How to Clean Your Dishwasher (With Vinegar)

Today we’re showing you how to clean your dishwasher.

Forget expensive, chemical cleaning products, the best way to clean your dishwasher is naturally, with good old white vinegar!

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Did you know that store-bought dishwasher cleaners often contain harsh chemicals like bleach, which can actually damage your dishwasher and lead to it breaking down faster?

Instead, just a few household items will leave your machine safely gleaming in next to no time!


Why clean your dishwasher at all?

We’re assuming you’re here because you’re already sold on the benefits of deep cleaning your dishwasher, but in case you need a quick recap, here’s why it’s important:

  • In our house, the dishwasher serves as general storage for dirty plates. Even with rinsing off, dishes can sit in there for days before the machine goes on. Now think of the hundreds of gunk-laden items that go through that cycle over time in your kitchen. Regular cleaning will help your dishwasher to clean better and faster, and prolong its life.
  • Regularly cleaning your dishwasher will remove the bad smells and nasty odors that can build up inside.
  • No more cloudy glasses! Preventing limescale and calcium scale build-up – especially if you live in an area with hard water – means fewer glasses and dishes coming out with that strange milky coating on them.

Our picks for dishwasher accessories

Silicone Bottle Cleaning Brush

Silicone Bottle Brush

Stop powder and food debris collecting at the bottom of bottles with a brush that will reach even the tiniest corners
Baby Bottle Basket for Dishwasher

Baby Bottle Holder

Even if you don't have a baby, this holder will keep small items inside and get them clean without being jostled all over the washer
Dishwasher Bag

Dishwasher Bag

This flexible bag will let you clean all kinds of weird-shaped and small items in the dishwasher

Want to shop all our cleaning & organization supply picks in one place? Check out our dedicated shopping page, full of all our best finds from the interwebs!

Cleaning with vinegar

Household white vinegar has many natural cleaning uses, in fact, it’s an all-round wonder product. But it’s also especially good for cleaning dishwashers due to its shine promoting, odor-reducing and germ-killing properties.

Follow these simple steps to see how it’s done!

Prepping to clean your dishwasher

First off, ensure the dishwasher is clear of any dishes or other items. Then take out all of the racks and drawers so that you can get to the inside easily.

how to clean your dishwasher

Locate the filter

Go into the bottom of the dishwasher and find the filter. This filter traps all the dirt and debris left behind when the machine drains.

If you find that your dishwasher isn’t cleaning very well, a blocked filter could definitely be the problem.

You should be able to remove the filter with a simple half counter-clockwise turn.

Once you have removed it from the dishwasher, simply take out all the leftover food debris inside (this could be kinda yucky, depending on when it was last done).

Then replace it in the bottom of your dishwasher where it came from, once it’s clear.

Spray arms

Next up, locate the spray arms. These spinning plastic arms in the middle of your dishwasher are what send streams of hot water to your dishes, but with leftover food whizzing around the inside of your machine, they can also become clogged in the process.

Some people recommend removing these from the dishwasher to clean them, but I find you can do an adequate job while they are still attached to the dishwasher.

Depending on the size of the holes in your appliance’s spray arms, you may want to use one of the following small tools to clean the edges and remove any build-up: toothpicks, tweezers, soft toothbrushes or cotton swabs.

If the debris there is hardened, wrap the arms with cloths soaked in warm water for a few minutes to soften it first. If you have limescale build-up on the spray arms, soak a cloth in neat vinegar and let that soak for a few minutes to dissolve it.

Some of our favorite dishwasher accessories

Dishwasher Net

Dishwasher Net

Hook this net over loose items in the dishwasher to stop them moving around during the cycle
Dishwasher Basket Set

Dishwasher Basket Set

Clean small items without them getting lost like lids and baby bottle tops
Clean/Dirty Dishwasher Magnet

Clean/Dirty Fridge Magnet

Never grab a dirty cup from the dishwasher again!

Baby Yoda Clean/Dirty Magnet

Let Baby Yoda tell you when the dishwasher has been on

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