Tuesday, July 31, 2012

how to clean your dishwasher

Thrilling. Not as comical as my previous post, but it is, indeed, necessary.

This is the second part of my Monday, even though it's Tuesday. Monday really was just too long for me to actually write all about it in one day. You can read the first part and third part if you've missed them.

After we got home from Baby Wonder's swimming lessons and I transferred a sleeping baby from car to couch (because car to crib is NOT an option), I empty the dishwasher and decide to do something I've been wanting to do for weeks.

I need to clean my dishwasher. 

lookit that. gross. and you can't even smell it.
 Many of the blogs I've read report that, when first approached about this idea, the authors found the concept strange. I mean, like a washing machine, soap goes in it every day. Why does it need cleaned? It's because, like a washing machine, dirty things (be it dishes or clothes) also get loaded in and can create a funk. That's really the best way to describe the smell and build up on a dishwasher, if you've ever noticed.

eww. I don't even want to know.
A build up of water, food particles, and germs mix in a nice, warm environment on a regular basis, creating something like the picture above. So, unlike the blogs I had read claiming that cleaning a dishwasher was initially a strange concept, I knew better. All that was left was to figure out how. As I'm not eager to climb in my dishwasher and scrub it all out by hand, I was aiming for a method that was less involved if I could help it.

I found this way that I liked, and it worked fabulously. I still had to do a bit of scrubbing, but the combination of the cleaning materials really loosened all the funk, so the wipe down at the end was super easy.

FIRST: Make sure that the bottom of your dishwasher is free of anything. This means take out the bottom rack and get out all the extra bit of whatever floating in your drain. I didn't have much, my biggest problem was the buildup of mildew, but it's still good to check.

SECOND: I put my bottom rack back in for this step, though the original tutorial looked like it was left out. I figured my bottom rack could stand some cleaning, too. Fill a dishwasher safe bowl or measuring cup with 1-1.5 cups of PLAIN white vinegar.Other than this cup, your dishwasher should be empty. Run it on the hottest setting.

THIRD: Remove the bottom rack and keep it out. The vinegar has served to loosen all the grit, now sprinkle about a cup of baking soda all over the bottom of your dishwasher. Run it again on full heat. This finalizes the "fresh" smell you're going for and picks up any funny stains that might have happened over the YEARS it has been since your apartment complex installed it and NO ONE cleaned it. Or maybe that's just me.

FOURTH: If you DON'T have a stainless steal dishwasher, you can add a cup of bleach to the bottom and run it. This solves any mold or mildew problems. I did the baking soda and bleach at the same time. Don't do that. It starts to sud like a volcano science experiment, and while it didn't overflow, it did require two runs of the dishwasher to clear it out. No matter. It's clean!

FIFTH: Wipe down any spots that need it, paying attention to the part at the bottom where the door meets the inside of the washer.

super squeaky clean!

Look how well it worked! I feel much better about my dishes actually being clean. I plan on doing this every couple of months, since honestly, it wasn't that hard.

Now, doesn't that make you want to clean your dishwasher? Good luck!


  1. Well, FINALLY I figured out how to subscribe to people. So, I am no an official subscriber to your blog. Yay! Also, I think I will clean my dishwasher. It needs it.

  2. Glad I stumbled upon your blog! It is ironic that a machine that sterilizes dishes needs to be cleaned. Well, off to clean my dishwasher! Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope this worked for you, it certainly made me feel better about the way my dishes were cleaned! Hope you'll stop back :)