How To Effectively Clean Your Dishwasher with Natural Ingredients

By sarvottam

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When was the last time you cleaned your dishwasher? It’s easy to forget that the appliance responsible for cleaning your dishes needs a little TLC too. Over time, food residue, grease, and soap scum can build up inside your dishwasher, leading to reduced efficiency and even unpleasant odors. But fear not! Cleaning your dishwasher is a straightforward task, and you don’t need harsh chemicals to do it. In this guide, we’ll explore how to clean your dishwasher using natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and bleach. Say goodbye to dirty dishware and hello to a sparkling clean dishwasher!

How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?

Before we dive into the cleaning methods, let’s address the question of how often you should clean your dishwasher. According to experts, you should aim to clean your dishwasher thoroughly once a month. This includes cleaning the entire interior, the door, gasket, and filter. However, if you use your dishwasher only occasionally or prewash your dishes before loading, you might not need to clean it that frequently. Still, it’s essential not to let it go without a cleaning for longer than six months to ensure optimal performance.

What You’ll Need for the Cleaning Process

To clean your dishwasher effectively, you’ll need a few simple ingredients and tools. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. White Vinegar
  2. Baking Soda
  3. Bleach (Note: Do not use bleach in a dishwasher with stainless-steel parts.)
  4. A dishwasher-safe bowl
  5. Hot water
  6. Soft-bristle brush
  7. Toothpicks
  8. Toothbrush
  9. Clean cloth

Ensure you have these items on hand before proceeding with any of the cleaning methods to make the process smoother and more efficient. Remember, we’ll be using these natural ingredients one at a time; never mix them together during the cleaning process.

How To Clean Your Dishwasher with Vinegar

Vinegar is a fantastic natural cleaner that works wonders in your dishwasher. First, start by emptying your dishwasher of any dishes, glassware, and utensils. Then, place one cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe bowl and position it on the top rack of the dishwasher. Next, run the dishwasher on the hottest cycle available. During this cycle, the vinegar will mix with the wash water, effectively breaking down grease, soap scum, and food debris. Additionally, vinegar neutralizes odors, leaving your dishwasher smelling fresh.

But that’s not all! Vinegar is also excellent for cleaning removable dishwasher parts. For this step, fill your sink halfway with warm water and add two cups of white vinegar. Submerge the removable parts in the sink and allow them to soak for about 20 minutes. Afterward, rinse the parts thoroughly and place them back in their original positions in the dishwasher. Following these simple steps will not only clean your dishwasher but also ensure its optimal performance after every cycle.

How To Clean Your Dishwasher with Baking Soda

Another natural ingredient that can effectively clean your dishwasher is baking soda. To begin, sprinkle one cup of baking soda on the floor of an empty dishwasher. After that, run a short cycle on the hottest setting without using any detergent. This process will clean the interior of your dishwasher and help neutralize any lingering odors. Just like the vinegar method, be sure to skip the drying cycle and allow the dishwasher to air-dry.

Using baking soda and vinegar are both easy and effective ways to keep your dishwasher clean and fresh. However, remember not to use them together at the same time. Always clean with vinegar first and then follow up with the baking soda cleaning method.

How To Clean Your Dishwasher with Bleach

For a deeper clean, you can use bleach to clean the interior of your dishwasher and remove tough stains, mold, and mildew. However, exercise caution when using bleach as it can damage dishwashers with stainless-steel parts. It’s crucial to check your dishwasher’s materials and make sure bleach is safe to use.

To clean with bleach, pour one cup of bleach into a dishwasher-safe and bleach-safe bowl. Place the bowl on the top rack of your dishwasher and run a full cycle, but remember to skip the drying cycle. The bleach will effectively sanitize and disinfect the interior, leaving your dishwasher clean and free from harmful bacteria.

How To Clean The Dishwasher Drain with Vinegar

Cleaning your dishwasher’s drain trap requires a bit more care, but it’s essential to ensure your dishwasher functions optimally. To start, place one cup of white vinegar in a large, microwave-safe bowl and heat it in the microwave for about 15 to 20 seconds, so it’s slightly warm. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir in two tablespoons of baking soda. This mixture will help eliminate odors and clear any debris or clogs in the drain.

Once the mixture is ready, pour it into the drain at the bottom of the dishwasher and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. In the meantime, boil a kettle of water. Carefully pour the hot water down the dishwasher drain, allowing it to flush out any remaining debris. Be cautious and pour the water slowly to avoid splashing yourself with hot water.

This method will not only clean the drain but also prevent future clogs and draining problems. If you have a garbage disposal, ensure it’s also clean and running smoothly, as clogs and draining issues can sometimes be traced back to a clogged or dirty garbage disposal.

