Tips for Cleaning a Dishwasher …

Tips for Cleaning a Dishwasher 001


It may seem odd to think that you need to clean a dishwasher, after all, isn’t that what it’s meant to do … to clean things. But a dishwasher can get dirty just like any other appliance in the house. It’s also important to keep it clean so that it continues to function at it’s best, run efficiently and smell fresh. Your dishwasher can fall victim to stubborn grease and soap scum, limescale which can build up in the pipes, and filters can be blocked with food scraps but a little bit of attention will see it sparkle like new.


This is what I do:


  • Whether using a commercial dishwasher cleaner or vinegar/bicarb soda, the first thing I do is remove the cutlery tray, wash it in warm soapy water in the sink and then rinse. Always check for any food scraps and remove these with a kitchen brush.


Tips for Cleaning a Dishwasher 002


  • Next step is to check and clean the filter. This is located in the bottom of the dishwasher and in most cases will simply lift out. Look for and remove food scraps or any other materials that have become trapped, wash the filter in warm soapy water, rinse and return to the dishwasher. A toothbrush is great to get into the small corners of the filter. It’s super important that the filter remains unblocked otherwise it may affect the ability of the dishwasher to drain correctly.


Tips for Cleaning a Dishwasher 003


  • Now for the edges of the door and the side/top edges where the door meets the machine. These areas can get especially gluggy with grime. I use a sponge and some gumption but an all-purpose cleaning spray will work or a small brush with some warm soapy will take care of difficult stains. If you do plan to use a brush and soapy water, lay a towel on the floor underneath the door to catch any water or splashes.


  • For the inside of the dishwasher itself, most months, I use plain old vinegar. Make sure the dishwasher is empty. Find a dishwasher safe container (I use a pyrex dish), add 1 to 1 ½ cups vinegar and place on the top rack. Run the dishwasher on a hot cycle and when it’s finished, your dishwasher will be clean minus any dirt and grease.


Tips for Cleaning a Dishwasher 004


  • The final step to ensure my dishwasher smells as fresh as a daisy is to add 1 cupful of bicarbonate of soda (or bicarb soda) to the bottom of the dishwasher and run once again on a hot cycle.


  • For a really intensive clean, generally twice a year, I use “Finish” Dishwasher Cleaner. It’s pretty easy and very low fuss and really gets into the pipes as well as cleaning the inside of the dishwasher. Simply empty the dishwasher, remove the sticker on the top of the cap, turn the bottle upside down, place it on the bottom rack and then run the dishwasher on a hot cycle. Bingo the dishwasher is clean and ready for action.


Tips for Cleaning a Dishwasher 005


  • The other part of the dishwasher that requires attention is the spray arm. It is possible to remove these in most dishwashers but you would need to read the Dishwasher User Manual and follow those instructions. I usually remove mine maybe twice a year and use a kitchen brush to clean the spray holes and make sure they aren’t blocked.


  • With the inside of the dishwasher now sparkling clean. I then wipe down the front and sides of the door with either some warm, soapy water on a sponge or some gumption. I also wipe down the cupboards/drawers on either side of the dishwasher as they tend to get splashed when the dishwasher is getting cleaned and also when the dishwasher is being unpacked.


  • And my final cleaning job is to clean under and behind the dishwasher. I only do this once a year and get hubby’s help to pull the dishwasher out for a good clean underneath. It’s the perfect breeding ground for bugs, insects and creepy crawlies because it’s warm and dark and you just might be surprised what’s behind there. Just be careful when pushing it back into position that the hoses don’t get bent or flattened.


I try to clean and look after my dishwasher because if it’s clean, my dishes will be cleaner and that means they will be more hygienic. A bit of tender loving care will also help my dishwasher work as efficiently as possible and might even prevent some costly maintenance issues.


How often do you clean your dishwasher and do you have any other tips that make the job easier? Do tell …




  1. Lovely! I just came across your blog and absolutely love it!! This post was certainly wonderful. One thing that I do is try to clean all my appliances as organically as possible. I find they clean much better and do less harm. I also know what I am cleaning my house with! I see that your tips are quite organic as well. Thank you!

    • Thanks, Mandy … I’m really glad you like the blog! I do prefer to use simple products like vinegar around the house as I’m not a huge fan of using lots of chemicals. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I don’t have a routine for cleaning my dishwasher but if it hasn’t been used for a while I’ll often just turn it on while it’s empty and let it run through a cycle to bring it back up to scratch. I usually add some white vinegar and baking soda to help the cleaning process along. I didn’t know about that Finish product, I’ll look out for it xx

    • I do prefer to use the vinegar and Bicarb Soda as much as possible … not only is it more natural but also a lot cheaper. The Finish product is great a couple of times a year for a really intensive clean x

  3. Great tips for keeping the dishwasher running clean and in tip-top shape. Shared your link to our facebook followers.

  4. How often do you recommend to clean it the lighter way? I am a fan of organic cleaning, like #Mandy, but hubby presented me a dishwasher for my last birthday and I’ve never cleaned it ever since. Well, I haven’t used it that often actually, once or twice a week in the worst case. I didn’t know I had to clean it but I’ll probably give vinegar a shot. Thanks for the advices! Wishing you all the best!

    • Hi Nia, it really depends on how frequently you use your dishwasher. Mine is used every day, sometimes twice a day, so I try to give it a good clean at least once every three months. If you don’t use yours very often, maybe once every six months will be enough!