can clean dishes more effectively.

How to Freshen a Dishwasher

If your dishwasher doesn’t have a clean smell after a wash cycle, then that means there’s either a lot of buildup or residue stuck in the crevices.

Use an antibacterial agent to rinse all the components and get rid of any odors.

A simple way to freshen it up would be to squirt some white vinegar in the drain after every wash or use a solution made with equal parts of water and baking soda to wipe down the racks.

Can You Put Bleach in It?

Bleach is a common cleaning ingredient that’s used to sterilize dishwashers. It also helps in getting rid of stubborn spots and mold.

You can make a spray solution to clean the dishwasher or fill a cup and run a wash cycle.

If you have a stainless steel dishwasher, you shouldn’t use bleach to clean it.

You should also avoid cleaning solutions that contain bleach because it’s known to stain and corrode stainless steel.

Is Vinegar Bad for a Dishwasher?

Vinegar can be used to clean rubber seals or anything that’s made out of silicone, fluorocarbon, polypropylene, and virgin Teflon.

If you’re not sure about the material your rubber seals are made of and don’t want to take any risks, you should try the following method.

Put a small glass on the top rack of the dishwasher. Add a very small quantity of distilled white vinegar (you can add 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons, based on how hard your water is), and then run the dishwasher.

This will keep the rubber seals safe from the vinegar.

How to Deep Clean Dishwasher

What You Need

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • Dish soap
  • Toothbrush


  1. Before you can get started with cleaning, you need to examine your dishwasher to look for any hard stains. Take out the bottom rack to inspect the drain as well to see if there’s any food residue inside that could clog it. If you find anything there, clean it right away.
  2. Remove the filter and use a toothbrush to clean it. After all the gunk and grime has been removed, put the filter in a solution of warm water and soap for about ten minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
  3. Take a cup that’s dishwasher-safe and fill it with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Put it on the top rack inside the dishwasher. Set the water to the highest setting and run the dishwasher. Make sure there’s nothing else inside except for the cup.
  4. After the cycle comes to an end, take a cup of baking soda, sprinkle it on the bottom of the machine, and run it again with the highest water setting.
  5. When the cycle has completed, use a toothbrush to remove any leftover stains and spots.

Cleaning your dishwasher regularly will prevent any lingering odors and extend the life of your appliance.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?

You need to do a deep clean of your dishwasher every month to make sure it works properly and stays in great condition.

What you can do every day is pull out the bottom rack and use a paper towel to scoop up any bits of food that may have fallen into it.

You also need to inspect the filter at least once a week and rinse it under hot water. If it’s not clean, your dishes won’t be either.

Final Words

Now that you’ve learned how to clean your dishwasher in a few simple steps, you won’t hold off cleaning anymore.

Instead of spending so much time trying to clean all the components, you need to use the right technique to get the job done.

You don’t even need to buy any cleaning solutions and supplies when you can find everything in your kitchen.

Use a paper towel or a sponge to remove any stains before they can harden and take some time out of your schedule every month to do a deep clean of your dishwasher.

We hope you found this blog post useful and found all the answers you were looking for.