This time of year, our dishwasher is working overtime thanks to cooking and baking for the holidays, hosting holiday parties, and having Dave and Nora home for lunches over Christmas Break.
As I’ve mentioned before, emptying the dishwasher has never been one of my favorite household chores — I’m not sure why, I just really don’t like doing it! Thankfully, Dave is quite helpful and often volunteers to empty it out every evening (read about the one small change I made that completely simplified the dishwashing process at our house!)
Since I would be very sad if my dishwasher was out of commission for even a day or two, I do my best to keep it in tip-top working order — and that includes cleaning it regularly.
Yes, I clean my dishwasher — and it’s a really simple (but fairly gross) process!
If it’s been a while since you cleaned your dishwasher (or if you didn’t even know you could clean your dishwasher), I’d suggest giving this simple 3-step process a try… you might be surprised how much better your dishwasher runs as a result!
1: Clean out the drain and any visible grime.
This is really the only step that requires any work on your part — and I won’t lie, it can be a bit gross 🙂
First, use a damp cloth to wipe all around the seal of the dishwasher (you might be surprised how much gunk can build up there, and you’ll probably need to keep rinsing out your cloth)
Next, remove the screen that covers the drain (in my experience, most dishwashers have some sort of removable screen at the bottom to prevent larger chunks of food from going down the drain.)
It should be fairly obvious where this is — and there should be some sort of instructions as to what way to turn or twist to remove it.
Once you remove it, rinse it out thoroughly in the sink — I use a bristle brush and the sprayer nozzle on my sink. It takes a bit of scrubbing to get everything really clean.
2: Run the empty dishwasher with vinegar.
Now comes the easy part… simply pour about 1 cup of white vinegar into the bottom of your dishwasher and run a full cycle completely EMPTY.
3: Add white vinegar to the rinse cup.
After running the vinegar cycle, your dishwasher should instantly look much cleaner — if not, you might want to look into other issues for the source of the gunk and grime.
In order to keep your dishwasher cleaner for longer, simply add more white vinegar to the rinse aid cup (where you would normally put the Jet Dry). Fill it until it’s full, and try to remember to continually refill it
You can run your dishwasher as normal from here on out.
Repeat these steps as necessary for future dirty dishwasher needs (I usually do it once a month).
These 3 simple steps have worked wonderfully for me over the years — hopefully they’ll help you keep your dishwasher in tip-top shape this holiday season!
A Few More Dishwasher Tips:
If you’re short on time and don’t feel like dealing with the gunk and grime in the drain, just follow steps 2 and 3 and you’ll still most likely notice a big difference in the cleanliness (and even the performance) of your dishwasher.
Since the plumbing pipes to your dishwasher are almost always connected to your kitchen sink pipes, it’s a good idea to run your kitchen faucet until the water is very hot. THEN start the dishwasher. This allows hot water to flow into the dishwasher right away and will save your dishwasher the effort of heating the water up (and probably extend the life of your dishwasher).
Run the quick cycle (if you have one) to save lots of time — our quick cycle is 1 hour (versus 3 hours for the normal cycle) and our dishes are always clean!
Oh, and if you want an extensive list of odd things you can wash in your dishwasher… read this post!