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Easy Steps for Great Dishwasher Maintenance

To keep your dishwasher clean, running effectively, and smelling fresh it’s important to do occasional dishwasher maintenance.  Depending on how often you run your dishwasher and how well you rinse your dishes before filling the dishwasher, you may need to do this task every few months or as much as once a month. If you let the job go too long, the process becomes a real chore. But, if you are taking care of the deep cleaning on a regular basis, it’s a fairly simple job. This method is inexpensive and you’ll be able to use cleaning supplies you already have in your home. Follow the steps below to for a clean, fresh smelling dishwasher.

dishwasher maintenance

Remove Utensil Basket

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Remove the utensil basket and any loose parts that are in your machine. I was surprised at the gunk and mildew underneath my utensil basket! I don’t usually remove my basket when I unload the clean utensils.  If you are like me you might have some buildup under your basket.

Remove Food Trap

cleaning a dishwasher

Your dishwasher should have a food trap that you can remove for cleaning. Keeping this clean and free from debris will help your machine run more efficiently. If you notice a sour smell in your dishwasher, check the food trap which may be the cause. My food trap was gross! It was so satisfying to see it all cleaned up!

Run A Cycle With Vinegar


Fill a bowl or cup with vinegar and place in the top rack. Run a cycle using hot water to disinfect and sanitize. (Is there anything vinegar can’t do?)

Run A Cycle With Baking Soda


Once the vinegar cycle is complete, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom. If the bottom of your dishwasher is particularly bad, you may want to let the baking soda sit for a while. Then, run another cycle with the baking soda.

Wipe Down Inside

As soon as the cycle with the baking soda is done, wipe down the inside. You’ll be amazed at how easily the dirt and gunk will be to wipe up. Tough stains that may have needed a good scrubbing will now come up much more easily since the cleaning cycles loosened everything up.

Clean Spray Arm Bars

At this point, you may want to check your spray arm bars to make sure they aren’t clogged with food particles. Use a toothpick to clear any blockages.

Clean Food Trap

dishwasherdishwasher clean

If your food trap is particularly gross like mine was, soak in a bowl with hot water and dish soap. This helps make the scrubbing job a little easier. Rinse thoroughly and put back in place.

This is just one method for deep cleaning your dishwasher. There are many products on the market that you can use monthly to clean the inside. In fact, your manufacturer may even recommend one of these. If that’s the case, skip the vinegar and baking soda steps, and replace those with your preferred cleaner. Follow the rest of the steps for a clean, sanitized dishwasher.


Easy Steps for Great Dishwasher Maintenance


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