How to Clean the Inside of a Stainless Steel Dishwasher

Cleaning the inside of a stainless steel dishwasher is an essential task that ensures your dishes come out spotless and your appliance functions optimally. Over time, food particles, grease, and minerals can accumulate inside the dishwasher, leading to unpleasant odors and reduced cleaning performance. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to effectively clean the inside of a stainless steel dishwasher, restoring its cleanliness and efficiency.

A stainless steel dishwasher adds a touch of elegance to your kitchen while providing the convenience of automated dishwashing. However, even the most advanced dishwasher requires regular cleaning to maintain its performance. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can keep your stainless steel dishwasher in top shape and extend its lifespan.

Understanding the Importance of Cleaning the Inside of a Stainless Steel Dishwasher

Cleaning the inside of your dishwasher is not only about maintaining its appearance but also about ensuring hygienic and efficient dishwashing. Over time, food particles, soap residue, and mineral deposits can build up inside the dishwasher, leading to clogged filters, reduced water flow, and unpleasant odors. Regular cleaning not only improves the cleanliness of your dishes but also prevents potential issues that may arise from neglecting the maintenance of your dishwasher.

Preparing for Cleaning

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s important to gather the necessary supplies and disconnect the dishwasher from the power source. This ensures your safety and allows for thorough cleaning without any electrical hazards.

To clean the inside of your stainless steel dishwasher, you will need the following supplies:

  1. Rubber gloves
  2. Microfiber cloths or soft sponges
  3. Vinegar
  4. Baking soda
  5. Stainless steel cleaner (specifically formulated for appliances)
  6. Mild dish soap
  7. Soft-bristle brush
  8. Old toothbrush
  9. Towels

Once you have all the supplies ready, locate the power cord or shut off the dishwasher’s circuit breaker to disconnect it from the electrical supply.

Cleaning the Filters

Filters are an integral part of a dishwasher’s cleaning system, trapping food particles and preventing them from clogging the spray arms and drain. To clean the filters:

  1. Locate the filters at the bottom of the dishwasher.
  2. Remove the lower filter by twisting it counterclockwise and lifting it out.
  3. Rinse the filter under running water to remove any debris.
  4. Clean the filter with mild dish soap and a soft brush, ensuring all the dirt is removed.
  1. Rinse the filter thoroughly to remove any soap residue.
  2. Reinsert the clean filter back into its original position.
  3. Remove the upper filter, following the same procedure as the lower filter.
  4. Clean the upper filter using the same method.
  5. Rinse and reinsert the upper filter.

By cleaning the filters, you ensure proper water circulation and prevent blockages that could affect the dishwasher’s performance.

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Removing Debris and Food Particles

To thoroughly clean the inside of your stainless steel dishwasher, it’s important to remove any debris and food particles that have accumulated over time. Follow these steps:

  1. Start by wiping down the interior walls and door of the dishwasher using a damp microfiber cloth or soft sponge. Pay attention to corners and crevices where food particles tend to accumulate.
  2. Next, clean the spray arms. Remove them by twisting or unscrewing them, depending on your dishwasher model. Rinse the spray arms under running water to remove any debris and use an old toothbrush to scrub away any stubborn dirt.
  3. Check the drainage area located at the bottom of the dishwasher. Clear out any debris or food particles that may be blocking the drain. Use a soft brush or toothbrush to gently remove any build-up.
  4. For stubborn or dried-on food stains, you can create a paste using baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the affected areas and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing it off with a soft brush or sponge.

By thoroughly removing debris and food particles, you ensure that your dishwasher operates at its best and prevents any potential blockages.

Eliminating Odors and Stains

Over time, a stainless steel dishwasher may develop odors and stains. Here are some effective methods to eliminate them:

  1. Start by using a vinegar and baking soda solution. Place a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container on the top rack of the dishwasher. Sprinkle a cup of baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher. Run a hot water cycle to allow the mixture to eliminate odors and stains.
  2. After the vinegar and baking soda cycle, wipe down the interior of the dishwasher with a damp cloth or sponge to remove any residue.
  3. For stainless steel dishwashers, you can use a stainless steel cleaner specifically formulated for appliances. Apply the cleaner to a microfiber cloth and wipe down the interior surfaces, including the door, sides, and bottom of the dishwasher.
  4. Pay special attention to any stubborn stains or marks. Gently scrub them with a soft brush or sponge using the stainless steel cleaner.
  5. Once you have thoroughly cleaned the inside of the dishwasher, rinse it with clean water and dry it with a towel.

