Home » Blog » How To Clean Your Dishwasher With Vinegar (Plus A Vinegar-Free Alternative)

By: Rain City Maids
Oct 03, 2022

Your dishwasher, the trusty companion in your kitchen, works tirelessly to clean your dirty dishes. But did you know that it also needs a little TLC (Tender Loving Care) from time to time? It's true! Over time, food scraps and residue can accumulate, leading to unpleasant odors and even affecting the dishwasher's performance. Don't worry, though! We've got you covered with expert residential cleaning services to help you give your dishwasher the cleaning it deserves. 

Cleaning your dishwasher may not be the most glamorous task, but it's an essential one to keep your kitchen running smoothly. In this blog post, we'll share with you the secrets to cleaning your dishwasher using the power of vinegar. It's a simple and effective method that will leave your dishwasher smelling fresh and performing at its best. But hey, we understand that not everyone is a fan of vinegar. That's why we'll also provide you with a vinegar-free alternative so that you can choose the method that suits you best. 

Get ready to say goodbye to those unwanted odors and hello to a sparkling clean dishwasher! Let's dive in and discover the wonders of dishwasher cleaning.

How to clean your dishwasher (vinegar + hot cycle)

The only product you'll need for this method is white vinegar. Likely, you've already heard about vinegar being used as a cleaning agent, so it shouldn't be surprising that you can also clean your dishwasher using this versatile product.

Do you want to know the best part? Cleaning your dishwasher with vinegar doesn't require much time or effort! Here are the steps: 

Step #1. Empty the dishwasher

The first step is to ensure the dishwasher is empty. On top of removing the dishes, you can also take out the racks and wipe them separately. Emptying the appliance will make it easier for you to do everything you need for the next steps.

Step #2. Wipe away food scraps

Since you'll be using heat, the food residue could become even more stuck to the dishwasher walls

Don't worry; getting rid of food scraps is as easy as grabbing a clean microfiber cloth and wiping them away—the fabric can be dry or damp; it works both ways! Wiping with vinegar will be easier if no food residue is stuck on the dishwasher walls. 

Step #3. Run a cycle with vinegar

It's time to bring the vinegar! Pour one cup of distilled white vinegar into a dishwasher-safe bowl. Then, replace the top rack inside your appliance and put the bowl on it. Once the bowl is safely placed inside the dishwasher, close the door and run a hot water cycle—leave the detergent compartment empty. 

After the cycle's over, wait for the dishwasher to cool down before wiping the walls and corners with a wet sponge. Vinegar is excellent at dissolving grime, so wiping the walls is more than enough to leave them spotless. 

Note: Remember not to leave other dishes and racks inside the appliance during this step since they could prevent the vinegar from reaching every corner.

Step #4. Use baking soda for extra fresh results

Baking soda neutralizes smells, which makes it an excellent natural deodorizer! So, if your dishwasher still has a lingering smell after you wash it, pour baking soda at the bottom of the dishwasher and run a short hot cycle. 

You can repeat this process a couple of times to remove the smell altogether. Remember to wipe away the baking soda every time the cycle's over.

A small disclaimer about this method

Manufacturers may advise against using vinegar and other harsh chemicals because they could damage some rubber components in the long run. Ensure this product is safe for your device, and remember never to put vinegar in the detergent compartment.

How to clean your dishwasher without vinegar

Since the vinegar method is not always the best choice, you can try using a store-bought dishwasher detergent. These cleaners are made specifically for cleaning dishwashers, so they should work perfectly for the task ahead. However, you can use dish soap too.

The only downside is that this method requires more scrubbing and rinsing. But don't worry; your dishwasher will be spotless in no time.

Step #1. Empty the dishwasher

It's easier to reach the walls and corners of your dishwasher if you empty the appliance first, so take out any dishes or other cookware before starting. Then, remove the racks and wash them separately with soapy water. 

Step #2. Clean food residue

Grab a damp cloth or sponge and clean the food crumbs and scraps that can come off with a quick wipe. It should be pretty straightforward.

This way, when scrubbing the dishwasher, you can focus on the stuck-on grime instead of having to clean everything simultaneously.

Step #3. Wipe the door and scrub the insides

Make a simple mixture of water and dishwasher detergent (or dish soap) and dip a sponge into it. First, wipe inside the door, then continue with the rest of the appliance. Don't put in too much pressure first, but ensure to cover all surfaces. Take a damp cloth and wipe again to rinse the walls.

Then comes the hard part: scrubbing. 

You will need to apply more elbow grease to remove the most stubborn stains. Keep scrubbing patiently for the grime to come off, and don't forget to rinse at the end with clean water and a soft cloth—repeat this process until your dishwasher is clean.

Step #4. Scrub the rubber seals

Don't forget to clean the rubber seals! Check if the door gasket or any other seal has hidden spots that need cleaning. If so, dip an old toothbrush into the soapy water and scrub gently. The toothbrush will allow you to reach all the nooks and crannies easily.

Then, wipe the soap away with a damp cloth, and that's it! Your dishwasher should be as good as new.

How to keep your dishwasher clean for longer

If you want to struggle less when cleaning your dishwasher or not to do it as often, clean the food residue off the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher.

It doesn't mean you have to wash or pre-wash your dishes. If you toss the food scraps in the trash with a fork or spoon, the crumbs and food bits won't come off during the washing cycle to stick onto your dishwasher.

Let us help keep the rest of your house clean

Many cleaning tasks are time-consuming and will be hard to get to if you don't have much time to spare. So, if you need an extra hand to keep your home spotless, let Rain City Maids handle the cleaning chores!

Our highly-trained team follows a thorough cleaning checklist that you can customize to cover all your needs. Get an instant quote and book your cleaning services today!

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