Is your dishwasher turning into a smelly, gunky mess? Then, this post is for you! Follow this easy step-by-step guide from Crown Cleaners on how to clean your dishwasher, stop it from giving off stinky odours, and make your plates sparkle once again. Let’s dive in.

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How to Clean Your Dishwasher in 5 Easy Steps

Like any household appliance, your dishwasher needs to be regularly maintained. This will help ensure a longer product life with minimal malfunctions and unpleasant odours. To help you get started, we recommend following these five simple steps:

  1. Remove and Clean the Dishwasher Filter

The dishwasher filter traps bits of soggy leftover food and prevents debris from depositing on the clean dishes and cups. It also helps prevent the dishwasher drain from clogging.

If the filter isn’t removed and cleaned weekly, or at least once every two weeks, it can greatly reduce the efficiency of your dishwasher. You’ll notice that the dishes aren’t coming out as spotless as they should be.

They may also have an unpleasant odour rather than coming out smelling clean and fresh.

So, it’s important to remove the lower and upper filters and run them under warm water in the kitchen sink. If any food particles seem to be stuck in the filters, you can use a soft brush to remove them.

  1. Wipe Down the Door Seals

Wiping down the dishwasher door seals should be another part of your weekly cleaning routine. If the door seals and rim are left grimy, tiny food particles can accumulate between the folds. As a result, the seals degrade over time, causing the dishwasher to leak. This affects its overall quality and prevents the dishes from coming out as clean as they should.

The good news is that wiping down the seals is quick and easy. Here’s how to do it: using a dry, soft cloth, wipe the rim and seals of your dishwasher. Like the filters, if you notice any build-up of food particles, use a soft brush, like an old toothbrush, to remove them. Then, wipe the seals with a dry cloth to remove any water residue.

  1. Add Dishwasher Salt and Rinse Aid

Your dishwasher works best with soft water, but many parts of the UK have hard water running through their pipes. One way to soften the water and protect your dishwasher is by adding salt.

By softening the water, you help prevent limescale, a hard white mineral deposit mainly of calcium carbonate, from building up. These deposits form when the hard water entering the dishwasher heats up, causing magnesium and calcium ions to precipitate and form limescale deposits.

Limescale build-up can greatly reduce the machine’s efficiency and cause permanent damage to the heating elements, drum, and internal pipes. Not only that, but it also reduces the efficiency of many brands of dishwashing detergents, leaving behind an invisible thin layer of soap on the dishes.

In addition to the dishwasher salt, you should add your favourite dishwasher rinse aid every 3–4 weeks. This can help ensure your dishes have no unsightly streaks or watermarks.

  1. Remove and Clean the Spray Arms

Spray arms and spray out the water needed to rinse your tableware and remove soap suds. Yet, over time, they become blocked with food particles, detergent build-up, and other debris.

To prevent poor dishwashing and spotty dishes, you’ll need to remove the spray arms. Then, clean the holes to remove any blockages. The debris should slide right out by running them under warm water. For best results, repeat this step once every six months.

  1. Empty the Dishwasher and Run It on a Hot Cycle

Nowadays, some dishwashers come with an eco mode to help conserve water. This program doesn’t use hot water, which increases the build-up of food residue. Also, cool water isn’t the best at rinsing off any soap film covering the machine’s inner components.

Manufacturers recommend running your dishwasher while empty on a hot cycle twice a year. It’ll help remove any foul smells emanating from your dishwasher that are caused by leftover bits of food and soap scum.

Learn more: How to Clean an Iron Steam Vents


Are Chemical Dishwasher Cleaners Safe?

Yes, they’re safe to use if you don’t overuse them. Manufacturers recommend using them once every six months. While it may be tempting to use harsh cleaning products, such as bleach, we advise against it. Over time, they can degrade the seals and other parts of the dishwasher and leave behind a toxic residue on the tableware.

Should I Do a Pre-Rinse?

There’s an ongoing debate about whether you should pre-rinse the dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. We’re often too tired or don’t have the time. However, pre-rinsing removes the food particles found on the tableware before they find their way into the dishwasher, clog the filters and drain, and leave behind a foul odour.

Can I Clean the Dishwasher with Vinegar?

Yes, white vinegar is considered a natural cleaner that’s cheap and safe to use in the dishwasher. It works by breaking down any food residue, grime, and soap scum left behind in the machine.

Start by filling a dishwasher-safe bowl with one cup of white vinegar. Place it on the bottom rack of an empty dishwasher. Next, set the dishwasher program to run on the hottest cycle.

For best results, repeat every 2–3 months.

Final Thoughts

Our kitchen is the hub of our home, and the dishwasher is one of the appliances we use regularly. So, it pays to know a few low-hassle tips and tricks on how to clean a dishwasher and how often you clean it.

Keeping it clean and tidy means removing any accumulated soap scum, food particles, and grease. By following the steps mentioned in this guide, you can be sure that your dishwasher will continue to run without fail for many years to come.