Cleaning a Dishwasher

February 16, 2010

Dishwasher full of dishes.To clean a dishwasher, put 1 pack of orange Kool-Aid (unsweetened) in bottom and run through a full cycle. It will come out sparkling. Be sure it is empty of all dishes, etc.


By Jan Whiteis from Corvallis, OR

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
January 30, 2017

I like to use a lot of natural cleaners. One I use fairly often is baking soda. I use it in my dishwasher. I add about 3 tablespoons to the dispenser. It helps prevent hard water lime and calcium buildup inside the dishwasher and keeps it fresh smelling. It also helps to clean the dishes.

Use Baking Soda in the Dishwasher - dishwasher dispenser and box of baking soda

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February 29, 2012

It's very easy to clean your dishwasher and you should at least once a month. Recently I found a new way I hadn't been aware of.


You fill the cup where the soap goes with any lemon-lime or citrus drink mix.

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February 24, 2009

For those who want to absolutely clean their dishwasher, mine was a mess. I sprayed the whole thing with Oxy Clean and let it sit for about 3 minutes. To be sure it comes out perfect, I added a bottle of coke to the bottom of the dishwasher.

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January 2, 2012

What can I use to clean the drain in my dishwasher? Also, what should I use on the inside of the dishwasher?

By Sam


January 3, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

I recently bought a house with a very old dishwasher. It wasn't washing all that well. I poured about a quart of white vinegar into the wash (as it was about to wash), along with the soap and it's been great since. As to your question about cleaning it, you can manually clean the inside of your dishwasher with just hot water and some dish soap (hand soap), I also had to do that.


Even though the function of a dishwasher is to wash, it doesn't seem to always wash itself that well.

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January 16, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

I would clean the inside of dishwasher itself with a clean sponge and a bleach/water mixture (bleach is the only thing I've found that will kill any mold, but mix nothing stronger than a 50/50 ratio in a spray bottle or bucket, use tepid water, and wear clothes that you don't mind getting bleached, as this still happens when bleach is diluted with water), rinse well. Use a pitcher of hot water or a clean spray bottle if your sink sprayer won't reach.


If you use a spray bottle, empty it as soon as you're done so it won't expand with hot air. Vinegar mixes with bleach fine (not harmful), so don't worry about getting the liquid out before the next step, which is to then run the dishwasher empty, using white vinegar instead of soap in one of the reservoirs. Put a basic grainy /powder soap or some baking soda (not liquid, and nothing with any ammonia in it) into the second reservoir (I do not believe it matters which reservoir gets filled with which). This should do it.

You can always run the vinegar with the soap (any soap, now that the bleach is gone) when you run the dishwasher (empty or full), which helps kill bacteria and give your dishes a natural spot-free finish! You will still have to get the "big stuff" off your dishes first if you have an older model.


Also, the Tang thing most likely works b/c of the acid in the orange and the grainy texture of the mix; same concept as the white vinegar with soap powder, but the vinegar is much cheaper and can be used for many other things, unless you happen to have the Tang. I hope this helps, and good luck!

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July 15, 2010

Should I use bleach or vinegar to clean a dishwasher?

By phyllis from Home, NC


July 15, 20100 found this helpful

Personally, I would use anything other than bleach. Bleach is so toxic. White vinegar is a great cleaner and can be enhanced by using an essential oil (EO). I use a lot of peroxide and often times alcohol. You can also use vodka to clean with. Put in a splash of tea tree essential oil and you've got yourself a wonderful, non-toxic, amazing cleaner with ton's of benefits to kill germs. Do a quick Google search on tea tree oil. It's awesome! If you need something to clean counter's with you could add a splash of orange EO or lemon (EO), lemon (EO) kills odors and uplifts your does about the same. It all depends on personal preference. I clean my hardwood floors with essential oil enhanced home made cleaners all of the time.


I used to pay about $35- $50 bucks a month to purchase store bought cleaners. Not anymore! I now spend maybe $3 bucks a month, of course I sneak some of the essential oils from my own personal stash! It's about the only thing that's a little costly but you don't have to use but a drop to make your whole house feel like you've walked into a lemon or orange grove.

A little lavender spray for your bedding also makes you sleep like a baby. it can be made with equal parts of spring water and witch hazel with a splash of any EO of your choice. I also use a similar spray to iron our clothing with.

