Kitchen duty is the one aspect of house cleaning that most try to avoid. It is one thing to sweep the floor, wipe the counters, and a whole other thing to wash the dishes. After a weekend with guests and friends, the kitchen’s best and most appreciated appliance is the dishwasher. It removes the hassle of washing dishes but needs cleaning if you want it to continue giving great service.
A dishwasher accumulates leftover food throughout a few cycles and needs to be cleaned. Food particles gather inside the filter, cutlery basket, and other components that need to be removed through a cleaning process to avoid odors. Easy steps will help you clean your dishwasher.
The dishwasher in your kitchen is likely the hardest worker and constantly keeps all your dishes sparkling with the touch of a button. A common mistake that dishwasher owners make is to think that because the machine cleans, it does not need cleaning itself. Here are the materials, tools, and steps to clean a dishwasher:
How to Clean a Dishwasher (Inside Out)
- Citric Acid
- Stainless Steel Cleaner (If Applicable)
Stuck food accumulates inside the dishwasher, and loose food removed during the washing process gathers in the filter. The cleaning procedure for most dishwashers is the same except for one small step with the LG dishwasher, but it is included in this breakdown.
Step 1: Prepare Cleaning Solution for the Dishwasher
All the cleaning of your dishwasher is done without removing the machine, but you will use the sink to wash the components. Fill your sink halfway with warm water. Do not use too hot water because you will wash the components by hand.
Add about two cups of vinegar to the water in the sink. Vinegar is known for its ability to rid any smells and is all you need to clean the dishwasher components.
Step 2: Remove and Soak Cutlery Basket and Racks
Remove the loose components from the dishwasher. The LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool have the same removable components. If your dishwasher is not one of these brands, it most likely works the same.
First, remove the utensil rack, also known as the cutlery basket. The cutlery basket is not attached with any screws or clips and should lift out. Once you remove the cutlery basket, place it in the sink with the vinegar solution.
Next to remove is the upper and lower basket; both baskets remove the same way. Pull the upper basket towards you until it is fully extended outside and the basket's wheels are against the stopper. Take ahold of the basket on the left and right and lift it out of the dishwasher slide.
Repeat the same procedure with the bottom rack and remove it from the dishwasher. After both dishwasher racks are removed, place them in the sink with the vinegar solution. The vinegar solution will remove any stuck food.
Suppose you have an LG dishwasher; follow these steps to remove its baskets. Slide the rack down into its closed position and locate the assembly slot. Firmly pop the rack of its support bar on that side. The left side of the rack pops free at the back, and the right-side pops free at the front. Slide the rack off the support bar on the opposite side.
Using only the vinegar solution to clean the components, you may notice food in the cutlery basket or on the rack. Take a cloth and wipe the unwanted food off the rack. If food is stuck in the cutlery basket that the cloth cannot reach, you can use a toothpick or toothbrush to get into difficult spots and corners.
Step 3: Inspect and Clean Wash Impellers
Your dishwasher will have an upper and lower wash impeller, also known as a spray or spinning arm. These spinning arms can be removed, but unless necessary, inspect and clean them on the machine. On rare occasions, something entangles around the arm, and it may have to be removed in such a case.
If there is food on the dishwasher spinning arms, take a cloth with some of the diluted vinegar and wipe it clean.
The spinning arms push the water into the machine to clean the dishes. Hardwater is a common reason why the holes in these arms get blocked. Inspect the arms for any blockage and if any holes are blocked, use a toothpick to remove the blockage. Please take care not to break the toothpick inside the hole.
Step 4: Clean the Dishwasher’s Interior
Now that the loose components are out of the way and the spinning arms are clean, you can focus on the bottom, sides, and top of the dishwashers inside. Take a cloth or sponge and some of the vinegar solution and wipe down the inside of the dishwasher.
Do not use the scourer side of the sponge or steel wool to clean the inside because it will scratch the metal, lead to unwanted grime getting stuck, and be hard to remove.
Step 5: Clean the Dishwasher’s Edges and Gasket
Once the inside is clean, move on to the edges and gasket of the dishwasher. Take a cloth or sponge and wipe the machine's edges with diluted vinegar. There may be dirt that is hard to reach in grooves or corners with the cloth, and a soft toothbrush will be a handy tool to reach those difficult spots.
