How to Deep Clean Your Dishwasher

deep cleaning your dishwasher

What Comes First?

If your dishwasher isn't draining well or has a funny smell coming from it, the first question is whether you're in need of a repair or a proper cleaning.  Generally, finding a company that works on appliances can be difficult, and the cost of appliance repairs can be so high that it doesn't make sense to repair versus replace.  If an appliance repair is half the cost of a new dishwasher and your current dishwasher is more than several years old, it's probably time to talk replacement.

But a lot of times it isn't a repair that's needed at all.  Dishwashers can perform poorly because they haven't been properly cleaned.  Cleaning your dishwasher can increase performance as well as the life expectancy of your unit, saving you money and delaying that inevitable replacement.

If you're dishwasher isn't working very well anymore, or there is a bad odor coming from it, start with a proper cleaning.  Try these few easy suggestions and give your dishwasher a good deep cleaning..

Did You Know There is a Filter?

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Cleaning your filter is always the first place to start, but did you even know your dishwasher even had a filter?  That's something that a lot of consumers don't realize!  Yet these filters can get so much gunk built up on them and can stop your dishwasher from properly draining.

To find your filter, start at the bottom.  They’re usually located in the bottom of the dishwasher.  You’ll have to twist and pull them out.  Beware: they can be truly disgusting if you’ve never cleaned it before!  You’ll want to run it under hot water, then grab a sponge and some good dish soap, we recommend Dawn, and give it a scrub.  Get all the gunk off it that you can.  If it still looks pretty nasty, you may need to let it soak in hot, soapy water for some time.  Also, while you're down there check the water attachment in your dishwasher, which is the piece that spins all around, to make sure the sprayers aren’t blocked and plenty of water is able to spray out.  These can detach and be cleaned in the same fashion as your filter.

how to deep clean your dishwasher

Well, That Was Disgusting. What’s Next?

After that, it’s easy!  Sprinkle some Baking Soda in your dishwasher and run it on the 1-Hour Cycle or Eco Cycle, depending on what your dishwasher’s settings are.  Then wipe around seals with a little lemon juice for a good, deep clean.  If at this point you're still smelling something funky or not draining well, it may be time for some vinegar.

how to deep clean your dishwasher

The Power of Vinegar

Vinegar has serious cleaning power. It breaks down old/caked on cheese, grime and just about anything else food-wise that your dishwasher encounters.  Place 1 cup of vinegar (in a dishwasher safe bowl) on your top shelf.  Next, run the hot water cycle, Eco Cycle or 1-Hour Cycle again. Vinegar not only breaks down grime, but it is a deodorizer as well (even though it’s smell may fool you).  If it is not draining well, combine vinegar, Dawn soap, lemon juice, and Baking Soda and let them sit and soak in the drain trap.

Even After is Soaks, It Still Won't Drain

If you discover that during your test cycle things are still not working properly, you may have a clogged drain hose.

To address a clogged drain hose, it takes a simple cleaning of it.  The Mary Catherine Blog gives six easy steps to clean your dishwasher’s drain hose:

  1. Disconnect the dishwasher drain hose from the drainpipe.
  2. Flush out the hose with hot water.
  3. Use a brush to scrub away any stubborn residues.
  4. Rinse the hose with hot water.
  5. Reconnect the hose to the drainpipe.
  6. Run a test cycle to make sure everything is working properly.

If at this point your unit still isn't draining there may be a more serious problem.  Your unit's pump may be bad or there may be a clog beyond your drain line.  In these cases, it's probably time to call a plumber and have everything looked at.


Best Practices for Unclogging Your Dishwasher’s Drain Hose at Home

  1. Unplug your dishwasher from the power outlet.
  2. Disconnect your drain hose from the dishwasher.
  3. Place the end of the drain hose into a bucket.
  4. You may need a plunger or even pliers to dislodge any debris that is stuck in there.
  5. Take a small brush and brush out the drain hose. We recommend this one you can purchase from Home Depot.
  6. Pour warm water down the drain hose (keep hose in bucket).
  7. You should run the 1-Hour Cycle, Eco Cycle or hot water cycle with 1 cup of vinegar in a dishwasher safe bowl on the top rack.
  8. Wipe out dishwasher as needed after the cycle is completed.

Dishwasher is Still Not Working?

Whether you need a little help cleaning your dishwasher or maybe it is time to replace it, we have a team that can help.  Our experienced home cleaners can help clean out that nasty grime, or our licensed plumbers can install your new unit.  Give us a call today and we'll help assess the best route for getting your dishwasher back in clean, working order.

Don't Forget, We Do It All

As 'The One Call That Books It All', our team can help with HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and more.  Whatever your home's needs, think of us first.  If we don't do it, we'll know someone who can.