Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Clean Dishwasher

Maintaining a clean dishwasher is essential for ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your appliance.

Over time, dishwashers can accumulate grime, food particles, and mineral deposits, which can affect their performance.

One common household item that has gained popularity for cleaning various appliances is apple cider vinegar.

In this article, we will explore whether apple cider vinegar is an effective and safe option for cleaning your dishwasher.

Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Clean Your Dishwasher?

Yes, you can use apple cider vinegar to clean your dishwasher. Apple cider vinegar is a natural and effective cleaner that can help remove mineral buildup, grease, and odors from your dishwasher.

To clean your dishwasher with apple cider vinegar, simply pour a cup of it into the bottom of the dishwasher and run a hot water cycle. This will help sanitize and deodorize the interior of your dishwasher.

Additionally, you can also use apple cider vinegar to clean the exterior of your dishwasher by mixing it with water in a spray bottle and wiping down the surfaces.

The acidity of apple cider vinegar helps break down grime and stains, leaving your dishwasher looking clean and shiny.

Just be sure to rinse thoroughly after cleaning to avoid any lingering vinegar smell on your dishes during the next wash cycle.

Understanding the Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is known for its versatility and powerful cleaning properties. It contains acetic acid, which gives it antibacterial and antifungal properties.

These characteristics make it an excellent natural cleaning agent for eliminating odors, dissolving mineral deposits, and breaking down grease and grime. Here are some benefits of using apple cider vinegar:

  • Natural and Non-Toxic: Unlike many commercial cleaners that contain harsh chemicals, apple cider vinegar is safe to use around your home, making it a healthier option for your family and the environment.
  • Antibacterial and Antifungal: The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar helps to kill bacteria and fungi, which can thrive in moist environments like dishwashers.
  • Deodorizing: Apple cider vinegar neutralizes unpleasant odors, leaving your dishwasher smelling fresh and clean.
  • Affordable: Apple cider vinegar is an inexpensive alternative to commercial dishwasher cleaners.

How to Clean Your Dishwasher with Apple Cider Vinegar

Cleaning your dishwasher with apple cider vinegar is a straightforward process. Follow these steps to ensure your dishwasher is sparkling clean and running efficiently:


Step 1: Empty the Dishwasher

Before you begin, make sure your dishwasher is empty. Remove any dishes, utensils, and racks to give you full access to the interior.

Step 2: Inspect and Clean the Drain

Check the drain area for any debris or food particles that might be clogging it. Removing these obstructions is crucial for maintaining proper water flow and preventing clogs.

Step 3: Wipe Down the Interior

Using a damp cloth or sponge, wipe down the interior walls, door, and rubber seals of the dishwasher. This step helps remove any loose debris and grime.

Step 4: Add Apple Cider Vinegar

Pour one cup of apple cider vinegar into a dishwasher-safe bowl and place it on the top rack of your dishwasher.

Alternatively, you can pour the vinegar directly into the bottom of the dishwasher. The acetic acid in the vinegar will work to dissolve grease, grime, and mineral deposits.

Step 5: Run a Hot Water Cycle

Run your dishwasher on the hottest water setting. The heat will enhance the cleaning power of the vinegar, ensuring that it reaches all parts of the dishwasher. This cycle will help to break down any buildup and leave your dishwasher clean and fresh.

Step 6: Additional Cleaning Tips

  • Baking Soda Boost: For extra cleaning power, sprinkle a cup of baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher after the vinegar cycle and run another hot water cycle. Baking soda will help to remove any lingering odors and provide additional scrubbing action.
  • Monthly Maintenance: To keep your dishwasher in top condition, consider cleaning it with apple cider vinegar once a month. Regular maintenance will prevent buildup and extend the life of your appliance.

Addressing Common Concerns

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe for All Dishwasher Parts?

Apple cider vinegar is generally safe for most dishwasher parts, including stainless steel and plastic components.

However, it is always a good idea to check your dishwasher’s manual for any specific cleaning instructions or warnings.

If you have concerns about the compatibility of apple cider vinegar with your dishwasher, you can test it on a small area first.

Will Apple Cider Vinegar Damage the Dishwasher?

When used correctly, apple cider vinegar should not damage your dishwasher. The key is to use it in moderation and avoid overuse.

Excessive use of any acidic cleaner can potentially damage rubber seals or other sensitive parts over time. Stick to the recommended cleaning frequency to ensure your dishwasher remains in good condition.

Can I Use White Vinegar Instead?

Yes, white vinegar is an effective alternative to apple cider vinegar for cleaning your dishwasher. It has similar cleaning properties and is equally effective in removing grime and odors.

The choice between apple cider vinegar and white vinegar often comes down to personal preference and availability.

The Science Behind Apple Cider Vinegar’s Cleaning Power

Apple cider vinegar’s cleaning power can be attributed to its acidic nature. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has a pH level of around 2-3, making it highly effective at breaking down mineral deposits, grease, and grime.

The acidity also helps to kill bacteria and fungi, ensuring a hygienic environment inside your dishwasher.

Breaking Down Mineral Deposits

Hard water can leave behind mineral deposits, such as calcium and lime, which can accumulate in your dishwasher over time.

The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar helps to dissolve these deposits, preventing clogs and ensuring efficient water flow.

Eliminating Grease and Grime

Grease and food particles can build up in your dishwasher, especially in the spray arms and filter. Apple cider vinegar’s ability to break down grease makes it an excellent choice for cleaning these components, ensuring they function properly.

Neutralizing Odors

Dishwashers can develop unpleasant odors due to trapped food particles and bacteria. Apple cider vinegar neutralizes these odors, leaving your dishwasher smelling fresh and clean.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Alternative

Using apple cider vinegar as a cleaning agent aligns with eco-friendly practices. Unlike commercial cleaners that often contain harmful chemicals, apple cider vinegar is biodegradable and non-toxic.

By choosing apple cider vinegar, you reduce your environmental footprint and contribute to a healthier planet.


Incorporating apple cider vinegar into your dishwasher cleaning routine is a simple and effective way to maintain your appliance’s performance and longevity.

Its natural cleaning properties make it a safe and affordable alternative to commercial dishwasher cleaners.

By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure your dishwasher remains clean, fresh, and efficient.

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