If you think you can just forget about your dishwasher and expect it to stay clean for it’s entire life-span, then you’re very much mistaken. The reality is, even though a dishwasher is supposed to be cleaning your dishes—it often needs cleaning itself. If you’re noticing an under-performing dishwasher or finding more food particles on “clean” plates than you think you think you should be, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going to help answer that question: how to clean dishwasher. Let’s have a look…
How to clean a dishwasher
If you don’t look after your dishwasher regularly, it might start smelling or even stop cleaning dishes properly. Have you noticed a funny smell floating around the kitchen recently? Or spotted a few too many streaks and food particles on plates and bowls that are supposed to be “clean”. It might be time to clean that dishwasher. If it is, then you’re in the right place.
Lots of people make the dishwasher cleaning mistake of thinking that as a machine that’s designed to clean things, it keeps itself clean along the way. That simply isn’t the case. A dishwasher needs looking after or it could stop working properly. That means more dirty dishes. Tired of getting “clean” plates out of the machine only to have to wash them in the sink after? That kind of defeats the point of having a dishwashing machine in the first place.
To help prevent this sort of issue, you need to clean your dishwasher. Don’t worry, dishwashers are easy and quick to clean, but you need to know what you’re doing. Find out how with these simple steps:
Clean the filter
Your dishwasher normally has a filter which prevents food particles and other food waste from getting into the inner workings of the machine. It’s often a fine mesh that’s designed to let water pass through but not large bits of food and other dirt. The problem is, this filter can get clogged and dirty quite quickly. And when your filter is clogged, it’ll make cleaning and especially disposing of food particles harder for your machine. Sometimes, the food that gets stuck to the mesh can end up back on your dishes at the end of a wash. You don’t want that, do you?
You can start by simply removing the filter and cleaning them in the sink with warm water and a soft brush. If you’ve got a metal filter (normally on the outside), this only needs rinsing with warm water. You should clean your filters at least once a week to keep your washer in top working order. For really old dishwashers, you might want to consider replacing the filters with new ones every once in a while. They can only take so many washes.
Top-up salt levels
Your dishwasher needs salt added to it regularly. That’s because salt prevents the build-up of limescale. It’ll also help soften the water, which is better for your dishes. Did you know that dishwasher powder and other detergents tend to only work properly in soft water? That’s why salt’s a good idea.
Your dishwasher should have an indicator letting you know when it’s time for more salt. If not, then try topping it up at least once a month. Some people struggle to find a decent salt supply, but it isn’t really that complicated. You can find it in the supermarket or even along the roadside.
Sometimes, tipping the salt into the right place without spilling it over the rest of your dishwasher can be difficult. If you’re struggling with this, buy a funnel to help.
Look after the door seals
Your dishwasher will have a rim of sealant around it, to keep the water in when the washing cycle is ongoing. The trouble is, these seals can often get food stuck to them, similarly to how they affect the dishwasher filter. This stuck food can compromise the integrity of the seal and could even lead to the dishwasher leaking.
To fix the problem, every week you should wipe the rim and seals clean with a wet washing up cloth. Make sure you do this regularly as a broken seal can be hard (and expensive) to fix.
Look after the spray arms
The spray arms help do the washing when the machine is closed and running. These can also get blocked and could lead to a less efficient clean. You won’t need to do this as often, but a couple of times a year you should try removing the arms and cleaning the holes to clean blockages. Also clean the arms under the tap before replacing them. Make sure your washer is switched off from the mains when you do these steps.
Do an empty dishwasher hot wash
Another thing you should try a couple of times a year is an empty wash on the hottest setting. This might not make your dishwasher last much longer, but it will help prevent those nasty smells that might have been accumulating. Hot water can help break through food residue. If you often use lower-power or eco settings on your dishwasher, this step is even more important. Food particles can build up a lot more quickly when they aren’t subject to as much hot water (which can break them down).
Use the right dishwasher cleaner
If you’ve got a really dirty dishwasher, you might want to consider purchasing a dishwasher cleaner. These can be in liquid or tablet form. Many of the tips we’ve already looked at will be enough for most dishwashers, but if it’s really dirty then dishwasher cleaner can help break through the blockages and food particles. Some people also recommend vinegar and baking soda as a cheaper alternative. You could try that instead.
Hopefully, these tips are enough to get your dishwasher as good as new again.