Your dishwasher works hard to help with your cleaning tasks, but occasionally, it needs you to return the favor. Over time, food particles, grease and soap scum can build up in the appliance, reducing its efficiency and creating odors. If your dishwasher has started to look or smell less than pristine, here are some simple steps to give it a cleanse.

Tools and supplies

Cloth or paper towels
Distilled white vinegar

Step 1

Empty the dishwasher of any dishes and utensils. Then, use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe away any debris on the sides and floor of the appliance’s interior, and clear any food particles from the drain screen. Removing the bottom rack may make this task easier.

Step 2

Fill a dishwasher-safe cup or bowl with approximately one cup of distilled white vinegar, and place the container securely right-side-up on the top rack of the dishwasher. The vinegar will help to cut through grease, clear out detergent build-up and eliminate food odors. Since chlorine and vinegar can react to create toxic fumes, check to ensure your usual dish detergent doesn’t contain chlorine, and clean out the detergent dispenser with a damp paper towel if it does. Set the dishwasher to the hottest setting possible, run it through a complete cycle and then leave the door open for around an hour to allow the machine to dry out completely.


To keep your dishwasher clean and fresh, repeat this process once every few months or as often as needed. With this routine, you can be confident that both your dishes and dishwasher will stay sparkling.

  • By: Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp.
  • In: How To, Tips
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