(*EO*) means essential oil

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 337 Feedbacks
July 16, 20100 found this helpful

Usually the problem with a dishwasher is lime buildup, so vinegar is useful for that. Bleach will not remove limescale. If there was some type of bacteria or mold, than bleach would be the product to use. However, in general, the hot water that you use in the dishwasher is all the disinfectant that one needs. Finish makes a cleaner specifically for dishwashers, although I have never tried it. Some people have used TANG crystals; it would be the citric acid in that that does the cleaning. I haven't tried that either.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 188 Feedbacks
July 17, 20100 found this helpful

Here is a great way to clean your dishwasher, get rid of bacteria etc. and clean your plastic and dishes, no metal!
Fill dishwasher with dishes, plastic etc. Place a glass dish at the bottom of the dishwasher and fill with 1 1/2 cup bleach, run for regular wash (no detergent) and no drying! Dump out the water left in. Then do again with vinegar 1 1/2 cup. Then the dishwasher and the glasses/plastic are super clean!

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July 17, 20100 found this helpful


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December 29, 2005

Can I use OxiClean to clean my dishwasher? Also, I have a front loading (clothes) washing machine - how can I use OxiClean in it? I can't open it up when it's full of water.

Frances from Tampa FL


December 29, 20050 found this helpful

I also have a front loading washing machine. I can open my washer when it is full of water. The water never goes above the bottom of the door. When I was shopping for my washer that was pretty standard for water level. I would verify that you really can't open the door. Anyway I sometimes just add the Oxiclean on top of my dry clothes after I put them in. Only once did I find any left over after the clothes were done washing. My washing machine has an option for a second rinse and now I always use choose that when using Oxiclean and haven't had anymore problems. If your washing machine doesn't have that as an option I would just manually set it for a second rinse if you have problems.

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By debbie (Guest Post)
December 29, 20050 found this helpful

why not desolve the oxiclean in a cup of warm water then dump it on the clothes I imagine you can use liquid detergent in a front loader cant you?

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December 30, 20050 found this helpful

We have a Maytag front loading washer. The door does lock while the machine runs, however, if you push the start/stop button the machine will stop & unlock after about 2 minutes. Then you can open the door & add what you need to the load. You can restart the machine by pushing the button to continue from where it stopped. The water level only reaches the bottom of the door as previously stated, the tub is on an angle & most of the water is below the drum so you don't see it when you open the door. The drum tumbles through the water, washing the clothes. Also, additives may be dissolved in water & put in the detergent dispenser on top of the machine with the detergent at the start of the cycle. They can also be put in the softener/bleach dispenser. The softener/bleach is only run through the machine for a short time, so be aware of this. If you want the Oxyclean with the detergent for the entire wash cycle, add it to the detergent area at the start of the cycle.

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By tara9 (Guest Post)
December 16, 20060 found this helpful

If Oxiclean, vinegar, bleach or ammonia don't work (don't mix them, a deadly gas can form) I would advise getting a cleaner called purewasher from a site called / All you'll need is one tablespoon to clean your washer. The same to get rid of odor or stink out of towels or clothing! The smell hasn't returned and it's been almost a year!

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January 2, 20070 found this helpful

I have always used Soft Scrub to clean our stove top, and recently I spilled apple cider on the stove, it burned and I am unable to get it off. Does anyone have any ideas?

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January 4, 2012

I am looking for something environmentally safe to clean my dishwasher. Suggestions?

By Brenda from Omaha, NE

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August 24, 2011

My dishes come out with greasy film. What should I use to clean the dishwasher?

By Maere

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August 19, 2013

I have tried baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, etc. to clean my dishwashing machine like the store bought cleaners on the store shelves do, and nothing has worked. Any suggestions?

By dndfox1998

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August 11, 2012

The bottom drain with holes is filled with mud like junk. I've scraped under and pulled out big chunks of black dirt and black junk under middle round thing that shoots up with water. How do I get it clean and what is the black junk?

By Ginny M

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January 27, 2012

Would putting in Tang or a pack of lemon Kool-Aid to wash the dishwasher help get rid of food particles in a non removable food trap? I am getting a lot of food particles coming back on some dishes. I am now using Finish tablets and it is doing better, but I still get little bits on plates and such?

By sue from Cincinnati, OH

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March 6, 2011

Can Home Hardware brand CLR be used to clean dishwashers? If yes, how much do I use and what type of dishwashers may be cleaned using this product?

By arlene from Saskatoon, SK, Canada

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September 12, 2010

What do I use to clean dishwasher stains? Would baking soda and lemon be good? Thanks for your help.

By Vicki from OH

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June 3, 2010

My friend put a burnt skillet in her dishwasher, now the inside is black and greasy. She tried vinegar and Clorox both, but it did not work. How can she clean this out?

By donna mcall


Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 65 Requests
June 5, 20100 found this helpful

Contact the manufacturer of the appliance. They'll know everything about disasters like this one and will surely know what to do.

Good luck!

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