How to Clean a Dishwasher: Complete Guide

Clean Your Dishwasher Today and Keep Your Dishes Sparkling Clean!

Greetings Asensio! A dishwasher is a convenient household appliance that can save you time and effort in cleaning your dishes. It is an essential tool for any modern kitchen. However, with frequent use, your dishwasher can accumulate dirt, grime, and other debris that affect its performance. Keeping your dishwasher clean and well-maintained can ensure that it operates efficiently and has a long lifespan.

If you are wondering how to clean a dishwasher, this comprehensive guide will help you. In this article, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions to clean your dishwasher thoroughly. You will learn how to remove food debris, grease, and mineral buildup from your dishwasher’s interior, exterior, and filters. Additionally, we will give you tips on how to maintain your dishwasher to avoid future problems.


You remember that beautiful shiny dishwasher you bought a few months ago. It is now filled with stains and grime and does not smell pleasant. It might also be making weird sounds or not cleaning your dishes correctly. You need to clean it, but you don’t know where to start. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! In this section, we will explain everything you need to know about your dishwasher, so you can understand how to clean it better.

What is a Dishwasher?

A dishwasher is a household appliance that is designed to clean and dry dishes automatically. It operates by circulating water and detergent in the dishwasher’s interior and spraying it onto the dishes using rotating spray arms. Afterward, it drains the dirty water and refills the dishwasher with clean water to rinse the dishes. Finally, it dries the dishes using heating elements or a fan.

Types of Dishwashers

Type Description
Built-in Dishwasher Installed under a countertop and connected to a water supply and drain. It is a permanent fixture in your kitchen.
Portable Dishwasher Similar to a built-in dishwasher, but it is not permanently installed. It can be moved around your kitchen and connected to a faucet when in use.
Countertop Dishwasher A compact dishwasher that sits on your countertop and connects to a faucet. It is perfect for small kitchens or apartments.

Why is it Important to Clean Your Dishwasher?

Your dishwasher works hard to clean your dishes, but it can’t clean itself. Over time, food debris, grease, and mineral buildup can accumulate in your dishwasher’s filters, spray arms, and interior, affecting its performance. A dirty dishwasher can also develop mold, which can cause unpleasant odors and affect your health. Regular cleaning and maintenance can keep your dishwasher running efficiently and prolong its lifespan.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?

You should clean your dishwasher at least once a month. However, if you use it frequently or notice any signs of buildup or odor, you should clean it more often. By cleaning your dishwasher regularly, you can save money on repairs and replacement costs.

What Are the Signs That Your Dishwasher Needs Cleaning?

Here are some signs that your dishwasher needs cleaning:

  • Your dishes come out dirty or spotty
  • Your dishwasher smells bad
  • There is debris or buildup in the dishwasher’s filters or spray arms
  • The dishwasher makes strange noises or does not complete its cycle

What Materials Do You Need to Clean Your Dishwasher?

You do not need fancy equipment or cleaning agents to clean your dishwasher. Here are the materials you will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • A soft-bristled brush
  • A microfiber cloth
  • A toothbrush

How to Prepare Your Dishwasher for Cleaning?

Before you start cleaning your dishwasher, you need to prepare it. Here are the steps:

  1. Empty your dishwasher: Remove all dishes, cutlery, and racks from your dishwasher.
  2. Inspect your dishwasher: Check for any visible signs of debris, buildup or damage. Also, remove any large food particles from the drain in the dishwasher’s bottom.
  3. Remove the filters: Most dishwashers have two filters (a coarse one and a fine one) that trap food particles and debris. Take them out and rinse them under running water. If they are heavily soiled, soak them in warm, soapy water for a few minutes before rinsing them.

How to Clean a Dishwasher?

Now that you have prepared your dishwasher, you are ready to start cleaning. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Clean the Interior

The interior of your dishwasher is where the dishes go, and the cleaning happens. It is also where food debris, grease, and mineral buildup accumulate. Here is how to clean it:

  1. Wipe down the dishwasher walls: Using a damp microfiber cloth, wipe down the interior walls of your dishwasher. Make sure to clean around the edges and corners where food debris can accumulate.
  2. Clean the spray arms: The spray arms distribute water and detergent onto your dishes. Over time, they can become clogged with food debris, affecting their performance. To clean them, remove them from the dishwasher and rinse them under running water. Use a toothbrush to remove any buildup or debris from the spray holes.
  3. Clean the interior edges and corners: The edges and corners of your dishwasher’s interior can accumulate dirt and grime. Use a soft-bristled brush and baking soda to scrub them clean. Rinse them off with water and wipe them down with a microfiber cloth.
  4. Clean the dishwasher drain: The dishwasher drain can also collect food debris and grease. Unscrew the drain cover and remove any buildup. Rinse the drain with hot water to flush out any remaining debris.

