Welcome to day 10 of the ‘31 Days of Deep Cleaning Your Home‘ series!

Today’s task is to clean your dishwasher.

You would think that an appliance that is designed for cleaning would clean itself, but that is not the case! Dirt, grime and food particles can get stuck in the all the nooks and crannies that the water doesn’t touch.

Gross, right?

First, I usually lay down some old towels underneath the opened door.This way I don’t have to worry about messing up the floor while I am scrubbing! Start by removing the racks from your dishwasher. I have to pull two little tabs out to get my top rack out.

Once you have the racks out, start scrubbing any grime you see. I just use warm, soapy water. For any hard water spots, I will spray them with full strength vinegar and then scrub them. If you have really tough to remove gunk on your dishwasher, you can use a paste of baking soda and water to scrub it with. Pay particular attention to the area at the bottom towards the front where the door closes. A lot of stuff drips and spills down there but once the door is closed, the water can’t get to it.

Also, make sure to clean around the edges of the door. Again, food can spill here but the dishwasher can’t get it clean.

Make sure there is no food or debris down around where the water drain is in the bottom. If you find anything pull it out! There should be a spot where water comes in from your sink. The cover on mine pops out, so I scrub it and around the opening, since food particles can build up in there.

Lastly, check to be sure your sprayers are all free of clogs. If you have any food particles stuck in there, you can carefully use a toothpick or a pipe cleaner to clear the holes.

After you have finished scrubbing, replace your racks back into your dishwasher. Fill a glass bowl or cup with vinegar (about 1 – 2 cups) and place it in the top rack. Run a full cycle with the hottest water. This will remove odors and hard water build up from your dishwasher. You can also use a packet of lemonade koolaid in your detergent cup in place of the vinegar. Do NOT use any other flavor!! (You can turn off the heated dry for this step.)

Make sure to scrub around the outside buttons and knobs as a lot of stuff can build up there!

Tip: If you have a garbage disposal, but sure to run it to clear out your sink just before running your dishwasher. This will help cut down on getting particles of food all over your dishes since your dishwasher drains into the same pipes as your sink!

After this cycle is complete, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher. Run another full cycle (it can be the shortest one) with the hottest water you can. (Again, turn off your heated dry setting.)

While this cycle is running, wipe down the outside of your dishwasher. Scuff marks can often be removed by a magic eraser. I have some scratches on mine that I can’t remove, but my dishwasher is over 7 years old and I have two small kids, so it is just part of life!

Be sure your rinse cup is full and you are ready to use your dishwasher again. I use full strength vinegar in mine as a rinse aid and it works great!

Tip: If your water heater is set to a temperature lower than 120°, be sure to use the high temperature setting on your dishwasher to be sure the water is getting hot enough. Also, it can help to run a little hot water in the sink before you start the dishwasher. Your dishes will come out cleaner if the water starts out hot.

There is really no way to shorten the process of cleaning your dishwasher, but if you don’t have much time today, focus on the cleaning the sides and front edge of the dishwasher. This will make the biggest impact on your dishwasher looking cleaner!

Some recommendations for cleaning the interior of your dishwasher will call for bleach. But, if your dishwasher has a stainless steel interior, never use bleach in it!

Remember to check back tomorrow for day 11 of the ‘31 Days of Deep Cleaning Your Home‘ series!

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