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How to Clean
a Dishwasher Naturally

Blog Title Shape
March 21, 2024

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The dishwasher must be one of the best time-saving appliances in your kitchen. It helps you keep your kitchen tidy and, most importantly, makes washing dishes a snap. Plus, dishwashers don’t only clean dishes, pots, and utensils. They also sanitize toys, toothbrushes, and sponges. But one thing they can’t do is clean themselves. That minor flaw is why you should learn how to clean a dishwasher like a pro.

How to Clean a Dishwasher With Vinegar and Baking Soda

Cleaning a dishwasher with vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap will eliminate dirt and odors without harsh cleaners. Distilled white vinegar is a natural cleaner, deodorizer, and disinfectant. Baking soda is a non-toxic cleaner, whitener, and deodorizer. Plus, the mild abrasiveness cuts through grime. Here are the DIY dishwasher cleaners and tools you’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Microfiber cloths and paper towels
  • Nylon scrub brush
  • Toothbrush
  • Bath towel

Before you gather your supplies, lay a bath towel beneath the front of the dishwasher to protect the floor. Now you get to learn how to deep clean a dishwasher and enjoy sparkling clean dishes day after day.


  • Wipe down dishwashers with plastic exteriors using hot, soapy water.
  • Use one part vinegar to three parts water for stainless steel.
  • Use a clean, dry microfiber cloth to wipe it dry.

Racks and Utensil Holders

  • Remove the upper and lower racks and utensil holders.
  • Scrub the racks and utensil holders with hot, soapy water, then rinse.
  • Use a paperclip to dislodge stuck-on food and debris.
  • Set the racks and holders to the side for the next step.


  • Remove the filter and spray it with hot water at the kitchen sink.
  • Soak the filter in warm, soapy water for 10 minutes.
  • Use a scrub brush to remove food particles and residues.
  • Rinse your filter and reinstall it in the dishwasher.

Spray Arms

  • Remove the spray arms and spray them with hot water at your sink.
  • Direct the spray into each of the holes and ends to dislodge debris.
  • Use baking soda to remove discoloration and stains.
  • Rinse the spray arms, ensure all the holes are clear, and reinstall them.


  • Remove any buildup in the drain area with paper towels.
  • Pour in two cups of white vinegar and run a regular cycle.
  • Add a cup of baking soda and remove stains with a damp cloth.
  • Run another cycle on the hottest setting and leave the door open after.

Door Seals

  • Mix water with baking soda to make a thick paste.
  • Scrub the pleats in the door seal with the paste and a toothbrush.
  • Ensure you remove buildup from all four sides of the seal.
  • Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe off the baking soda residue.

To keep it clean between deep cleanings, clean your dishwasher with baking soda and vinegar for a quick refresh. Cover the bottom with one cup of baking soda and place a bowl of white vinegar on the lower rack. Run a hot water cycle to break down grime and deodorize the dishwasher.

How Often Should I Clean My Dishwasher?

Once you know how to clean a dishwasher, how often should you clean it? Add these chores to your house cleaning checklist to postpone deep cleanings longer.

Remove food from the bottom of the dishwasher and the filter well. To clean the exterior of your dishwasher, dampen a microfiber cloth and wipe it down.

Wipe down the door edges and door seal. Remove and clean the filter and remove buildup in the drain area.

Deep clean your dishwasher, including the racks, filter, utensil holders, and drain. Check the drain to ensure the water is draining freely.

Frequent dishwasher cleaning is better for your dishwasher and your family’s health.

How to Clean a Dishwasher Less Often

Since you’ve taken the time to learn how to clean your dishwasher, take a little more to learn how to keep it pristine. Here are some everyday dishwasher maintenance tips to keep it at peak performance.

  • Understand your dishwasher’s loading instructions and settings.
  • Set your water heater to a minimum of 120 Fahrenheit for optimal cleaning.
  • Use pods instead of powder or liquid dishwashing detergent.
  • Use an old toothbrush to prevent buildup in hard-to-reach places.
  • You don’t have to rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher—but it doesn’t hurt!

If you want to clean your dishwasher and other appliances less often, we can help with professional appliance cleaning.

The Maids® is one of the only residential cleaning services to clean specifically for health. Discover affordable house cleaning services that create a better environment—get your free customized quote today.

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