How to clean the dishwasher filter
The easiest and the most important thing you should do to maintain your dishwasher is to remove any crumbs and leftover food from the plates. If we don’t do so, they go in the filter and worsens the performance quality of the machine. Gradually the dishwasher won’t deliver squeaky clean glasses and plates, because the circulating water will just distribute old food around. Regularly take out the filter. You can find it at the bottom of the machine, probably under the spray arms. Different dishwashers’ filters have a “lock” mechanism, meaning that the filter is secured, so it doesn’t slide off during cycles. Make sure to find out how to take it out, so you don’t break it. Once you take it out, remove all the nasty food, and wash it carefully with soap and water. It may be oily, so try to scrub it out, this will improve the performance of the machine.
Table of contents
- How to clean the dishwasher filter
- Smelly Dishwasher
- Cleaning your dishwasher with materials, you can find at home
- Clean your dishwasher with other materials
- Make it shine
- Be smart
Now you need to get rid of the smell, and there are a few ways you can do so.
Scrub the inside of the dishwasher
After you have cleaned the filter, take an old toothbrush, and scrub any big marks inside the machine. This process will make the next steps much more comfortable and more effective. It is also advisable to do it before you use any detergents because when you run the machine after that, it will wash out the small particles down the drain, and not spread them all over your dishes and glasses.
You can take out the spraying arms and clean the wholes using a needle or a thin wire. Be careful how you take them out, the same as the filter, there is a particular way to remove them, so you don’t break them. There may be food particles, or scale has built up, worsening the spray strength of the water. The blocked holes of the spray arms may be one of the reasons why your dishwasher is not performing well.
Cleaning your dishwasher with materials, you can find at home
If your dishwasher is made out of stainless steel, you can consider using vinegar or baking soda to disinfect it. Here is how you can do it.
Clean the dishwasher with vinegar
Vinegar has magical powers when it comes to cleaning. It is cheap, and we all have it at home. This liquid works as an antibacterial and dissolving solution that can help you get rid of any stubborn marks and smells in the dishwasher (you can also use it to clean your washing machine or your whole bathroom too). After you have emptied the filter of the machine, fill in a cup, or two if it’s very smelly, with white vinegar. Make sure that the cups are dishwasher safe. Place them on the top rack heading up, so the vinegar stays in the cup, of a completely empty dishwasher and run a hot cycle. With the circulation of water, the vinegar will be dispersed and will remove any bacteria that may be growing in there. Vinegar is also amazing against mould if it has started growing inside the machine. It is advisable to perform this routine at least once a month so you can avoid this problem.
Clean your dishwasher with baking soda
Baking soda also has an anti-odours effect. In an empty dishwasher again, sprinkle 200 grams of baking soda on the bottom of the machine. Run a high-temperature cycle again, the baking soda will start bubbling inside the machine, and it will dissolve sturdy marks on the walls. It will remove the smell out of the dishwasher so that you can enjoy clean, fresh, and sanitary dishes.
You can use the baking soda by itself, but you can also mix it with vinegar for a better effect. Start the cycle with just baking soda, let it run for 10-15 minutes on high temperature, then pause it and add a filled cup with vinegar sitting on the second rack. Continue the cycle, and voila, your dishwasher is cleaned. Perform this cleaning method once a month. If you use your dishwasher heavily, you can do it more often.
Clean your dishwasher with bleach
Well, if your dishwasher is made from stainless steel, you can use bleach because it is too abrasive, and it will damage it. However, it is highly effective. You can make a spray solution, by mixing lukewarm water with 1/3 cup of chlorine bleach. Be extremely careful when working with bleach, because it is harmful to people. You should wear rubber gloves, cover your mouth with a cloth or a mask and you can also use safety glasses. Spray the solution in the drain area. The bleach will dissolve any food particles that are left inside. For the walls of the machine, you have to spray the mixture and then use a cloth. It’s recommended to employ circular motions so you can remove any more prominent spots.
You can also run a cycle with bleach. Remember again that your dishwasher should not be made from stainless steel, because it has a corroding effect. You need to fill a cup with bleach and place it on the top rack of an empty machine. Use the high heat setting and run a full cycle. This should remove the stains and the odours in the dishwasher. Regularly run a program with bleach, every 5-6 weeks so you can avoid it getting really dirty again.
Clean your dishwasher with other materials
There are detergents made explicitly for this. You can use for example Finish Dishwasher Cleaner, it has a lemony smell and helps to maintain your dishwasher clean. The product is affordable and easy to use. Of course, before you use it, you will need to perform the steps of cleaning out the filter and scrubbing the walls so you can ease out the process. You use the product on an empty dishwasher, just read the instructions on the bottle. You have to keep in mind it is a cleaning product so avoid any eye contact.
It sometimes happens that dishes or glasses scratch and get cloudy after a cycle. There is a product that helps protecting our plates, and they don’t lose their shine and colour. You can check out Finish Dishwasher Protector. This product will help you maintain your precious dishes shiny and colourful. Nobody will know that they are already five years old, because every time you run a cycle, they will come out sparkly as new.
Make it shine
Of course, you want to have your dishwasher performing well and make all your dishes shine, however, you should also maintain it from the outside. In the kitchen sometimes it can get very messy. Everyone is in a rush, spilling food, drinks, wine, and the dishwasher gets stained and sticky. You need to wipe its exterior regularly. First, wet a cloth with warm water and go over the surface to soften any more significant stains, so you can make it easier to clean after that. You can use your regular kitchen detergent to clean the outside of the machine. It should be a degreaser, so it can remove any oily stains that have been layering up. Use protective gloves and a sponge. If you need to scrub, do so carefully, so you don’t harm the surface of your dishwasher, you don’t want to scratch it. Go over with a dry tissue or cloth to remove any leftover detergent.
Where bacteria love to hide is in the crevices. Now we have cleaned the dishwasher from the inside, and out, however, the rims around the door are left isolated when the machine is closed, and we tend to forget to clean it. Open the dishwasher and meticulously go around the edges of the door first with a dry cloth so you can remove any more significant parts that may be hiding there. Be careful with the rubber because it plays a vital role in the performance of your machine. If you move it or damage it, your dishwasher may star leaking every time you run it. After you remove the bigger crumbs, its time to scrub away the slimy substance that has been building up, you can take a towel, use it to cover one of your fingers so you can go around the rim as if you are tracing the entire outline with your finger. Wet the tip with vinegar and start disinfecting. After you perform, this step takes the same degreaser, spray the edges, and let it sit for a few minutes. Take a thin sponge and try to go as deep as you can, keeping the rubber intact. Then take a clean towel dipped in water and retrace the rim. Now your dishwasher is cleaned.
Each one of us knows that this process is not the most enjoyable. When there is gunk involved, we tend to avoid the cleaning as long as we can. However, if you spend two hours a month on your dishwasher, so you can extensively clean it top to bottom, inside and outside, you will save yourself a lot of money in the future. With maintaining your dishwasher, you are prolonging its life, so you can stay away from washing by hands or investing in a new machine every 2 years.