How to Remove Stains From Dishwasher

In every modern kitchen, the dishwasher is a beloved appliance that saves us time and effort in cleaning dishes. However, over time, you may notice unsightly stains and residue building up inside your dishwasher. Not only do these stains affect the cleanliness of your dishes, but they can also lead to unpleasant odors. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore effective methods to remove stains from your dishwasher, ensuring it operates at its best.

Understanding Dishwasher Stains

Before we dive into the cleaning process, it’s essential to understand the types of stains that can accumulate in your dishwasher. Common culprits include:

1. Hard Water Stains

Hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can leave stubborn white spots on your dishwasher’s interior.

2. Soap Scum Buildup

Excessive use of dishwasher detergent can result in soap scum deposits, making your dishwasher appear dirty.

3. Food Residue

Bits of food particles can get trapped in the dishwasher’s nooks and crannies, leading to unpleasant odors.

4. Rust Stains

Over time, metal parts within the dishwasher can corrode, causing rust stains on the interior surfaces.

Tools and Materials

Before we embark on the stain removal journey, gather the following items:


  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Dishwasher-safe bowl
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Lemon juice

Removing Stains Step by Step

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of removing those pesky stains:

1. Empty the Dishwasher

Start by removing all dishes and utensils from the dishwasher. Ensure it’s completely empty before beginning the cleaning process.

2. Clean the Filter

Locate the dishwasher filter at the bottom of the machine. Remove it and rinse it under running water to get rid of any food particles or debris.

3. White Vinegar Rinse

Place a dishwasher-safe bowl filled with white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher. Run a hot water cycle to allow the vinegar to break down hard water stains and soap scum.

4. Baking Soda Scrub

Create a paste by mixing baking soda with a little water. Use a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush to scrub the interior surfaces of the dishwasher, focusing on areas with stubborn stains.

5. Lemon Freshness

Cut a lemon in half and rub the lemon halves along the interior surfaces of the dishwasher. Lemon’s natural acidity helps remove stains and leaves a fresh scent.

6. Final Rinse

Run another hot water cycle to rinse away any remaining residue, including the vinegar and lemon juice.

7. Wipe Clean

Once the cycle is complete, use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the interior of the dishwasher, ensuring it’s dry and spotless.

8. Rust Stain Removal

For rust stains, consider purchasing a dishwasher-safe rust remover product and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


A clean dishwasher not only ensures sparkling dishes but also prolongs the lifespan of your appliance. Regular maintenance, as described in this guide, will keep your dishwasher in top-notch condition, preventing stains and odors from taking over. Say goodbye to dishwasher stains and hello to effortlessly clean dishes!


1. How often should I clean my dishwasher?

Ideally, you should clean your dishwasher once a month to prevent stains and odors from building up.

2. Can I use bleach to clean my dishwasher?

It’s not recommended to use bleach as it can damage the rubber gaskets and other components. Stick to safer alternatives like vinegar and baking soda.

3. What can I do to prevent future stains?

To prevent future stains, scrape off excess food from dishes before loading them, and regularly clean the filter and spray arms.

4. My dishwasher still smells bad after cleaning. What should I do?

If your dishwasher has a lingering odor, you can place a small bowl of baking soda on the top rack and run a hot water cycle to deodorize it.

5. Are commercial dishwasher cleaners worth it?

Commercial dishwasher cleaners can be effective, especially for rust stains. However, the natural methods mentioned in this guide are cost-effective and eco-friendly alternatives worth trying first.

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