We clean the food off our plate, then the dishwasher cleans the plates. But who or what cleans the dishwasher? It’s an odd thought, because it feels like cleaning equipment should already be clean, but your dishwasher does get dirty. Soap residue, food debris, dust, and other dirt can build up inside. And since the dishwasher is such an essential part of the kitchen, nobody wants to risk that.
The ‘why’ of cleaning a dishwasher is simple. When debris or residue accumulates inside, it could cause the machine to malfunction or damage its mechanisms. Food debris also risks inviting unwanted creatures into your appliance — and the last thing you want is bacteria in your cleaning equipment. As for when to clean, once a month is fine, unless an accident happens.
Need to know where to get started on how to maintain your dishwasher? Here’s a handy how-to guide to keep one of your most important appliances in good condition, so you’ll always have clean dishes at the ready.
What You Need
Distilled white vinegar
Soft cleaning cloths
Screwdrivers, wrenches, or other tools (check the interior mechanisms of your washer first!)
A toothpick or other pointy tool (for the spinning arms/holes)
Dish soap or other mild cleaning liquid
How To Clean The Dishwasher
1. Empty your dishwasher
After you’ve run your last load, take everything out, including the racks. Wipe those off and set them aside.
2. Dismantle the interior
Using the appropriate tools, remove anything that’s removable. It’ll be good to have the manual on-hand (you do still have it, yes?) so you know what’s safe to take out. At the very least, you should remove the filters, grates, and spinning arm(s)/disc(s).
3. Check the spinning/water holes
These are integral to making sure water runs into your dishwasher freely and cleanly. Inspect them for any debris clogging them up (but be mindful not to cause any damage!). Use a pointy tool (like a toothpick or barbecue stick) to remove any debris, and gently wipe things clean.
4. Wash the individual parts
Anything you were able to remove from inside needs a good cleaning. Scrub everything down with soap and warm water, and inspect for any damage while you’re at it.
To clean the filter, rinse them in water then scrub gently with an old toothbrush and some dish soap. You can also make a paste out of some bicarb soda and water, and dip the toothbrush in that for cleaning.
5. Wipe the seals and dials
Dirt and gunk can easily build up along seals and inside crevices, for any appliance. Soak a damp cloth in vinegar and wipe along the seals and around dials. Dip a Q-tip or toothbrush into vinegar to get at the harder-to-reach crevices or scrub off more stubborn stains.
6. Clean the dish rack
Check if there are any pieces of food stuck on, or any residue you can easily wipe off. Then wash the whole thing with warm water and soap. You can use a toothbrush or dish sponge to get any stains or dirt on the material. Once clean, replace them inside the dishwasher, alongside all the components you took out.
7. Run a cycle
Run your dishwasher once on its hottest but shortest setting, with 2-3 cups of vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher to clear out any build-up of grease, food, and other deposits in the pipes and other mechanisms. You can stop the dishwasher halfway through the cycle to let the solution sit, then complete it.
8. Polish the exterior
Use the multipurpose cleaner to give the exterior of your dishwasher a good clean and polish, with a soft or microfibre cloth. Pay close attention to any corners and crevices, and around the handle. To really cut through dirt and get that shine, use one cloth to wipe on the cleaner, and then dry with a separate cloth after.
9. Air it out
Leave the dishwasher open for a bit to air out the interior and let it dry naturally. Then you’re ready for the next load of dishes after a post-clean reward meal.
Besides once-a-month cleaning, there are some things you can do to maintain your dishwasher and keep it running smoothly. Here are some maintenance tips to make sure your hardworking appliance stays in top shape, and stays with you for a long time.
1. Scrape food off plates
Before you place any dishes or cutlery into the dishwasher, scrape off any leftover food into the rubbish bin. This saves you the risk of debris getting left in your appliance later on. Don’t rinse, though, since your dishwasher might not be as thorough in cleaning — and that would ruin the point of having a dishwasher in the first place!
2. Don’t overload your dishwasher
It works hard, but don’t work it too hard. Overloading will tax your appliance, and means you risk dishes not being as thoroughly cleaned as they should be.
3. Use a good quality detergent
They’ll do a better job of cleaning your dishes, and leave less residue inside to build up and clog the internal mechanisms of your appliance.
4. Wipe inside and out often
In-between cleanings can save you effort in the long run. Wipe down the exterior (especially the handles and seals), and the dish rack for some spot cleaning in the interim.
5. Choose the correct settings every time
Your appliance will perform best if it’s being used efficiently. Don’t use settings that are too long or short; don’t accidentally double up on rinse aid; and make sure the water is set to the correct temperature!
6. Use it regularly and well!
Your dishwasher is happiest when it’s being used. It helps prevent residue from building up too much, and prevents any deposits from drying up and hardening. But make sure you give it a thorough clean at least once a month — or once every few months — to help it do its job well, and keep your dishes clean for every time you eat.
Does the rest of your kitchen need a thorough cleaning?
If you’re nearing the end of your lease, major appliances such as your dishwasher and oven need to be attended to. The real estate will not be thrilled to see that they’re not being well kept! That’s where our professional bond cleaners come in. We’ll make sure your entire kitchen and home in general are looking brand new. Give us a call today to get a free quote for your bond cleaning.