How to Clean Inside of Dishwasher: A Step-by-Step Guide

When it comes to kitchen appliances, the dishwasher is a true time and energy saver. It makes the chore of washing dishes a breeze, but have you ever thought about the cleanliness of the dishwasher itself? Over time, food particles, stains, and mineral buildup can accumulate inside the dishwasher, affecting its performance and leaving your dishes less than spotless. In this article, we will guide you through the process of cleaning the inside of a dishwasher, ensuring it remains in top condition and continues to deliver sparkling clean dishes.

Why is it important to clean the inside of a dishwasher?

Regular cleaning of the dishwasher is essential for maintaining its efficiency and longevity. Over time, food debris, soap scum, and mineral deposits can build up in the nooks and crannies of the dishwasher, leading to clogged spray arms, a decrease in water flow, and an unpleasant odor. Additionally, mineral buildup can leave white spots and streaks on your dishes, diminishing their shine. By following a simple cleaning routine, you can prevent these issues and ensure your dishwasher functions optimally.

Materials needed for cleaning

Before we begin, gather the following materials:

  1. Dish soap
  2. White vinegar
  3. Baking soda
  4. Toothbrush or small cleaning brush
  5. Microfiber cloth or sponge

Step-by-step guide to cleaning the inside of a dishwasher

Follow these steps to clean the inside of your dishwasher thoroughly:

1. Preparing the dishwasher

Before starting the cleaning process, make sure the dishwasher is empty. Remove any dishes, utensils, or other items from the racks and clear out any large food debris.

2. Removing debris and food particles

Check the dishwasher drain and remove any visible debris or clogs. Use a toothbrush or small cleaning brush to scrub away stubborn food particles that may be stuck in the drain or around the edges of the dishwasher.

3. Cleaning the spray arms and filters

The spray arms and filters are essential components of a dishwasher that require regular cleaning. Start by removing the spray arms and rinsing them under running water to remove any debris or blockages. Clean the spray arm nozzles with a toothpick or small brush to ensure proper water flow.

Next, locate the dishwasher filters, typically found at the bottom of the dishwasher. Remove the filters and rinse them thoroughly under running water to remove any trapped food particles. Use a toothbrush to gently scrub away any stubborn residue. Once clean, reassemble the filters and place them back in the dishwasher.

4. Removing stains and mineral buildup

To tackle stains and mineral buildup, create a paste by mixing baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the affected areas, such as the interior walls, door, and gasket of the dishwasher. Allow the paste to sit for a few minutes, then scrub the surfaces gently with a toothbrush or sponge. For stubborn stains, use a cloth soaked in white vinegar to wipe them away.

5. Cleaning the dishwasher door and gasket

Pay attention to the dishwasher door and gasket, as these areas can accumulate grime and food particles. Wipe the door and gasket with a cloth soaked in a mixture of water and dish soap. For hard-to-reach areas, use a toothbrush or cotton swab to remove any residue.

6. Cleaning the dishwasher racks

The dishwasher racks also require attention during the cleaning process. Inspect the racks for any food debris or mineral buildup. Use a cloth or sponge soaked in soapy water to wipe down the racks thoroughly. If there are any stubborn stains, apply a paste of baking soda and water and scrub gently.

7. Running a cleaning cycle

After completing all the cleaning steps mentioned above, it’s time to run a cleaning cycle. Fill a dishwasher-safe cup with white vinegar and place it on the top rack of the dishwasher. Run a hot water cycle on the dishwasher, using the vinegar to eliminate any remaining residue and odors.

Tips for maintaining a clean dishwasher

To keep your dishwasher in top shape, consider the following tips:

  • Scrape off excess food from dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
  • Regularly clean the dishwasher filters to prevent clogs and improve water flow.
  • Run a vinegar cleaning cycle every few months to keep the dishwasher fresh and odor-free.
  • Inspect the spray arms for blockages and ensure they can rotate freely.
  • Wipe down the door and gasket regularly to prevent the buildup of grime.

How often should I clean the inside of my dishwasher?

Cleaning the inside of your dishwasher every one to three months is recommended for optimal performance.

Can I use bleach to clean my dishwasher?

Avoid using bleach, as it can damage the dishwasher’s components. Stick to vinegar and baking soda for effective and safe cleaning.

Why are there white spots on my dishes after running the dishwasher?

White spots on dishes are often caused by mineral deposits. Regular cleaning of the dishwasher helps prevent this issue.

How can I eliminate unpleasant odors from my dishwasher?

Running a cleaning cycle with white vinegar helps eliminate odors and freshen up the dishwasher.

Is it necessary to rinse dishes before placing them in the dishwasher?

While it’s not necessary to rinse dishes thoroughly, scraping off excess food particles is recommended for better cleaning results.


Cleaning the inside of your dishwasher is an essential maintenance task that ensures optimal performance and prolongs the lifespan of the appliance. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you can easily remove debris, stains, and mineral buildup, leaving your dishwasher sparkling clean and your dishes spotless.

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