These steps will help eliminate odors and restore the stainless steel finish of your dishwasher, leaving it looking and smelling fresh.

Cleaning the Door Gasket and Seal

The door gasket and seal of your dishwasher are crucial for creating a tight seal to prevent leaks. Cleaning them regularly is important to maintain their effectiveness. Here’s how you can clean the door gasket and seal:

  1. Inspect the door gasket and seal for any visible dirt or debris. Wipe them down with a damp cloth to remove any loose particles.
  2. Mix a solution of equal parts water and vinegar. Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the solution and thoroughly clean the door gasket and seal.
  3. For any stubborn stains or mildew, you can use a mildew cleaner or a mixture of bleach and water. Ensure proper ventilation and follow the product instructions carefully.
  4. Rinse the door gasket and seal with clean water and wipe them dry with a towel.

By keeping the door gasket and seal clean, you maintain a tight seal, preventing leaks and ensuring efficient operation of your dishwasher.

Reassembling and Reconnecting the Dishwasher

Once you have thoroughly cleaned the inside of your stainless steel dishwasher, it’s time to reassemble and reconnect the appliance. Follow these steps:

  1. Reinsert the cleaned filters back into their original positions. Ensure they are securely in place.
  2. Put the spray arms back into their designated slots and make sure they are properly attached.
  3. Double-check the drainage area to ensure it is clear of any debris.
  4. Inspect the interior walls and door for any remaining moisture or cleaning solution. Wipe them down with a clean, dry cloth or towel.
  5. Once you are confident that everything is clean and in place, reconnect the dishwasher to the power source by plugging in the power cord or turning on the circuit breaker.

By properly reassembling and reconnecting your dishwasher, you ensure that it operates safely and effectively.

Maintaining a Clean Dishwasher

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your stainless steel dishwasher clean and in optimal condition. Follow these tips to maintain a clean dishwasher:

  1. Clean the inside of your dishwasher at least once a month or as needed, depending on usage.
  2. Wipe down the interior walls and door regularly to prevent the build-up of residue.
  3. Run a vinegar and baking soda cycle once every few months to eliminate odors and stains.
  4. Scrape off excess food particles from dishes before placing them in the dishwasher to prevent clogging the filters.
  5. Keep the dishwasher door slightly open when not in use to allow airflow and prevent the growth of mildew.

By incorporating these simple maintenance practices into your routine, you can enjoy a consistently clean and efficient dishwasher.

How often should I clean the inside of my stainless steel dishwasher?

It is recommended to clean the inside of your dishwasher at least once a month or as needed, depending on usage. Regular maintenance helps prevent build-up and keeps your dishwasher functioning optimally.

Can I use bleach to clean the dishwasher?

While bleach can be effective for cleaning, it is generally not recommended for dishwashers. Bleach can damage the dishwasher’s rubber components and may leave a strong odor. Stick to mild dish soap, vinegar, or specific dishwasher cleaners.

Is it safe to use commercial dishwasher cleaners?

Yes, using commercial dishwasher cleaners specifically formulated for appliances is generally safe. However, always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and ensure proper ventilation during use.

What if my dishwasher still has a lingering odor after cleaning?

If you still notice an odor after cleaning, try running a vinegar and baking soda cycle or using dishwasher deodorizer products. Additionally, ensure that your dishwasher is properly ventilated and that the drain is clear.

Can I clean the dishwasher while it’s running?

No, it is not recommended to clean the dishwasher while it is running. Always disconnect the dishwasher from the power source and follow the proper cleaning steps outlined in this article.


Regularly cleaning the inside of your stainless steel dishwasher is crucial for maintaining its performance and ensuring clean and hygienic dishwashing. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can effectively clean your dishwasher, remove debris and odors, and keep it in optimal condition. Remember to maintain a regular cleaning routine and follow the maintenance tips to prevent future build-up and maximize the lifespan of your appliance.

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