Tips To Keep Your Dishwasher Clean for Longer

Maintaining a clean dishwasher requires a few simple habits that will keep it running smoothly and efficiently. Here are some tips to help you keep your dishwasher in tip-top shape:

  1. Clean the dishwasher filter regularly: After each use, take a moment to clean the dishwasher’s filter by hand in warm, soapy water. Use a small, soft-bristle brush to gently scrub away any stuck-on food particles. Thoroughly rinse the filter under warm running water and then put it back in place.
  2. Remove food residue before loading: Before running your dishwasher, make sure to prewash your dishes and remove any leftover food residue. Although some higher-end models have built-in food waste components, prewashing can help maintain a clean dishwasher interior.

How To Get Rid Of Unpleasant Smells in Your Dishwasher

If you’ve neglected cleaning your dishwasher, you might have noticed that it starts to emit unpleasant odors over time. These smells can be caused by trapped food particles, bacterial growth, and mildew. But don’t worry, you can easily get rid of these odors and restore your dishwasher’s freshness.

Start by cleaning the drain trap and clearing any clogs from the spray arms using a toothpick. Afterward, run your dishwasher according to the vinegar and baking soda cleaning methods we mentioned earlier. Vinegar will cut through grease and soap scum, while baking soda will neutralize any lingering smells. Make sure to open the dishwasher door after each cycle to air-dry the interior thoroughly.

How To Prevent Smells in Your Dishwasher

Prevention is always better than cure, and the same applies to maintaining a fresh-smelling dishwasher. To prevent smells from developing in your dishwasher, follow these helpful tips:

  1. Clean trapped food from the dishwasher: Regularly clean any trapped food from the silverware baskets, bottom of the dishwasher, and filter after each cycle.
  2. Air-dry your dishwasher: After running a cycle, leave the dishwasher door open to let it air-dry. This will prevent any moisture build-up and discourage the growth of mold and mildew.
  3. Clean the gaskets: A few times a year, clean the mildew and mold build-up around the door gaskets using a toothbrush dipped into a mixture of half a cup of vinegar and three cups of hot water. Wipe away any remaining grime for a fresh-smelling dishwasher.

With these straightforward cleaning methods and preventive tips, you can keep your dishwasher clean and odor-free, ensuring that your dishes come out sparkling clean after every cycle. So, say goodbye to dirty dishware and embrace the freshness of a well-maintained dishwasher!


Cleaning your dishwasher is an essential task that should not be overlooked. Over time, grease, soap scum, and food debris can accumulate in your dishwasher, leading to reduced efficiency and unpleasant odors. By using natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and bleach, you can effectively clean your dishwasher and restore it to optimal performance.

Remember to clean your dishwasher at least once a month, including the interior, door, gasket, and filter. Regular maintenance prevents unwanted residue from building up, ensuring that your dishwasher remains efficient and reduces the risk of costly repairs.

Maintaining a clean dishwasher is simple, and by following the tips and methods in this guide, you can enjoy fresh-smelling dishware and the satisfaction of knowing that your dishwasher is running at its best. So, next time you load up your dishwasher, remember to give it the care it deserves for sparkling clean results every time!


  1. What is the difference between mold and mildew?
    • Mold and mildew are both types of fungi, but mildew is a specific type of mold. Mildew thrives in moist areas and can cause a musty odor in unaired places.
  2. How do I know if there is mold in my dishwasher?
    • Most dishwashers have some degree of mold due to the moist and hot environment. A musty odor and visible evidence indicate the presence of mold. However, microscopic mold likely exists before these signs become evident.
  3. Can I use bleach to clean my dishwasher with stainless-steel parts?
    • No, using bleach on a dishwasher with stainless-steel parts can damage the metal. Avoid using bleach in such dishwashers and opt for vinegar or baking soda cleaning methods instead.
  4. How often should I clean the dishwasher filter?
    • It’s best to clean the dishwasher filter after each use. Handwash it in warm, soapy water, and gently scrub away any stuck-on food particles. Rinse the filter thoroughly under warm running water before placing it back in the dishwasher.
  5. Do I need to prewash my dishes before loading the dishwasher?
    • If your dishwasher has built-in food waste components, prewashing is not necessary. However, for dishwashers without this feature, prewashing can help maintain a cleaner interior.
  6. What should I do if my dishwasher still smells bad after cleaning it?
    • If odors persist, ensure you’ve cleaned the drain trap and cleared any clogs from the spray arms. Consider running the vinegar and baking soda cleaning methods, and remember to air-dry the dishwasher after each cycle.
  7. How do I prevent mold and mildew in my dishwasher?
    • To prevent mold and mildew growth, regularly clean trapped food from the dishwasher, air-dry the dishwasher after cycles, and occasionally clean the door gaskets with a vinegar and water solution.
  8. How often should I use the bleach cleaning method for my dishwasher?
    • The bleach cleaning method can be used occasionally, not as frequently as the vinegar or baking soda methods. It’s best to limit its use to deep cleanings when necessary.

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