While at first it might seem counterintuitive, dishwashers can get pretty darn dirty in the long run. They accumulate limescale, mold, mildew, and hardened food bits on the filter that are just… yuck. But you can clean your dishwasher with vinegar.
That’s right, that stinky vinegar you have lying somewhere in your kitchen can also be used to clean the appliance that cleans dishes. Whether it’s the chemicals in dishwashing soap or grease and grime buildup, your once-pristine dishwasher may be brimming with scummy residue. Germs and odors might also be affecting its insides. We’re here to fix all of that with the help of vinegar.
- 1 How to Clean Your Dishwasher With Vinegar – The Basics
- 2 In-Depth Look at How to Clean a Dishwasher With Vinegar
- 3 Keeping the Dishwasher Clean
- 4 How to Clean the Dishwasher Without Vinegar
- 5 Final Thoughts
How to Clean Your Dishwasher With Vinegar – The Basics
First thing’s first: your dishwasher is an appliance that uses water, detergent, rinse aid, and possibly even other substances to perform well. All of that, in time, takes a toll on it and it will only become more noticeable if left unchecked.
Now that you know the inherent factors that contribute to your dishwasher’s dirty downfall, let’s move on. How often should you clean your dishwasher? There are a few things you should consider when cleaning your dishwasher. For a full overview, click here. But for now, let’s keep it short and simple.
After Every Load
You should really make a habit of taking out leftover food bits from the dishwasher’s filter after each wash cycle. Get some paper towels and grab the food bits before they get stuck and form up a yucky, smelly mess.
One more thing: unless you’re extremely bothered by the smell of vinegar, we recommend keeping a spray bottle filled with it near your dishwasher. Spray a few puffs inside the dishwasher after each load to prevent grime and scum from settling in. You might also want to keep the dishwasher door open afterward to get the smell out.
Once Every Week
Your dishwasher is constantly using water, so grime will accumulate quickly on the door. Get a damp cloth or sponge and clean the door and its edges every week to avoid the formation of mold or mildew. While you’re cleaning the door’s interior, you might also want to give its exterior some polish to remove dust and give it a sleeker look.
Also, you should really consider cleaning the filter once per week. If you neglect your filter, nothing else will work as intended. Take the filter out and rinse it with hot or warm water. Scrub the screen and plastic frame with a toothbrush.
This should remove grease, oil, and food particles stuck on the filter. If you find bits of limescale on it, consider placing it in a bowl filled with white vinegar and leave it there for an hour. Afterward, use water to rinse and a brush to scrub the remaining limescale away. Just remember to check the user’s manual if you’re not sure how to disassemble and reassemble the filter and racks.
Once Per Month – Mandatory to Clean the Dishwasher With Vinegar
Finally, one of the most important things you should always keep in check is that you offer your dishwasher a deep clean every other month. Place two cups of distilled vinegar inside the dishwasher, and run a normal cleaning cycle without adding any detergent or dishes. That’s the most basic cleaning form you can partake in.
You can solve this problem virtually with apple cider vinegar alone, but we recommend using white vinegar for the best results. For a more in-depth cleaning process, here are the things you should know:
Fill a dishwasher-safe cup or bowl with white vinegar and place it on the upper rack of the machine. Run the empty dishwasher on the hottest setting. You have to choose the hottest setting to allow the vinegar to absorb odors and erode grimy buildup on the walls of the machine. Sure, you can run even with slightly colder water, but the hottest setting gives out the best results.
Because of white vinegar’s pH level, it is very acidic and thus melts off scum and grime on just about any appliance you can imagine.
In-Depth Look at How to Clean a Dishwasher With Vinegar
Ok, so running a wash cycle with the hottest water temperature and vinegar might just do the trick. However, there are times when you have no other option but to get down and dirty. In such scenarios, we recommend considering the following approach and items:
- Warm water
- Distilled white vinegar
- Baking soda
- Microfiber cloth
- Rubber gloves
Now you need to start by removing the filter, utensil holders, and dishwasher racks. The racks and baskets are pretty simple to get out and you most likely won’t even need to sift through the instruction manual to figure that out.
However, the filter can be a little more complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing. Certain filters simply twist off much like a bottle cap. But others have screws holding them in place and will require either a screwdriver or a specialized tool if you want to get down on the nitty-gritty.
Once you’ve figured that out, it’s time to remove the debris. Wipe the spray arms and the sidewalls, especially in the corners at the top and bottom. Look inside the tiny holes and slots where water sprays out. If you see food particles or other debris lodged in tiny crevices like these, use a toothbrush and/or toothpick to clean them out.
Now we’re finally ready to add the vinegar. Just take note that because we took everything out for this particular type of cleaning process, a few key adjustments have to made when compared to what we have said a little earlier in the article.
