Regularly cleaning your dishwasher can help prevent stains and mold in the appliance. Plan on cleaning your dishwasher once a month along with other monthly tasks in your kitchen, like cleaning your refrigerator, to keep your appliance in good working order.
Before beginning to clean your dishwasher, check your water temperature. Lower than recommended water temperature can cause your appliance to clean less efficiently. Look in your user’s manual for the specific model number. The manual should tell you the correct temperature. Use a thermometer to measure the water in the middle of the cycle to ensure it is getting hot enough. If it is not hot enough, your machine may have a heating element that will heat cooler water to meat the needed temperature. Otherwise, you must adjust the temperature from your water heater.
Once your dishwasher water temperature has been checked, you can begin to clean your appliance. Start by removing any food debris from inside the machine. Pay particular attention to the bottom of the appliance and remove any food particles in the trap. You can use paper towels for this step.
Further cleaning will depend on the needs of your specific appliance. Hard water deposits are common in most areas and can easily be removed with white vinegar. To clean hard water deposits, start the cycle and wait for the bottom of the machine to fill with water. Then stop the dishwasher and add two cups of white vinegar to the bottom of the machine.
Let the vinegar sit for 45 minutes to dissolve any deposits, then run the machine through the rest of the cycle. You can also use the time while the bottom of the dishwasher is soaking to remove any debris from the inside of the machine.
Baking soda is an excellent cleanser for cleaning the interior of the appliance. It is both a mild abrasive and a deodorizer. No matter what you cleanser you use, make sure to not use a cleaner that will scratch the interior of the appliance.
Although vinegar is an excellent hard water deposit remover, stains that have built up over time may require a stronger cleaner. Check your local home improvement store for special cleansers formulated to remove dishwasher hard water deposits. Also consider using a water softener to prevent hard water stains.
Discoloration in the appliance can often be removed by adding Orange Tang Drink Mix to the rinse cycle of your machine. A full container placed in the appliance can reduce the discoloration by using the citric acid to bleach the inside of the machine. Add the Tang to clean the machine and run the dishwasher through the full cycle.
If your dishwasher is seldom used, you could have mold in your machine. To kill any mold, add one to two tablespoons of bleach to the machine and run it through its cycle. The bleach should eliminate any mold and further clean the interior of your dishwasher.
Regular cleaning of a dishwasher can help extend the life of the appliance. It can also help your dishwasher more efficiently clean your dishes. Mark a day on your calendar to do this once a month, cleaning your dishwasher should only take five to ten minutes of your time.