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Cleaning a Dishwasher

How do I clean the inside of the dishwasher?

By Gail


Cleaning a Dishwasher

Diedraw: Excellent insight! Thank you!

In regards to cleaning the dishwasher I can only say that there's a fair amount of handwork to be done.


While all of the preparations sold at the market will maintain a dishwasher if it's clean, in order to remove the lime, scale and other mineral buildup, there is only time, vinegar and your hands! Learn how to take apart your dishwasher and clean out all the filters and around the door.

I had a 9 year old dishwasher heavy with gunk buildup. I used CLR several times, but finally, I had to take apart the whole thing and get all the mineral buildup out by hand.

What I found easiest was to put a cup of vinegar in an empty dishwasher, then run it through a full wash cycle at a hot temperature. Stop it when it gets to the dry cycle, then open the door and let it air out for a bit. If you can, do unplug the dishwasher. That's the point where you want to take apart the dishwasher because the deposits will be a great deal softer. Note: if it's a truly heinous build up (like mine was), you might have to do several cycles of the vinegar/water solution as you gingerly chip away at the crud.


Have the right tools ready: a screwdriver, a small Allen wrench. Also, some rubber gloves, and a shamwow will really help. You'll have to nudge a lot of the deposits away by hand, or you can use a small dull ended soft plastic putty knife.

Don't forget to get the deposits on the door. All those vents and around the door - especially where the door hinges along the bottom. Those are real collectors of scale that most people miss.

I'd highly recommend having a bucket ready for all the glop. Don't let it go back down through the system and get retrapped. Once you've got it done, and it can take several hours, run the empty dishwasher again through a full cycle with plain water.

Clean your dishwasher like this every 3-4 months, especially if you have hard water. This is a good way to forestall buying a new dishwasher. Eventually, all dishwashers have to be replaced, but this can buy you some time --especially with good ones running around $700 with delivery and installation. If you try to hire one of those servicemen to do this --they can't because of the amount of time it takes to do a truly thorough cleaning.


It's a lot of work, but unless you do it, your dishes aren't really clean. I would not recommend adding vinegar to your dishwasher when the dishes are in there. Vinegar is an acid, and it can be very corrosive on the finish of your dishes. (01/06/2010)

By Calliegal

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