First off, we’re going to place a cup of white vinegar on the bottom of the empty dishwasher instead of the top rack as previously mentioned. Well, that’s pretty understandable considering the fact that we just took everything apart. Set the dishwasher to run on a hot water cycle. The vinegar will break down bits of food, grease, soap scum, residue, and any other lingering grime.
For an added effect
After the wash cycle has finished, it is time to sprinkle one cup of baking soda along the bottom of the dishwasher. Be sure to cover as much of the area as possible.
Now just run a short cycle, sit back, and relax. After the cycle is over, your dishwasher should smell fresh and look as sparkling as it ever did. But wait! There’s more:
How to Clean a Dishwasher Door’s Exterior With Vinegar
Create a mixture that’s 1/3 dish soap, 1/3 water, and 1/3 white vinegar. This mixture is very powerful and works on any type of surface, regardless if your dishwasher door is made out of stainless steel, plastic, or whatever other material.
You can put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray it all over the door, then wipe it down with a microfiber cloth. Alternatively, you can dip the microfiber cloth directly in the solution and use it to clean the door thoroughly, and afterwards wipe away with a clean cloth. Both methods work wonderfully.
Keeping the Dishwasher Clean
We’ve covered how to clean the dishwasher with vinegar both in short and in-depth, so now it’s time for a few tips on keeping it clean for longer.
First of all, it is important to keep up with basic maintenance. Like we said earlier in the article, you should make a habit out of picking hardened food bits from the filter after every wash. That way you’ll make things significantly easier. It’s also important to keep up with the other regular cleaning patterns as well.
But let’s say you’re extremely busy and just can’t find the time to take care of your appliances properly. Well, you can still wash your dishwasher every six months or so. That’s the maximum we recommend leaving it unwashed under any circumstance.
Furthermore, you can do something even simpler to optimize how the dishwasher runs: set the temperature above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, preferably around the 150 degrees mark. That way, the water can sanitize dishes properly and keep microorganisms like mold at bay. Adjust your water heater accordingly if you have problems with less than ideal water temperature.
How to Clean the Dishwasher Without Vinegar
Vinegar is one of the best things you would want to have around the house. However, we are aware that some people might simply not like the smell of vinegar. In fact, some may hate it so much that maybe they won’t want to use it to clean their dishwasher even if it was the only way to do it.
Fortunately, vinegar isn’t the only thing you can use to clean your dishwasher. You can find professional and branded dishwasher cleaners in almost any store. However, not all of them are as effective. So we’re going to show you a few that are:
Finish In-Wash Dishwasher Cleaner
- Cleans the hidden & vital parts of your dishwasher including spray arms & filter
- Contains 100% more grease removal actives
- Removes hard water stains & lime scale build up
|Quantity:||3 (one pack) or 12 (four packs) Count|
Coming from one of the best dishwasher detergent brands, the Finish In-Wash Dishwasher Cleaner gets the job done properly every single time, regardless of water hardness, grime level, and numerous other factors.
As a result, you’ll always get a clean dishwasher that, in turn, can clean dishes properly for a much longer time than it would be able to otherwise. These small capsules literally save you countless dollars in repairs and bills, so we recommend them even if they are more expensive than other options.
If you want to clean your dishwasher without vinegar, the Finish In-Wash Grease, Grime, and Limescale Cleaner should be your go-to choice regardless of dishwasher brand, type, or any other aspects.
You only need to use these capsules once a month for an amazingly clean, fresh, and well-maintained dishwasher. In fact, some reviewers said that they use it even less and the dishwasher still feels clean. It’s your call how you’ll be experimenting with these.
Glisten Dishwasher Magic Machine Cleaner and Disinfectant
- 12oz Dishwasher Magic- Two Pack!
- Effective Disinfectant Against Eschericha Coli and Salmonella Choleraesus
- Safely and Effectively Removes Lime Scale
|Quantity:||2 x 12 Fl. Oz. Bottles|
If you want something that not only cleans but also disinfects your dishwasher, then you should treat the Glisten Dishwasher Magic Machine as your first priority.
Glisten’s powerful yet safe dishwasher detergent removes heavy-duty limescale, rust, grease, and other build-up from the dishwasher and effectively disinfects your machine. The manufacturer guarantees that the formula is so efficient that it can even clean hard to reach areas without you having to use a brush or something similar to do some scrubbing.
The Glisten Dishwasher Magic Machine Cleaner and Disinfectant does exactly what the name suggests – namely, it cleans and disinfects the dishwasher almost to perfection.
Be aware that at times you might need to pour a little more liquid to get the full effect, especially if you haven’t washed your dishwasher in a long time. However, even so, it is worth it thanks to the low price.
Hopefully, you have now seen all the advantages of knowing how to clean your dishwasher with vinegar.
Here’s hoping that from now on you’ll no longer have to deal with limescale, grime, mildew, mold, and dirt.