Step 2: Clean the Exterior

The exterior of your dishwasher can also get dirty and greasy. Here is how to clean it:

  1. Clean the door: Wipe down the exterior of the dishwasher door with a damp microfiber cloth. Pay attention to the edges and corners where dirt can accumulate.
  2. Clean the control panel: Use a soft, dry cloth to clean the control panel. Avoid using water or cleaning solutions, as they can damage the electronics.
  3. Clean the dishwasher handle: The handle is a high-touch area that can attract dirt and grime. Use a microfiber cloth and baking soda to clean it.

Step 3: Clean the Filters

The filters are essential components of your dishwasher that trap food particles and debris. Here is how to clean them:

  1. Remove the filters: Take out the filters from your dishwasher and rinse them thoroughly under running water.
  2. Soak the filters: If the filters are heavily soiled, soak them in warm, soapy water for a few minutes before rinsing them.
  3. Clean the filter housing: The filter housing can also accumulate debris. Use a soft-bristled brush and baking soda to scrub it clean. Rinse it off with water and dry it before replacing the filters.

Step 4: Run a Cleaning Cycle

After cleaning the dishwasher’s interior, exterior, and filters, run a cleaning cycle to ensure that all the remaining dirt and debris are removed. Here is how to do it:

  1. Add vinegar: Pour one cup of white vinegar into the bottom of your dishwasher.
  2. Run a cycle: Run a hot water cycle with no dishes in the dishwasher. The vinegar will help remove any remaining grease, food debris, and mineral buildup.
  3. Add baking soda: Once the cycle is complete, sprinkle one cup of baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher. Run another hot water cycle. The baking soda will help deodorize and sanitize your dishwasher.


Q1. Can I use bleach to clean my dishwasher?

No. Bleach is harsh and can damage your dishwasher’s interior and components. It can also leave a strong odor that can affect your dishes and health.

Q2. Can I use dish soap to clean my dishwasher?

No. Dish soap can create suds and overflow your dishwasher, causing damage. It can also leave residues that can affect your dishwasher’s performance.

Q3. Can I clean my dishwasher with lemon juice?

Yes. Lemon juice is a natural cleaning agent that can help remove stains and odors from your dishwasher. Mix one cup of lemon juice with two cups of hot water and pour it into the bottom of your dishwasher. Run a hot water cycle.

Q4. How do I clean my dishwasher’s spray arms?

Remove the spray arms from the dishwasher and rinse them under running water. Use a toothbrush to remove any buildup or debris from the spray holes.

Q5. Can I clean my dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda at the same time?

No. Vinegar is acidic, while baking soda is alkaline. Mixing them can create a chemical reaction that can damage your dishwasher’s interior and components.

Q6. How often should I replace my dishwasher’s filters?

You should replace your dishwasher’s filters every six to twelve months, depending on their condition and usage.

Q7. What should I do if my dishwasher still smells bad after cleaning?

You can try running a cycle with a cup of baking soda in the bottom of your dishwasher. You can also place a bowl of white vinegar on the top rack and run a hot water cycle.


Congratulations, Asensio! You now know how to clean a dishwasher properly. We hope that this guide has been useful to you and that you have learned valuable tips on cleaning and maintaining your dishwasher. Remember to clean your dishwasher regularly to avoid future problems, save money, and keep your dishes sparkling clean.

Don’t forget that a clean dishwasher is not only beneficial to your kitchen but also to your health. A filthy dishwasher can harbour bacteria and fungi which can cause infections and respiratory problems. Therefore, it is essential to clean your dishwasher frequently and correctly.

Happy cleaning!


The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. We do not endorse, support, or promote any particular product or brand. The reader should always exercise caution when applying any cleaning method or solution to their dishwasher. We are not responsible for any damages or injuries resulting from the use or misuse of the information presented in this article.