How to Clean Your Dishwasher

Your dishwasher is a great way to ensure your kitchenware remains clean. However, it can be easy to forget that the appliance itself requires a certain amount of upkeep to remain as efficient as possible.

Making sure your dishwasher is regularly cleaned helps ensure there's no build-up of unwanted waste in the appliance, ensures that it looks and smells great and, most importantly, means it keeps cleaning your dishes as well as it can.

This quick and easy job is an essential part of owning a dishwasher, but how do you do it, and how often should it be done? Here, we're telling you everything you need to know.

How to clean a dish washing machine yourself

It's worth cleaning your dishwasher every 30 days or so. This will ensure that any build-up of detergent, minerals or dirt is removed.

Left uncleaned, this build-up will eventually lead to your dishwasher's performance declining, meaning dishes aren't cleaned properly and you're not getting the best from your machine.

Luckily, the process of cleaning a dishwasher is relatively straightforward and can be carried out yourself. There are many different ways of doing this, such as buying products specifically designed as dishwasher cleaners or using vinegar and baking soda.

If you use a dishwasher cleaner, it should give you instructions on how it's best used. This will always be on an empty cycle, with the product inserted into the dishwasher. These dishwasher cleaner products can be particularly useful as they're specifically designed to combat limescale and mineral build-up.

Just running an empty cycle without any form of cleaner will not clean the dishwasher, as the product is required to help break down any waste, and water alone will not remove any mineral build-up.

How to clean a dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda

Don't have access to a dishwasher cleaner? You can use vinegar and baking soda to clean a washing machine. Here's a step-by-step guide to take you through exactly how to clean a dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda.

  1. Unload the dishwasher

This might seem obvious, but to effectively clean your dishwasher, you'll need to remove all the items inside. This means no extra waste is added during the cleaning process, and all water can flow around the machine.

  1. Clean the filter

The filter at the bottom of the dishwasher is designed to catch any large items, such as food waste. Most dishwashers allow you to remove the filter and manually clean it in the sink. If you're unsure whether your dishwasher filter is removable, check the guide. 

  1. Add vinegar

Cleaning vinegar or distilled white vinegar are the best choices of vinegar for cleaning your dishwasher. These vinegars don't contain any plant dyes, which can be responsible for discolouring some surfaces. Simply place a dishwasher-safe dish or bowl at the bottom of your dishwasher with around 500ml of vinegar, then run a regular hot water cycle without a drying cycle.

  1. Use baking soda

Once the cycle with vinegar is complete, you're ready to use baking soda to help neutralise any odours. To do this, simply sprinkle one cup of baking soda into the bottom of your dishwasher and run another hot water cycle.

What's the best thing to clean the inside of a dishwasher?

While both dishwasher cleaners and the combination of vinegar and baking soda are effective ways to clean your dishwasher, there's no doubt that one option may be more effective than the other.

Dishwasher cleaners are made specifically to remove built-up minerals inside the machine, so they might be the best option, especially if you've not cleaned your dishwasher in a while.

When it comes to vinegar, there are one or two options to choose from. Distilled white vinegar contains around 5% acetic acid and 95% water, making it ideal for regular cleaning jobs. Cleaning vinegar has slightly more acetic acid (around 20% stronger) and therefore will cut through any built-up waste more effectively.

How often do I deep clean my dishwasher?

If you've owned a dishwasher for at least a few months and haven't cleaned it, it's probably overdue. We'd recommend that you carry out a deep clean using the above methods at least once a month.

You can also do several things to help ensure you're keeping on top of cleaning and mess doesn't build up in the machine. Firstly, before putting anything in your dishwasher, make sure you've scraped any excess food waste into the bin. If it goes into the dishwasher, it will likely clog up the filter, leading to an ineffective wash. Once the load is finished washing, make sure you remove any leftover debris or food from the bottom of the dishwasher.

It's also important to ensure you clean the outside of your dishwasher regularly to remove any marks or spillages.

Keeping your kitchen appliances clean is key to making sure they have a long life and you continue to get the most out of them. Check out our posts on How to Clean A Fridge and How to Clean a Freezer for detailed instructions to help keep them in great condition.

Alternatively, if it's time for a dishwasher upgrade or a new machine, why not take a look at our selection of Hoover dishwashers and find your next kitchen appliance?