A wise man once said that your dishes will only ever be as clean as your dishwasher. Like most cleaning appliances, dishwashers are (unsurprisingly) good at keeping themselves clean, but having said that, a bit of routine maintenance and care will help to ensure that your dishwasher’s not harbouring any unsavoury dirt or bacteria.
First things first – check the manufacturer’s advice about how to clean your dishwasher. Often there’ll be detailed care instructions, and provided that you follow them, you should be able to expect a long and healthy life for your dishwasher.
That said, there are some other measures you can take to ensure that your dishwasher’s clean and hygienic – regardless of the make or model. Follow the steps below to get your dishwasher spotless:
- After a wash cycle, allow the dishwasher to fully cool down and dry.
- Check and clean the filters. If you don’t do this regularly, you should – filters are designed to trap dirt and debris, and to keep your dishwasher clean.
- Inspect the inside of the dishwasher for large pieces of debris. Look in spray jet holes and around drain holes. If necessary, get a pair of tweezers to extract any food particles that have lodged themselves where they shouldn’t be. Also, check around where the spray jet arms are connected to racks and the main body of the dishwasher – it’s surprising where you’ll find string and hair!
Using an all-purpose cleaner and a damp sponge, thoroughly wipe down the outside frame of the dishwasher and around the door seals.
- Get a nailbrush or an old toothbrush and dip it in white vinegar. Use this to scrub the inside edges of the dishwasher where the walls meet the floor, roof and back. Vinegar is a strong cleaning agent and a powerful antimicrobial – it’s extremely effective against E-coli and other food-borne bacteria.
- Using the brush, attack any stains or caked on food debris on the walls, roof, floor or the inside of the dishwasher door.
- Fill a glass with white vinegar, and place it so that it sits securely on the top rack of your dishwasher.
- Close the dishwasher and allow it to run through the heaviest cycle available. The vinegar will help to clean all the hard-to-reach places.
- Enjoy your freshly-washed dishwasher!
Routine maintenance and care
Washing your dishwasher isn’t something you’ll need to do often – particularly if you take proper care of it in your day-to-day use. Below are some tips to keep your dishwasher clean:
- Always rinse dishes thoroughly before putting them in the dishwasher
- Clean the filter regularly
- Don’t overfill the detergent trap
- Use only the types of detergent recommended by the manufacturer
- Don’t overfill your dishwasher – and always insert dishes properly
- Dishwashers are one of the few appliances in your house to use both scalding hot water and electricity. NEVER attempt to disassemble or repair a broken dishwasher yourself – even if you manage not to electrocute or burn yourself in the process, you’re still likely to void your warranty. If you think your dishwasher’s broken, stop using it and contact an authorised plumber or repair technician.