Cleaning a Dishwasher

I have hard water build-up and soap scum on the inside of dishwasher and the dishes do not get properly cleaned.





Did you know you can bleach your dishwasher? I run a cycle of bleach through my empty dishwasher monthly. It cleans AND deodorizes my dishwasher. In the rinse cycle of this non-load, I put in a "glug" (thanks Gramma D for the word!) of white vinegar. My whole dishwasher comes out smelling clean and shiny! (09/05/2006)

By smcarney

Baking Soda and White Vinegar

Today I am trying a concoction of both baking soda and white vinegar. I tried to clean it with vinegar and an abrasive sponge, but it didn't work well enough. It really needed some sort of an abrasive, but not wanting to use good ol' comet in the dishwasher, I pulled out the baking soda. When mixed with the vinegar it gets very acidic. Im now running an empty load to do the rest of the work. (10/02/2006)


By im'audie

Vinegar and Regular Cleaning

I have very hard water and I use vinegar along with my detergent every time I run the dishwasher but sometimes my dishes still have this white course sand like substance, what can I do to prevent this? On top of the vinegar I also clean the dishwasher twice a month but nothing seems to help. (11/06/2006)

By Summer T

Condenses Lemon Juice

Use condensed lemon juice and your dishes will sparkle. It's $1.50 a bottle. (11/26/2006)

By Lemonhead

Cleaning a Dishwasher

Regarding heavy lime and/or soap scum build-up in your dishwasher, I experienced the same thing, and was desperate. After months of research (asking appliance repair folks, checking with friends with the same problem, and researching topics on the internet, etc.), I finally found a process that was extremely effective for me. My dishwasher is a stainless steel unit, so your experience may differ:


With your dishwasher empty set your unit to the "heavy load option" then (1) wait until the dishwasher completely fills with water in its LARGE water cycle, then add one cup of muriatic acid to the water. [Almost all dishwashers have a small water cycle that pre-rinses and drains, and a large water cycle that subsequently refills the unit - this is where the real cleaning takes place.]

(2) You will see a significant difference; however, if the build-up was as bad as mine, you'll need to do this about three or four times to get it 99% clean. To get it 100% spotless, I used a new product that I found at Walmart, called Jet-Dry Dishwasher Cleaner. This was a remarkable product, and I'm wondering if I should have used that one first. [Note that a chemist told me during my research that muriatic acid is a corrosive chemical, and she did not recommend it as a regular cleaner for dishwashers. Since one of my friends has used the muriatic acid process in his dishwasher for 10 yrs. and hasn't had a problem, I did it anyway, and I'm happy.]

(3) After my unit was scum/lime free, I ran it through a full cycle again without dishes, chemicals or dishwashing liquid (just water) about two times to get rid of the extremely fine lime particles that were left behind.

(4) From this point forward, DO NOT pre-wash your dishes by hand using dishwashing liquid, such as Dawn or Palmolive. The residue on your dishes from these liquids that were formulated for hand/sink use only, appear to neutralize the effectiveness of dishwasher (machine) detergents and rinse aids - this is probably why the lime-looking soap scum build-up started in the first place. Pre-rinse your dishes by hand if you wish, using water and a scrubber WITHOUT soap. Let the dishwasher do the rest.

(5) I also stopped using a gel dishwashing product for my unit, and changed to "Cascade 2 in 1 Action Pacs" that does not require pre-washing. This is working well.

(6) Make sure you use a rinse-aid and keep it filled to the proper level.

(7) I find that my glasses come out crystal clear if I use the normal dishwashing cycle, not the heavy/extended cycle.

(8) Finally, DO NOT overload your dishwasher.

I saved my dishwasher after thinking I needed to buy a new one. My dishes are now spotless. Hope this helps!

By R. Arredondo

A Glug

What is a glug of vinegar?

Editor's Note: An ounce or two. (01/01/2007)

By Christi


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In This Article
Dishwasher full of dishes.
Cleaning a Dishwasher
February 3, 2007
Interior of a full dishwasher.
Removing Hard Water Stains Inside Dishwasher
Replacing a Dishwasher
Replacing a Dishwasher
An open dishwasher full of clean dishes.
Fixing a Leaking Dishwasher
New Open Dishwasher
Saving Money on a Dishwasher
Halloween Ideas!
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