Does your dishwasher smell unpleasant? If yes, it’s finally time to clean it up! 

Dishwashers are a great addition to any modern kitchen, as they make our job easier. However, most of the time people think that since it is used to wash utensils, it probably doesn’t need any cleaning of its own! No, it’s not true at all! This appliance has build-ups of detergents, food particles, and dirt, which causes it to not function properly and smell this bad. Today in this blog, I’ve explained how to clean dishwasher in 5 simple steps, along with additional useful tips. So, keep reading till the end to keep your dishwasher sparkling clean and smelling fresh. 

Let’s start. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher? 

Basically, dishwasher cleaning largely depends on how you use it. On average, you should clean your dishwasher every month if you’re using it on a regular basis. 

When should I clean the dishwasher?

It’s time to clean your dishwasher if you notice any of the below things: 

  • Foul odor
  • Mold and mildew
  • Dishes aren’t getting clean
  • Dishes with white or yellow mineral deposits
  • A thin white film on the dishwasher’s interior surface

So, whether you’re looking for the best dishwashers to buy or you already have one, you need to follow a cleaning routine to keep it clean.

Here is the cleaning schedule for you to keep your dishwasher neat and clean:


Daily or after every load
Remove visible food from the dishwasher bottom.
Rinse dishes before loading to avoid clogging.
WeeklyClean door edges and gasket with a damp cloth.
Remove and clean the filter (read your dishwasher manual for specific instructions).
MonthlyRun a deep cleaning cycle with dishwasher cleaner or distilled white vinegar.
Check drain hose for kinks or blockages.
As neededClean the exterior, edges, and any spots with a damp cloth or mild detergent (if necessary).

Things Needed to Clean Dishwasher

Things Needed to clean Dishwasher
Soft-bristle brush, Old toothbrush, Sponge, Microfiber clothsDistilled white vinegar, Baking soda, Dish soap, Dishwasher cleaner

Now that you’ve gathered all the supplies, it’s time to do the work. So, follow the below steps to get a clean, shiny dishwasher. 

Step 1: Remove Items 

Removing Items before Cleaning Dishwasher

The first step is to remove the utensil holders, dishwasher racks, and, most importantly, the filter. This will make your task easier, and you can get down to the cracks and corners. However, if anything isn’t removable, that’s okay! 

Carefully remove all the parts, as some filters can be simply twisted off, or some need to be unscrew. In most dishwashers, filters are located on the bottom rear of the tub. Also, read and refer to your dishwasher’s manual to locate and read the instructions to remove it.  

Step 2: Scrub and Wash Interior Walls

Scrubbing and Washing Interior Walls of Dishwasher

After removing all the parts, it’s time for the elbow grease. The regular use of soap causes scum and grime on the dishwasher’s walls and rubber gasket. So, first apply hot, soapy water, and then, with the help of a scrub brush, gently start brushing. Pay attention to the crevices and corners where dirt or mold could accumulate over time.  

Step 3: Clean the Filter and Clear the Drain

Clearing the Drains of Dishwasher

The next step is to clean your dishwasher filter and drain. The primary cause of dishwasher odor is clogged drain filters. As you have already taken it out, you can start cleaning it immediately. Don’t know how to clean dishwasher filter? Slowly wipe out the bottom of the filter and the spot where it is installed. 

Put it in your kitchen sink, pour hot, soapy water, and use a damp cloth, sponge, or toothbrush to remove any food particles or build-up. For deep cleaning, you can also soak it in hot water and a vinegar solution for about 15 minutes. Later, rinse it with clean water. Once completely clean, you can add the clean dishwasher filter back into place.

Step 4: Run Two Cycles: White Vinegar and Baking Soda

Adding Vinegar to clean the Dishwasher

To entirely deep clean your dishwasher, you have to run two cycles with vinegar and baking soda separately. Here’s how to clean the dishwasher with vinegar: First, put the distilled white vinegar in a container on the top rack and run a regular wash cycle. This process will help break down any built-up deposits and keep your dishwasher smelling fresh.

Adding Baking Soda to Clean the Dishwasher

For the second round, sprinkle a cup of baking soda, but this time on the bottom of the dishwasher. Go for a hot water cycle to remove unpleasant smells and odors. After this second cycle, your dishwasher not only looks clean but also smells fresh. 

Step 5: Clean the Dishwasher’s exterior

Cleaning the Exterior of the dishwasher

The last step is to clean the exterior. So, begin by wiping down the door of your dishwasher with a damp microfiber cloth. You can also use different types of cleaners, such as a stainless steel cleaner and a glass cleaner. For plastic exteriors, simply use a solution of detergent or vinegar. It will remove stubborn stains and spots. However, be careful around the control panel and handle.   

Final Thoughts 

Whether you have a built-in dishwasher or a portable dishwasher, it’s vital to learn how to clean dishwasher. This will not only help with cleaner dishes but also increase the life of your appliance. You can clean it on a regular basis, a weekly basis, or a monthly basis, depending on the usage. Follow the above steps to clear clogs, clean filters, remove any food build-ups, and make your dishwasher free of germs, bacteria, and foul smells.   

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