The Easiest Way to Clean a Dishwasher

Sanitize and sterilize your most-used appliance with a single cup of vinegar.

Cleaning your dishwasher may be one of those chores that lingers on the top of your to-do list, but I’m here to let you in on a secret that’ll make the task nearly effortless. In fact, it’ll only need about 15 seconds of your time, which probably makes the dishwasher the easiest appliance to keep clean in your entire house. Follow this quick process that only requires one common household item — white vinegar.

Use vinegar to clean a dishwasher.

How to Clean a Dishwasher With Vinegar

Use vinegar to clean a dishwasher.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

It seems counterintuitive to spend time cleaning the inside of your dishwasher, a zone designed for cleaning that’s by all accounts soapy, hot and disinfecting when in use.

I liken this chore to cleaning your washing machine, in that with both appliances, soapy residue and deposits will build up on the inside walls and components, making them dirty and less effective over time.

Unlike in a washing machine, a dishwasher also faces build-up from grease and food particles, while still being expected to outperform your wildest expectations in a single wash cycle. You have to admit — dishwashers are pretty studly, but that doesn’t mean they’re maintenance-free.

Do These Two Things Every Time You Run Your Dishwasher

  • The disposal drainage is usually linked to the dishwasher, so keep the disposal clear to help keep your dishwasher clean.

  • It's critical to keep the drain beneath the lower rack clear. When you unload your clean dishes, always check to see if any large food particles settled there, and remove them so they don’t rot and contribute to smells or clog drainage. Spritz the drain with white vinegar between washes to help keep it fresh.

Add a Cup of White Vinegar Every Few Weeks

Use vinegar to clean a dishwasher.

How to Clean a Dishwasher With Vinegar

Use vinegar to clean a dishwasher.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

  • Every few weeks, fill a dishwasher-safe mug two-thirds full with white vinegar, and place on the top rack of your dishwasher.

  • Run the dishwasher on the normal cycle with hot water for extra sterilization. The vinegar loosens soap scum, food particles, and grease from the dishwasher's walls and racks and washes down the drain. That's all you need to do.

Three cheers for easy chores! While the dishwasher runs itself, make sure you clean these other spots in the kitchen you might have forgotten about.

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