Gunk, funk, and junk. Sound like the name of a heavy metal band? No worries, it’s not. But it is what’s clogging and stinking up your dishwasher. Here are a few house cleaning tips and tricks on how to clean your dishwasher and get rid of the gunk for good.
Your dishwasher makes cleanup a breeze. Luckily, dishwasher maintenance is also a snap. Follow these easy tips to keep your dishwasher running smoothly.
- Don’t overfill it. You run the risk of blocking the dishwasher’s spray arm. Your dishes may not come clean — and they could even become damaged because of the overcrowding.
- Scrape food from dishes. You may not need to rinse your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher, but you should at least scrape the food off them. Too much food could clog the machine.
- Clean the spray arm. A safety pin can help you get maximum performance from your dishwasher. That’s because it’s great for de-clogging the spray holes in your dishwasher’s arms. Usually the bottom arm has the most clogs since it sits in the water, but make sure to clean the top arm’s holes, too. For a complete cleaning, give the arms a bath under a sink faucet. Take the arms out of the dishwasher by removing the racks and then undoing the hubcap that holds them in place.
- Clear the trap. The trap at the bottom of your dishwasher catches the food that falls from the dishes. Periodically remove the trap and wash it to get rid of any food or soap particles.
- Run it on empty. Clean and freshen the inside of your dishwasher by running it empty with a cup of baking soda and 1 1/2 cups of vinegar.
- Inspect the gaskets. If water leaks onto your floor in front of your dishwasher, a damaged or worn-out gasket could be to blame. Check the gaskets for cracks or other signs of damage and replace them if necessary. Use a soft brush to clean the gaskets, which can collect food debris.
- Bust the rust. Check your dishwasher rack for nicks or scratches. If the plastic finish wears away and the metal underneath becomes exposed, it can rust — and leave rust on your dishes. You can buy a repair kit to fix this problem.
Wash the Fungus Out of Your Dishwasher
After checking nearly 200 dishwashers on six continents, scientists found that 62 percent of them contained fungus, especially in the rubber seal around the dishwasher’s edge. The fungus survived in spite of the detergents and high water temperatures in the dishwashers, but they won’t survive this. Scrub down your dishwasher’s rubber seal with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, making sure to completely remove any black moldy deposits if you find them. When you are done, fill a bowl with two cups of vinegar, place it on the top rack, and run the dishwasher on its hot setting. For the final blow against the fungus, pour one cup of baking soda on the floor of your dishwasher, and run it again.
Vanquish Dishwasher Funk With Vinegar
A half gallon of plain white vinegar only costs about $1.60, and it’s just as good — if not better — than all those expensive cleaning products. And while you may think vinegar, lemonade, and baking soda are an unlikely combination, these three actually have some amazing uses. They’ll do wonders for your dishwasher, – one of the toughest-to-clean appliances in your kitchen.
To get rid of stains and smells, empty your dishwasher, and work your way through these three steps.
- Fill a dishwasher-safe cup with vinegar and place in the top rack. Run a hot wash cycle to loosen the stains and get to work on that musty smell.
- Next run a wash cycle with powdered lemonade instead of soap. The citric acid and lemony scent will really freshen things up.
- To further deodorize and blast away stains, sprinkle a good handful of baking soda in the bottom of your dishwasher and run it again on the hottest cycle.
Flush Out Funky Filters
Even if you scrape and rinse your dishes, food particles can get trapped in your dishwasher’s filters. Most models come with one or two of these and they need scrubbing about once a month. Dishwasher experts say to clean out all the objects that are bigger than a green pea. Look for these filters on the bottom of your dishwasher, below the sprayer arms. Pull them out, place in a sink full of warm, soapy water, and scrub with a toothbrush. You can also check your dishwasher’s manual for tips on how to clean your filters. If you don’t have a manual, do a Google search with your appliance’s make and model. A good manual will give you instruction on how to clean your dishwasher.