The other day Brandon stopped into one of his favorite suppliers and a regular customer approached to thank him for the tips in our last blog on how to clean the garbage disposal. “I just thought it was supposed to stink like trash,” the busy mom of four told Brandon as she picked out hardware for the G&C Plumbing and Heating guys to use when they installed a new sink and vanity in her bathroom. “You know, my dishwasher smells pretty bad too, how should I clean that?”
Take it away, Brandon…
The first thing you’re going to want to do is clear the drain and filter. It’s not a glamorous job, especially if you don’t do it regularly, so you might want to put on some rubber gloves.
Remove the bottom dish rack and locate the filter and drain. In newer machines, these filters eliminate the grinder that pulverizes food scraps and then pushes the food down the drain. If your drain is clogged, your dishwasher will be louder and stinkier than it should be.
Remove the filter system, which typically has a few interlocking parts, and clean the parts individually at the sink. Use the spay of the faucet, sponge or small brush to dislodge the gunk (hence the gloves) This is going to help immensely with drainage and efficiency.
Check the spray arm for trapped food scraps by lifting it off its base with a little tug. Rinse that under water and clear clogged holes with a toothpick. There is often an additional hole on the underside of the spray arm that shoots water into the filter, make sure you clean that out too before popping it back into the bottom of the dishwasher.
Once you have all the components back into place, and it’s not many so don’t be afraid to take them out, I recommend a vinegar wash to sanitize and deodorize the dishwasher.
Place a cup of white vinegar in a bowl at the back of the upper rack in an empty washer.
Run the dishwasher on your pot scrubbing, or longest, cycle to wash away grease and yuck. If you have hard water, the vinegar will even help with discoloration if you use it regularly – I recommend three or four times a year.
Now that the gunk and yuck is all washed out, I like to give a final rinse for lasting freshness.
Sprinkle about a cup of fresh baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher. (Fresh baking soda does a better job than the box you’ve had in your cupboard for a decade)
Run the shortest cycle available with nothing else in the dishwasher and you will be greeted with a fresh-smelling, brightened and stain-free interior when all is said and done.
The last step is to take a warm rag dipped in a vinegar and water solution and clean the seal along the frame and top of your dishwasher. Regular cleanings like this will also help prolong the life of the machine – Bonus!