Dishwashers, as devices that are meant to clean other objects, are often forgotten during regular cleaning. It almost seems ridiculous to clean dishwashers, but they can accumulate grime and build up as much as any kitchen appliance. A clear sign of a dishwasher that is past due for a cleaning is a sometimes strong odor coming from inside even before running. A clean and well-kept dishwasher won’t smell after running and will produce cleaner and brighter dishes. Here are our best recommendations for keeping your dishwasher clean and odor-free.
Find The Source Of The Scent
If the telltale scent coming from your dishwasher has begun to overwhelm your kitchen, it’s past time you take out the source of the issue. The smell coming from your dishwasher can be caused primarily by food build-up. However, it can also be caused by standing water and or grease and oil build-up. Any and all of these causes can create bacteria and mold within your dishwasher, so regular cleaning is recommended in order to avoid this. The parts you should pay special attention to when cleaning are the walls, the filter, and the drain as these tend to collect the most residue and solid food particles.
Get Rid Of The Grime
Now that you’ve found the source of the odor, you can work to clean the interior of the dishwasher and remove any potential for the scent to return. Here is how to clean each area:
The drain filter can be removed from the bottom of the machine and washed in your sink with a toothbrush and hot water to remove any food residue. You can also wipe away any residue from around the drain itself before replacing the filter in your dishwasher.
The spray arms can also be removed from the dishwasher to be cleaned in the sink. We suggest using a toothpick or toothbrush to unclog the individual jets on the arms and then running hot water through them to ensure the buildup has been removed.
Interior Walls & Drawers
The interior walls and drawers are the easiest to clean. You can simply use some warm water and dish soap to wipe down the walls and drawers to remove any food residue left behind.
Be sure to replace all of the freshly cleaned parts you removed from the machine. Now that all of the residue and buildup has been removed from the dishwasher, we can switch our focus to the main culprit: the stench.
Odors Be Gone
Your dishwasher is now clean and free of grimey food build-up, but that pesky smell is still there. Don’t worry, we can fix that too. Make sure all of the parts you removed to clean are replaced in the machine correctly before we move on to the next step in the cleaning process. The simplest way to remove the smell left behind in your dishwasher is with a little vinegar and baking soda. Here’s what to do:
- Remove any dishes from the dishwasher drawers before starting, you’ll need an empty dishwasher for this process.
- Fill a bowl with 1 cup of white vinegar and place it on the top rack. If there is any remaining buildup within the dishwasher, use 2 cups of vinegar.
- Run a regular cleaning cycle without any detergent, don’t follow this with a drying cycle.
- Remove the bowl from the top rack and then sprinkle about 1 cup of baking soda around the bottom of the dishwasher. (Tip: Don’t combine the baking soda and vinegar! The resulting reaction can damage your machine.)
- Run a rinse cycle with hot water, don’t follow with a drying cycle.
- Open the dishwasher and check for any remaining bits of baking soda around the interior and utensil rack. Use a scrub brush dipped in vinegar to clean these areas.
- Wipe the interior and door seals with a small amount of vinegar and a sponge.
- Leave the dishwasher door open, allowing the interior to air dry. This should take about an hour.
If there is any remaining smell or residue after the interior has dried completely, repeat this process one more time. Don’t forget to wipe down the front of your dishwasher with a little bit of vinegar or with stainless steel cleaner as a final touch. In order to prevent your dishwasher from redeveloping that nasty smell again too quickly, be sure to scrape away as much food as possible from your dishes before you put them into the dishwasher. You can also make a point to run the vinegar and baking soda cycles once a month if your machine retains any smelly odors easily. Now pat yourself on the back, you’ve singlehandedly taken on your smelly dishwasher and it is now ready to run, maybe better than before.
Did these cleaning tips and tricks help you? Let us know your best dishwasher hacks in the comments! If you love the thought of a clean kitchen and a clean home, but maybe don’t have the time or means to do it yourself, we’ve got your back! Read this here and find out if we have the right services for you and your home, we’re happy to help.