Running your dishwasher frequently will keep debris from settling in the bottom of the appliance, reducing how often you will need to thoroughly clean it throughout the year.
Run the dishwasher through a full cycle and empty it
This allows you to have easier access to the entire dishwasher and be able to perform the necessary maintenance correctly.
Inspect and clean the spinning arms
Dishwashers work by spraying water out of their spinning arms onto the dishes inside. When those arms aren’t spinning properly or the holes in them are full of buildup, they won’t thoroughly clean your dishes. Check to make sure the arms spin correctly and clean out any debris that has accumulated inside the holes with a small piece of wire, a toothpick, or small pliers.
Clean the edges and exterior
The offending smells from your dishwasher may actually be coming from the outside areas around the appliance. The edges around the door do not get washed during a regular cycle and can end up with lots of spills and pieces of food debris. A bit of regular household cleaner and a damp cloth should be enough to this up and can also be used to wash off all of the buttons and the exterior door of the appliance as well.
Other Parts You Should Clean:
- Under the door, on the inside.
- The flatware basket.
- The door gasket.
- The detergent dispenser.
Unclog and clean the drain
Food debris, buildup, and other matter can accumulate in the drain in the bottom of your dishwasher. This will eventually create a clog, causing it to become less efficient and have a harder time cleaning.
You can start cleaning the area around the drain by collecting the biggest pieces by hand, but you may have to disassemble the drain to get to some of the smaller pieces. Here’s how you can do this:
- Unplug the dishwasher.
- Take out the screws and remove the cover.
- Protect the opening to keep debris out.
- Clean out larger pieces by hand.
- Clean out smaller deposits with a brush or cloth.
- Reassemble in the reverse order.
Cleaning around the dishwasher drain can help to ensure that dirty water is exiting the appliance adequately so the dishwasher cleans your dishes well.
Use an acid to remove buildup
Choose one of the following acids and run them through a short cycle to get rid of excess scale:
- White vinegar
- Lemon juice
Any powdered substances should be placed in the detergent dispenser and liquids can be left in a bowl on the top rack.