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Cleaning a Dishwasher

How do I get rid of gunk in the dishwasher?



Cleaning a Dishwasher

I've been told that if you run your dishwasher every so often with a 2 litre bottle of full on sugary Coca Cola it will keep your dishwasher clean, free from gunk and smelling lovely.


Leave Cola to soak if the bottom tray is especially gunky first.

Monique (07/10/2008)

By Monique63

RE: Cleaning a Dishwasher

Cleaning a Dishwasher

Just a clarification on all these methods: CLR , muratic acid, citric acid, tang, lemon juice, the lemonade and orange drink mixes, Coke and vinegar are all acids. If you have lime scale buildup from hard water, any or all of these will work. The strong ones will work better than the milder ones. Really, one is not more environmentally friendly than the other. Vinegar is just as much a chemical as CLR, it just isn't as strong.


If you are using ammonia, washing soda, or baking soda you are using a base, which is the opposite of an acid. Bases are also corrosive, as are all acids, but do not dissolve lime scale. Bases are excellent for grease as they combine with grease to make soap, which is how oven cleaners work.

If you use an acid and a base together, they combine chemically, and produce a salt, water, and carbon dioxide. This is good if you are making biscuits (sour milk and baking soda), but doesn't do much if you are cleaning anything. If you want to add a liquid to baking soda to use it as a cleaner, just add water. Those of you who swear by the vinegar and baking soda paste will get better results with baking soda and water, as when you add the vinegar to the soda, they neutralize each other, and you end up basically with water anyway.


Bleach is another whole kettle of fish. It is a chlorine compound, and if mixed with a base (ammonia or baking soda) will emit chlorine gas, which is highly poisonous, which is why water is chlorinated to kill bacteria. If you have food residue and such, stinky things in your dishwasher, you may have some bacteria growing, and bleach will kill that. Just don't use it in combination with anything else.

Finally, I have had to clean out the water jets in my dishwasher. Depending on your water type and your soap, these sometimes become clogged. I have cleaned them with brushes or sometimes with a wire. I suppose this buildup might have been prevented with periodic doses of vinegar. (07/11/2008)

By louel53

Cleaning a Dishwasher

Run it empty with 2 cups of white vinegar. To prevent gunk in the future, rinse food off dishes before loading into dishwasher. (07/12/2008)


By Connie W.

Cleaning a Dishwasher

We used a portion of OxyClean through an entire washing cycle minus the dishes after manually cleaning dirty, gunked up, parts. Now, sparking clean and smells so much better. (11/13/2008)

By Lee

Cleaning a Dishwasher

After having worked for GE's appliance repair division for 4 years, I have to advise against putting chemicals such as CLR into your machine. Not only does this void your warranty and any service contracts, but this chemical erodes some of the components in your appliance. But vinegar or baking soda are gentle enough. (02/27/2009)

By Shilo

Bleach and Rinse-Aid Concerns

I'd only use bleach as a last resort. Bleach produces Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are very bad news.

Also, I'm concerned that the newer dishwashers don't get dishes clean without rinse aid. Rinse aids leave a coating on the dishes. The dishes look nice, but I can feel a film when I run my finger on the glasses. That means some of the stuff gets in the food we eat and the drinks we drink. We really don't want to be ingesting more mystery chemicals. (03/14/2009)


By 2_eyes

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