Tips to clean your dishwasher

June 30, 2015

Your dishwasher does your dishes for you, but there are times when you should be cleaning it! If you find yourself with a dirty dishwasher, unwanted odour, or clogged spray arms, here's how to remedy the problem.

Tips to clean your dishwasher

Keep greasy film from forming on your dishes

After washing load after load of greasy dishes, your dishwasher gets dirty. Its interior gets coated with grease that will show up as film on plates and glassware. To avoid this, you can take a few measures.

Assuming you do not have a septic tank, you can keep your dishes film-free by following the steps below. You may have to repeat the process once or twice to make sure the washer's innards have been cleansed of all grease.

  1. Pour 250 millilitres (one cup) of liquid bleach into a bowl and place on the bottom rack of the dishwasher. Then, run the machine on the wash setting only.
  2. With the first washing complete, open the washer and pour 250 millilitres (one cup) of vinegar into the same bowl and run the machine through a full cycle.

Get rid of odours

  • After washing grease and minuscule food remains off plates and pots and pans over and over again, a dishwasher can begin to take on an unpleasant odour.
  • To freshen it up, put some powdered orange or lemon drink mix into the detergent dispenser (same amount as your dishwasher detergent) and run the washer through a full cycle.
  • This wacky-but-wise cleaning trick will not only degrease the dishwasher, but also help remove rust stains.
  • A way to keep odours out of your dishwasher in the first place is to add 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) of lemon juice to the detergent receptacle each time you use the machine.

If your dishwasher is not working well

If your dishwasher doesn't quite seem to be doing its job lately, the spray arms could be clogged with mineral deposits or other debris. Here's how to fix it.

  1. Open the washer and take a peek at the top of the three-pronged spray arms to see if the holes look clogged (in most washers, one three-pronged spray arm sits under the top rack and the second arm sits on the dishwasher floor).
  2. Test for clogging by sticking a wooden toothpick into one of the holes; if it shows signs of dirt when pulled out, the holes need cleaning.
  3. Unfasten the clips or screws holding the spray arms in place and put the arms in the kitchen sink.
  4. Next, unbend a paper clip and insert the long end into each spray hole, moving it around to dislodge the blockage.
  5. Finish the job by rinsing the spray arms under the faucet and fastening them back in their proper places. Your dishwasher should be back up to speed!

No more greasy smelly dishes — even after they've gone through the dishwasher. Keep these tricks to clean your dishwasher on hand so you'll never be embarrassed in front of guests again!

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