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How To Clean a Dishwasher

Sometimes your dishwasher can get a bit smelly, but knowing how to properly clean and maintain your dishwasher keeps odours at bay and helps give you cleaner dishes. We’ll show you how to clean a smelly dishwasher from top to bottom, including the filter, gasket and more, so your washer looks and smells great again.

Skill Level: Beginner
  1. Step 1 Soak the Removable Parts of Your Dishwasher

    Soak the Removable Parts of Your Dishwasher

    Fill your sink about halfway with warm water and mix in 2 cups of vinegar. Remove the utensil trays and any other removable parts from your dishwasher and place them in the solution. Leave them submerged for about 30 minutes to loosen any stuck-on debris or grime to help make cleaning them easier.

  2. Step 2 Clean the Interior of the Dishwasher

    Clean the Interior of the Dishwasher

    The best way to clean your dishwasher inside is to wipe it down with a sponge and a water and vinegar solution to remove any old food and other caked-on substances. Remove any build-up in the gasket, and peel it back to clean underneath it if necessary. Ensure that the holes in the spinning arms are not blocked, and use a toothpick to clean them if needed. Finally, clean around the door of your dishwasher and wipe it dry.

  3. Step 3 Clean the Dishwasher Filter

    Clean the Dishwasher Filter

    If your dishwasher doesn’t have a self-cleaning filter, you’ll have to clean it manually about once a month. Twist the filter to the unlocked position and remove it. Clean any food residue present in the filter, then wipe it down with a damp cloth. Wash the filter inside and out by hand in warm, soapy water, scrubbing it clean with a small, soft-bristle brush. Rinse it thoroughly under warm running water, dry it off and reinstall it, making sure to lock it again.

  4. Step 4 Clear the Dishwasher Drain

    Clear the Dishwasher Drain

    Much like cleaning a sink drain, you can use a mixture of boiling water, vinegar and baking soda to clear out any blockages. Simply boil the mixture and pour it down the drain to loosen and remove anything that may be stuck in the drain. Dislodge any food debris in the drain holes with a toothpick.

  5. Step 5 Run the Dishwasher with a Cleaner or Vinegar

    Run the Dishwasher with a Cleaner or Vinegar

    For the final step in cleaning the inside of your dishwasher, use a cleaner or fill a small cup with white vinegar and put it on the bottom rack. Then, simply run an empty wash on the hottest water setting. This will refresh the inside of your dishwasher and have it smelling like new again, especially after the deep clean you’ve just given it.

  6. Step 6 Clean the Dishwasher Exterior

    Clean the Dishwasher Exterior

    Finally, clean the exterior of your dishwasher with warm, soapy water and then dry it with a towel. If you’ve got a stainless steel dishwasher, use a cleaner that is specially formulated for cleaning it. Remember, having a clean dishwasher gives you cleaner dishes and keeps odours down.

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