How to Run Vinegar Through Dishwasher

Dishwashers are an essential part of modern-day kitchens. They make our lives easier by washing our dishes, cookware, and utensils for us. However, over time, dishwashers can become clogged with buildup and grime, leading to unpleasant odors and less effective cleaning. One effective way to clean and deodorize your dishwasher is by running vinegar through it. In this article, we will discuss how to run vinegar through a dishwasher properly, including the benefits, steps to follow, and frequently asked questions.

Benefits of Running Vinegar Through a Dishwasher

Using vinegar to clean your dishwasher can have many benefits, including:

  1. Deodorizing – Vinegar is an excellent natural deodorizer that can help eliminate unpleasant smells from your dishwasher.
  2. Removing buildup – Over time, mineral deposits and food particles can build up in your dishwasher, leading to clogs and less effective cleaning. Vinegar can help break down these deposits and remove them.
  3. Sanitizing – Vinegar has natural antibacterial properties that can help sanitize your dishwasher.
  4. Improving performance – A cleaner dishwasher will perform better, leaving your dishes cleaner and shinier.

Steps to Run Vinegar Through a Dishwasher

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits let’s take a look at the steps to follow to run vinegar through your dishwasher:

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

You’ll need the following materials to run vinegar through your dishwasher:

  • White vinegar
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • A dishwasher-safe container (e.g., a bowl or a measuring cup)

Step 2: Empty Your Dishwasher

Make sure your dishwasher is empty before you begin the cleaning process.

Step 3: Add Vinegar to the Dishwasher

Measure one cup of white vinegar and pour it into a dishwasher-safe container. Place the container on the top rack of your dishwasher. You can also pour the vinegar directly into the bottom of the dishwasher, but this may lead to less effective cleaning.

Step 4: Run the Dishwasher

Add dishwashing detergent to your dishwasher as you normally would, then run the dishwasher on a hot water cycle. Make sure the container with the vinegar stays in place on the top rack throughout the cycle.

Step 5: Wipe Down Your Dishwasher

Once the cycle is complete, use a clean cloth to wipe down the inside of your dishwasher, paying particular attention to the spray arms and filters.

Step 6: Run a Rinse Cycle

Run your dishwasher on a rinse cycle to ensure that any remaining vinegar is washed away.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar?

It’s best to stick with white vinegar when cleaning your dishwasher. While apple cider vinegar can also be used as a natural cleaner, it may not be as effective in breaking down mineral deposits and food particles in your dishwasher.

  1. How often should I run vinegar through my dishwasher?

You should run vinegar through your dishwasher at least once a month to keep it clean and deodorized. However, if you notice any buildup or unpleasant odors, you may need to clean it more frequently.

  1. Can I run vinegar through my dishwasher if I have a stainless steel interior?

Yes, you can safely run vinegar through your dishwasher if it has a stainless steel interior. However, avoid using vinegar on any parts made of rubber or plastic, as it can damage them.

  1. Will running vinegar through my dishwasher damage it?

No, running vinegar through your dishwasher will not damage it. However, if you have any parts made of rubber or plastic, you should avoid using vinegar on them, as it can cause damage.

  1. What can I do to prevent buildup in my dishwasher?

To prevent buildup in your dishwasher, make sure you scrape off any excess food before loading your dishes and run hot water in your sink before starting the dishwasher. This will help rinse away any loose particles that could cause buildup. You can also use a dishwasher cleaner specifically designed to remove buildup and grime.

  1. Can I use vinegar instead of dishwashing detergent?

No, vinegar is not a substitute for dishwashing detergent. While it can help break down buildup and deodorize your dishwasher, it does not have the same cleaning agents as dishwashing detergent. Make sure to use both vinegar and dishwashing detergent when running a cleaning cycle.

  1. Can I use other types of vinegar, such as red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar?

No, you should only use white vinegar when cleaning your dishwasher. Other types of vinegar may contain additives or coloring agents that can damage your dishwasher.


Running vinegar through your dishwasher is an easy and effective way to clean and deodorize your appliance. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can keep your dishwasher in top condition, improving its performance and extending its lifespan. Remember to clean your dishwasher regularly and use vinegar at least once a month to maintain its cleanliness and freshness

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