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How to Clean a Dishwasher with Vinegar

October 24, 2023

Have you ever opened your dishwasher, expecting everything to be clean, just to be hit by an unpleasant smell?

It happens. In fact, it’s more common than you think; that’s what happens when residues form on the dishwasher door and food deposits get stuck on the inside.

Don’t worry, though, there’s an easy way to fix that problem – by cleaning your dishwasher regularly. For example, you can use white vinegar.

Interested? Want to know how to clean dishwasher with vinegar? If so, you’re at the right place. We’ll be going over everything that you need to know below.

Keep reading for some tips on how to keep your dishwasher clean!

Importance of Regular Dishwasher Cleaning

how to clean a dishwasher with vinegarCleaning your dishwasher is key when it comes to maintaining its efficiency and performance. Just think about it – you wouldn’t bathe in a dirty tub, so why wash your pots and plates in a grimy dishwasher?

Take hard water, for example, it can leave nasty deposits on the interior of the dishwasher. And chances are, they’re not going anywhere without some elbow grease.

Consequences of Having a Dirty Dishwasher

Neglecting your dishwasher will not only reduce its efficiency but can also lead to costly repairs down the line. For example, food debris and other build-up can cause poor drainage, which can reduce the dishwasher’s performance drastically.

The ‘Dishwasher Detergent’ Misconception

Dishwasher soap is only good for dishes; it won’t clean the machine itself. It’s just not designed to tackle grime buildup on the dishwasher drain, walls or filters of your dishwasher.

Preparing Your Dishwasher for Cleaning

Your dishwasher works hard, but it needs a little love too. Just like any appliance, your dishwasher benefits from regular maintenance and cleaning.

Removing Debris from Your Dishwasher Filter

Check the dishwasher filter regularly. You want to take out any food scraps that might have settled at the bottom or have clung to the racks.

Tools for Cleaning Your Dishwasher

You don’t need fancy equipment to clean your dishwasher effectively – some basic household items will do just fine.

For example, you can use a soft-bristle brush dipped in soapy water to scrub away stubborn grime without scratching surfaces.

Tip: Use warm water instead of cold when using soap as it helps cut through grease more efficiently.

How to Clean Your Dishwasher with Vinegar and Baking Soda

You can use white vinegar to clean the inside of your machine, including the dishwasher drain and dishwasher door.

Cleaning with Vinegar

clean your dishwasher with vinegarVinegar has natural cleaning properties that will help break down grime inside your appliance.

Start with an empty dishwasher. Place a bowl containing one cup of white or distilled white vinegar on the top rack and run a hot wash cycle. Just remember to skip the drying cycle at the end.

Using Baking Soda with White Vinegar

Once you’re done cleaning your dishwasher with vinegar, sprinkle about 1/2 cup of baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher’s interior then run another short cleaning cycle.

That will give the surfaces an extra scrub while freshening up any unwanted smells left behind by food particles. It also means you’ll get cleaner dishes and less soap scum.

Deep Cleaning Your Dishwasher

Deep cleaning your dishwasher regularly will help extend its lifespan. Here are a few things that you should do as part of the deep-cleaning process.

Clean the Spray Arms

The spray arms are like the heart of your dishwasher; they’re responsible for pumping water into every nook and cranny.

Over time, however, they can become clogged with food particles and debris. But don’t worry, you can easily clean them.

As always, you want to start with an empty dishwasher. Fill a bowl with hot water mixed with dish soap and saturate an old toothbrush with the solution. From here, you can use it to remove any stubborn grime that’s stuck inside.

Run a Sanitize Cycle

run dishwasher sanitizing cycleThe sanitize cycle is your dishwasher’s secret weapon against germs; it’ll heat the water hotter than usual to sanitize the interior surfaces.

Not only that but running regular sanitizing cycles can also help make sure that your cleaner works effectively by removing unwanted residue build-up from hard water or detergent use.

Common Issues with Dishwashers

Ever noticed that your dishwasher smells like a week-old tuna sandwich? Or maybe it’s running short cycles, leaving you with half-clean dishes.

You’re not alone. These are common problems many homeowners face.

Bad Odors

Unpleasant odors are often due to a dirty dishwasher. To prevent that, ensure that you clean the filter and pre-wash dishes before loading them into the machine.

That will prevent leftover food bits from sticking around longer than they’re welcome.

Short Cycles

If your dishwasher isn’t completing its cleaning cycle or finishing too quickly, there might be an issue with the timer or thermostat.

You can try resetting these by turning off the power to your appliance for about one minute and then powering it back on again.

Additional Dishwasher Cleaning Power

use active dishwasher cleaning tabletsVinegar and baking soda is great for mild staining and odors. However, they may not cut it if your dishwasher is excessively dirty. In cases like that, you’ll want to use a commercial cleaner, such as ACTIVE Dishwasher Cleaner tablets.

Unlike baking soda and vinegar, they’re specifically designed to eliminate hard water stains, food debris, and odors from inside your dishwasher. They’re easy to use too – all you have to do is add one tablet to the dispenser tray and run a normal wash cycle.

Once it’s finished, let the dishwasher air dry with the door open.

Cleaning Your Dishwasher with Vinegar – FAQs

What is the best DIY product to clean the dishwasher with?

You can keep your dishwasher clean with white vinegar and baking soda. This combo will get rid of grime, freshen your appliance, and most importantly of all, won’t hurt the wallet.

How do I clean my dishwasher with vinegar?

Remove all dishwasher racks and holders first. For hard-to-reach spots like the spray arms, you can scrub with an old toothbrush (saturate it with a dish soap solution first).

When you’re finished, run a hot water cycle with vinegar followed by baking soda. Just remember to skip the drying cycle.

What is the best way to clean and deodorize a dishwasher?

The most effective way to clean and deodorize your machine is by running two separate cycles with distilled white vinegar (add it to a dishwasher safe container and put it on the top rack) then baking soda.

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Ethan Clarke

Ethan Clarke

Ethan Clarke is a seasoned expert in appliances and household waste systems. Referencing his extensive experience as an appliance repairman, Ethan shares his invaluable knowledge through detailed maintenance & troubleshooting manuals. Ethan’s insights help homeowners understand and maintain their appliances efficiently, ensuring longevity and optimal performance. He’s here to provide practical, easy-to-follow advice for all your appliance needs.

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