Thursday, December 29, 2011

How Clean is Your Dishwasher?

I've been super busy trying to get all the kitchen of my apartment sparkly and clean...sure wish the property management felt the same way when we moved in, but what do you do...right???  Roll up your sleeves and dig in I suppose.  One thing that has really drove me nuts is the dishwasher.  As soon as I moved in I looked inside and was thoroughly disgusted.  I removed all the big particles and ran a few cycles to try and clean it, but was never fully satisfied.  So last night I began researching how to clean a dishwasher and this is what I did.  First off I need to warn you that this will be incredibly disgusting no matter how well cleaned you think your dishwasher is.  The first step is to completely empty your dishwasher and take the bottom basket out.

Ready to get cleaning!
Next, you will need to remove the back filter trap with a screw driver or in my case socket wrench and then it should pop off easily (DO NOT force it off!).

Then, be prepared for the nasty disgusting mess you will may want gloves for this part and may need someone else to do this part if you have a bad gag reflex.  This is what mine looked like.....EEEWWWW!!!!

I told you it wasn't pretty....GROSS!
If your filter trap is as filthy as mine was then this will take a little time.  I used a butter knife to chip away the large chunks and then soaked it for a few hours (about 3, but you can do it overnight) with 2/3 cups baking soda and 2 cups white vinegar in a plastic Ziploc bag.  Add the baking soda first and then slowly add the vinegar because it will start bubbling and fizzing like crazy (remember science class???  LOL).

Once the filter trap is cleaned put it back and move on to the steam filter.  My steam filter has tons of nasty build up, but it does not pop off easily so I could not clean it :(  From everything I read it should pop off easily by running a butter knife along the edge.  If it does not then leave it alone.  I have a really old dishwasher and I could see there are screws or something holding it from the inside of the door and it looks like I would have to take the actual front panel of the door off to remove. 

Also make sure all the spray holes are free of any debris.  Just take an object such as a screwdriver and poke it down, but be careful not to scratch up the finish.  If they are free of debris it is fine.  Do not try to pry the debris out as much as you want to it will be nearly impossible (Notice I said is possible, but since I am renting I did not want to do any real damage).

If you have a top spray mechanism don't forget to clear those holes as well
Make sure all edges are cleaned.  Especially the bottom where the door seals since many times food and debris gets stuck down here, but no water actually runs there.  don't forget to wipe down all the seals and the top of the dishwasher as well. 

Finally, make sure any large bits are out of the dishwasher and then pour baking soda in the open compartment (or the compartment that does not fully seal) and add white vinegar to the seal able compartment.  Make sure the vinegar is in the sealed compartment!

Close the dishwasher and run a normal wash.  When done you can just wipe off any residue that has been loosened and left behind.  That's it!  It sounds more complicated than it actually is and it really takes no time at all.  Now my dishes are coming out extremely clean and I am happy again :)


  1. Thanks for sharing this! I really need to clean my dishwasher :)

    1. I was rather grossed out when I cleaned will be surprised what you find in there. Yuck!


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