What Is the Best Way To: Clean a Dishwashing Machine

by | May 4, 2016 | Cleaning Tips

When your glasses and dishes have food and film, the kitchen smells like the sewer or any of the other problems that come with a dishwasher before you call an engineer, try cleaning the machine.  Many issues are caused by built up gunk or food trapped in the filters.  If the machine is new, start from the beginning and keep your machine clean.

Here is an article on How to Clean and Maintain a Dishwasher, by Wikihow.


What you will need

  •      Bicarbonate of Soda
  •      Essential oil such as Eucalyptus Oil or Tea tree Oil
  •      White vinegar
  •      Soft Cleaning cloths
  •      Soft Toothbrush
  •      Tools such as screwdrivers, etc. (check first)
  •      Small pointy tool that fits in small water holes.
  •      Mild cleaner like dish detergent
  •      Multipurpose Cleaner
  1. Clean up the older dishwasher

Run a load first, empty the dishwasher, and then remove the racks and wipe them off.

Next remove the filter

Use the right tool to release the filter so as not to do damage. If there are screws, set them aside where you are sure not to lose them.  Rinse and clean the filters with the soft toothbrush and detergent. You can also make a paste of the bicarbonate of soda.    Replace the filters once clean.

Check the spinning holes in the spinning arms are clear and open so that water can run through freely. Take care not to scratch the spinning arm. If too many holes are clogged, it may be a good idea just to remove them.

Remove the spray arms and give them a good scrub.   Be sure to check with your owner’s manual to be sure.

Wipe the bottom of the door and dishwasher grate to clean up anything that has accumulated.  Water doesn’t always get to the door bottom while the grate catches food particles.  Use the detergent and soft cloth here.

To wipe up the door seal soak a soft damp cloth in the vinegar, and then wipe around the door seal.  Gently use a toothbrush soaked in vinegar to get in the tighter areas.


Clean the utensil rack for anything that is stuck on the surface.  Use the detergent and cloth here. The toothbrush will help with anything stuck on. You can replace the dish racks and the utensil racks now.

Add the bicarbonate of soda to the soap dispenser, and then the oils to the bicarbonate.  Fill the rinse aid with vinegar until it overflows. Run the machine on a short hot cycle.  If anything is left, you can add some vinegar to the bottom of the tub.  Start the cycle again, and let it sit for 20 minutes.  Finish the cycle.

Clean and polish the outside.

Be sure to check the bottom panel under the door and all of the buttons on the panel.  If your dishwasher is stainless steel, make sure your multipurpose cleaner is made for stainless steel.  To get great shine, use one cloth to wash and a second to polish

  1. Clean the newer washer.

With a new washer, it is recommended that you start from the beginning and give a regular cleaning at least one time per month.

Run an empty dishwasher with vinegar at least once a month to stop things from accumulating.

Clean the trap that is up under the lower sprayer. Remove the little piece you will find there and clean out the food and other yuck that did not get washed down. Take it off and wash in the sink if you can. Otherwise, use a soft cloth to remove the build-up.

Clean the rubber gasket regularly. This is the rubber gasket on the door. Wipe around the soap door was well.

These simple tasks that can even be done during regular kitchen cleanup can help make the big cleaning easier and shorter.  The big cleaning should be done once a quarter to stop from smelling or accumulation from dishes.

If you have some symptoms left you can check the owner’s manual for the proper temperature for the hot water heater, and be sure to turn on the hot water tap before you get ready to make sure the whole cycle gets hot water. Overfilling the machine can make it run like it is dirty also as can hard water.

  1. Cleaning Hard Water Build Up

Hard Water causes build up throughout the machine in places where you can’t see it.  When the minerals accumulated over a long period can be handled with muriatic acid, a commercial chemical cleaner, or install a filtration system.

Muriatic acid is a great solution for hard water build up, but it is corrosive and harmful.  Do be careful and use protective equipment.  Empty the dishwasher and completely fill with water in the large cycle (where the real cleaning is done). Add 250 milliliters of muriatic acid to the tub. If the problem is very bad, you may need to do this three or four times.  It is wise to run a full cycle again without dishes, at least two times.  This will get rid of any residue and make the machine safe for dishes.  Once the buildup has been removed check with the owner’s manual for the best choices to keep the buildup low.

Finding dishwasher goods that work on hard water is fairly easy and any hardware should be able to offer plenty of goods to choose from that can include heavy duty environmentally safe solutions to getting rid of that hard water buildup.

The absolute best way to avoid the hard water build up is to install either a whole house water softener or an under the sink filtration system that will stop the minerals before getting into the dishwasher.

The best option for cleaning your dishwasher really is to use the environmentally friendly options like baking soda and vinegar.  These are mild corrosives that clean the dishwasher without harming your family or the environment.  Keeping up with a good cleaning every month or at least every three months makes quick work out of cleaning and sanitizing your family’s dishes and cookware.

Here are 10 Tips to Help the Dishwasher Run Better, Cleaning Tips from the KITCHN and more of How to clean your Dishwasher by KITCHN.


About Author

Sophie Franklin

Sophie is the subject matter expert within Maid2Match. Most importantly though she is our biggest fan girl and generous in sharing what she knows.


About Author

Sophie Franklin

Sophie is the subject matter expert within Maid2Match. Most importantly though she is our biggest fan girl and generous in sharing what she knows.


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