Skip to main content

How to clean your dishwasher (including the one step everyone forgets)

Remember to do this one step when cleaning your dishwasher

Did you know that it’s recommended to clean your dishwasher once a month? This is because dishwashers are one of the most used appliances in the home, and over time, they gather a lot of grime and funky smells, which can lead to poorly washed dishes.

Moreover, many homeowners forget one of the most vital steps when it comes to cleaning a dishwasher! So, if your machine needs a little TLC, we have a super simple step-by-step guide on how to clean your dishwasher.




30 minutes

What You Need

  • Warm water

  • White vinegar

  • Baking soda

  • Microfiber cloth or cleaning cloth

  • Cleaning brush

Open dishwasher in kitchen with clean dishes inside
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to clean your dishwasher

Step 1: Remove the filter.

In 2022, a trend floated around on TikTok about cleaning the dishwasher filter. Surprisingly, several homeowners had no idea their dishwashers had filters, let alone that they needed cleaning! This has proven to be the one step nearly everyone forgets when it comes to cleaning their dishwasher.

So, the first thing you need to do is remove the filter from your dishwasher. Most filters are located at the bottom of the appliance. Depending on the manufacturer, it could be elsewhere on the machine. It’s best to look to your dishwasher’s service manual to remove the filter appropriately.

Step 2: Rinse and soak the filter.

Once you remove the filter, rinse and soak it. Run water over the filter to clear away any built-up grime and debris. Then, place the filter in a bowl of warm water with 1 cup of white vinegar. Let the filter soak for about 30 minutes.

Step 3: Rinse and soak racks and utensil holders.

Remove the drying racks and utensil holders. Then, rinse and soak these parts to remove any debris. Or, use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the racks by hand.

Step 4: Wipe down the inside of the dishwasher to clear away debris.

Using a cleaning cloth, begin wiping down the inside of your dishwasher to clear away any visible food debris. A spray bottle with the warm water and vinegar mixture can be handy for this step as well. Be sure to check all the tiny crevices in the machine and clear away any lodged debris with a cloth or a small cleaning brush.

Step 5: Place white vinegar in a bowl at the bottom of the dishwasher and run on a hot water cycle.

Using a dishwasher-safe bowl, add 1 cup of white vinegar and place the bowl at the bottom of the dishwasher. Your dishwasher should be empty during this step. Then, run the machine on a hot water cycle. The vinegar and hot water will help loosen any stuck-on debris and will give your dishwasher a nice deep clean.

Step 6: Run a short cycle with baking soda.

This step is optional but can provide you with a sparkling and fresh-smelling dishwasher. Remove the bowl with the vinegar. Then, sprinkle some baking soda at the bottom of your dishwasher and run it again on a short cycle. Don’t add too much baking soda! A little goes a long way, and the baking soda will remove any smelly scents from the dishwasher.

Step 7: Wipe down the door of the dishwasher on the outside portion.

Depending on the material of your dishwasher, find an all-purpose cleaner or use a water and vinegar mixture to wipe down the surface of your machine. Remove any sticky residue or fingerprints, and then use a cloth to towel dry the face of the dishwasher once you’re finished.

Step 8: Put the filter and racks back in place.

Once 30 minutes have passed and your filter and racks have been rinsed and soaked, you can place them back in the dishwasher. Be sure to put the filter back per the instruction manual and ensure that the filter is secure. Then, add your racks.

Cleaning the dishwasher is a simple task, though many homeowners don’t do it nearly enough. Additionally, many people neglect to clean out the dishwasher filter once a month, and some had no clue there was a filter at all! Be sure to use your service manual, and remember to clean out your dishwasher routinely to keep it functioning properly.

Editors' Recommendations

Amelia Wilson
Amelia Wilson (author pen name Amelia J. Wilson) is a content writer in Greenwood, IN. She often enjoys topics on…
This ingenious hack for how to wash white sheets is amazing
Here's how to keep white sheets bright and crisp
Top view of bed with white sheets

If you’ve ever spent a night in a fancy hotel, you know the indulgent luxury of clean, pristine, high-quality white sheets. They’re crisp, bright, and incredibly smooth to the touch. Perhaps you’ve already decided to duplicate this elegance in your own bedroom and bought white sheets to add to the modern feel of your sleeping space. It’s definitely a trending look. But knowing how to wash white sheets properly is crucial.

Read more
How to clean your basement floor drain and avoid major issues
Clean your basement floor drain to avoid clogs, water damage, and foul odors
Square floor drain surrounded by tile

Your basement is an important space in your home. Not only does it house a lot of the equipment needed to run your home's HVAC, electricity, and plumbing, but it's also prime real estate for extra living space. If you're thinking about remodeling this home space, or if you just want to make sure all that costly machinery is protected, a functioning floor drain is crucial. We'll walk you through why the basement floor drain is so important and how to keep it clean.

Read more
How to get rid of kitchen grease on cabinets, appliances, and more – the right way
Here's how to keep your kitchen surfaces clear of grease stains
organized and tidy kitchen

No matter where you live, your kitchen will always be a gathering space for you and your loved ones. When the meal is done, though you may notice your gorgeous kitchen cabinets, counters, and appliances have been exposed to cooking grease. Quickly tackling these drips and splatters is key to keeping your beautiful kitchen surfaces in good condition, but you need to know how to get rid of kitchen grease completely and thoroughly on different surface materials. Check out these tips to avoid long-lasting stains and damage to your kitchen’s surfaces.

Read more