How to Clean a Dishwasher: The Ultimate Guide

Hello, Challenger! Are you tired of your dishwasher not performing as well as it used to? Does it smell bad or leave food particles on your dishes? If so, it might be time to give your dishwasher a deep clean. In this article, we will teach you everything you need to know about how to clean a dishwasher and keep it running smoothly for years to come.


Dishwashers are a staple appliance in many households. They make our lives easier by taking care of the tedious task of washing dishes. However, even the most well-maintained dishwasher can benefit from a deep clean every now and then. Regular cleaning can help prevent foul odors, clogs, and other issues that can impede your dishwasher’s performance. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to clean a dishwasher, it’s important to understand why it’s necessary and what you can do to maintain its cleanliness in the first place.

Why Clean Your Dishwasher?

Many people assume that their dishwasher cleans itself while it’s running, but this is not entirely true. While dishwashers do have self-cleaning features, they aren’t foolproof. Mineral buildup, leftover food particles, and other debris can accumulate over time and make it difficult for your dishwasher to do its job properly. Not only does this result in a less-than-sparkling finish on your dishes, but it can also lead to bad smells and even health risks if left untreated.

How to Maintain Your Dishwasher

The good news is that there are a few simple steps you can take to help prevent your dishwasher from getting too dirty in the first place. First, be sure to scrape off any excess food debris before loading your dishes into the dishwasher. This will help prevent food particles from clogging your dishwasher’s drain or spray arm. Additionally, you should periodically remove and clean any built-in filters or screens, which are designed to catch larger debris to prevent clogs.

For routine cleaning, you can simply run your dishwasher with a high-quality detergent and a rinse aid. However, for a deep clean, you will need to take a more hands-on approach.

How to Clean a Dishwasher

Gather Your Supplies

Before you can clean your dishwasher, you’ll need to gather a few supplies. Here’s what you’ll need:

White vinegar Baking soda Citric acid
Toothbrush Soft-bristled brush Microfiber cloths

Clean the Interior

The first step in cleaning your dishwasher is to clean the interior. Here’s how:

  1. Remove any large debris from the bottom of the dishwasher.
  2. Remove the dishwasher racks and soak them in hot, soapy water.
  3. Mix one cup of white vinegar with one cup of water and pour it into a dishwasher-safe container on the top rack of the dishwasher.
  4. Run a hot cycle on the dishwasher.
  5. Sprinkle baking soda along the bottom of the dishwasher and run a short hot water cycle.
  6. Use a toothbrush to scrub any stubborn stains or buildup.
  7. Wipe down the interior with a microfiber cloth.

Clean the Spray Arm

The spray arm is responsible for spraying water onto your dishes, so it’s important to make sure it’s clean and free of debris. Here’s how to clean it:

  1. Remove the spray arm from the dishwasher.
  2. Soak the spray arm in a solution of one part white vinegar and one part hot water for 30 minutes.
  3. Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the spray arm and remove any built-up debris.
  4. Rinse the spray arm with hot water and reattach it to the dishwasher.

Clean the Filter

The filter catches larger debris and prevents it from clogging your dishwasher’s drain. Here’s how to clean it:

  1. Locate the filter in your dishwasher (it is typically located at the bottom of the tub).
  2. Remove the filter from the dishwasher and rinse it under hot water to remove any large debris.
  3. Soak the filter in a solution of one part hot water and one part citric acid for 30 minutes.
  4. Rinse the filter under hot water and reattach it to the dishwasher.


1. What should I use to clean my dishwasher?

You can use a combination of white vinegar, baking soda, and citric acid to clean your dishwasher.

2. How often should I clean my dishwasher?

You should aim to clean your dishwasher once a month, or as needed if you notice any issues.

3. Can I use bleach to clean my dishwasher?

No, you should not use bleach to clean your dishwasher. It can damage the dishwasher’s interior and cause it to deteriorate over time.

4. Can I use regular dish soap in my dishwasher?

No, you should not use regular dish soap in your dishwasher. It can create too many suds and cause your dishwasher to overflow.

5. Can I clean my dishwasher with just baking soda?

While baking soda can help clean your dishwasher, it’s best to use a combination of white vinegar, baking soda, and citric acid for a more thorough cleaning.

6. Can I run my dishwasher empty to clean it?

Yes, you can run your dishwasher empty to help clean it. Just be sure to use an appropriate cleaning solution.

7. How long should I soak my dishwasher racks?

You should aim to soak your dishwasher racks for at least 30 minutes to allow any built-up debris to loosen.


In conclusion, knowing how to clean a dishwasher is an essential skill for any homeowner. By taking the time to maintain your dishwasher’s cleanliness, you’ll not only improve its performance but also extend its lifespan. Remember to scrape off excess food debris, remove and clean built-in filters, and run regular cleaning cycles to keep your dishwasher in top shape. Follow the steps outlined in this article for a deep clean that will leave your dishwasher sparkling like new.

So go ahead, Challenger, give your dishwasher the TLC it deserves!

Closing Statement with Disclaimer

This article is for informational purposes only. Always refer to your dishwasher’s owner’s manual for specific cleaning instructions and safety precautions. The author and publisher of this article are not liable for any damages or injuries that may arise from following the information in this article.