After you have cleaned the sides, it is time to clean the gasket. The gasket rubber is important to clean because it is the only thing preventing the water from pushing through the side of the door when you use the dishwasher. Wipe the gasket with a cloth and some diluted vinegar solution, and clean it all the way around to ensure that it will seal properly when the machine is operating.
Step 6: Clean Gasket Folds (If Applicable)
The gasket on the dishwasher must seal properly, and if there is any food stuck in the folds of the gasket, it will not seal properly. Food stuck in the folds will start to smell. Some dishwasher gaskets can be peeled back to get into the folds. If the dishwasher's gasket can peel back, clean any food stuck in the folds.
Step 7: Remove and Clean the Filter
A dishwasher filter aims to accumulate all the food washed from the dishes to avoid blockage in the draining system. The dishwasher filter will be the component that will have the most leftover food and will need regular cleaning.
Sometimes removing the filter is tricky because it is either screwed in or works with a twist to release design, but some filters pull out. The screw and twist-to-release design in the LG and Samsung dishwashers work the same way. Your dishwasher's filter is located at the base of the machine. It is typically circular and is frequently located in the dishwasher's back corner or close to the base of the bottom spray arm.
Sometimes the filter is tough to twist or unscrew, and placing a cloth over it can help you grip the filter to unscrew it. Twist the filter anti-clockwise to unscrew it or twist and release it. Most dishwashers have arrows on the filter that indicates which direction to unscrew or twist it.
Once you remove the filter, soak it in the diluted vinegar solution. After the filter has
soaked for a while, inspect if it is clean because there may be food stuck. Use a soft toothbrush to get into the small, perforated holes of the filter and gently brush it clean.
You must not brush too hard and break or tear the filter. If the filter tears or breaks,
replace it before using the dishwasher because if food gets past the filter, it will damage the machine and cost a lot more to fix.
Step 8: Rinse and Reinstall the Components
With all the components soaked for about 30 minutes and cleaned, it is time to rinse and reinstall them back into the dishwasher.
Start to place the components back into the dishwasher, with the filter going back first. Please remember to secure the filter when you put it back into the dishwasher. After the filter, the top and bottom racks can return exactly how you removed them.
Ensure that the wheels are secure in the slides when you fit the top and bottom rack, that it freely moves in and out, and that the stopper prevents it from falling out. After the filter and washing racks are back in their place, the last component you need to put in their place is the cutlery basket.
Step 9: Place Cleaning Solution Inside Dishwasher
With all the loose components back in place and the dishwasher empty, it needs a final cleaning inside to eliminate any odors left. In this step, if you have an LG dishwasher, it is slightly different.
Make sure the dishwasher is empty, and place a glass halfway filled with white vinegar in the bottom rack. Be careful not to spill any vinegar on the bottom of the dishwasher because if left too long, it could damage the surface of the steel. If you accidentally spill vinegar, wipe it off with a cloth before continuing with this step.
The manual recommends using citric acid powder for the best results if you have an LG dishwasher. Take three tablespoons or 45 grams of citric acid powder and place it into the wash compartment where you normally place the dishwasher soap or tablet and close it as you would for a normal wash.
Step 10: Run a Full WashCycle With Cleaning Solution
To finalize the interior cleaning of the dishwasher, close the door with the glass of vinegar or, in the case of the LG dishwasher, the 3 tablespoons or 45 grams of citric acid inside. Set the dishwasher to its highest wash and heat setting and leave it to complete the full wash cycle.
This step will rid your dishwasher of any odors still left inside. Once complete, remove the glass and run a rinse cycle to ensure that any access vinegar or citric acid is gone to complete the inside cleaning of the dishwasher.
Step 11: Clean the Dishwasher Exterior
Now that the inside of your dishwasher is clean and ready to give you sparkling dishes, it is time to finish it with a good exterior cleaning.
Some dishwashers have plastic or painted outer casings, and a cloth with soap will remove any dirt outside with a proper wipe down. If your dishwasher has a stainless-steel exterior, it is best to clean it with a specially formulated product for the best results.
Your dishwasher serves you well and keeps your dishes looking new and ready for the next meal. If you want your dishwasher to continue giving good service giving it a cleaning is a great idea.