How to Clean a Dishwasher

Keep your dishwasher in top shape and odor-free in a few quick and easy steps

1-2 hours

Your dishwasher does a lot of the dirty work for you, so every once in a while you need to do something nice for it. Regularly cleaning your dishwasher will keep it in running in pristine condition, help avoid musty food odors from building up, and ensure that your dishes will continue getting cleaned. This guide will walk you through the basics of how to clean a dishwasher.

What You Need



  • Bucket
  • Rags
clean the parts
Cleaning a dishwasher

Remove the parts of your dishwasher and soak them in the sink to remove caked on food.

● Fill your sink halfway with warm water and add about two cups vinegar. 
● Remove the utensil holder and racks and place in the sink. 
● Allow pieces to soak for 20 minutes, then rinse and reinstall in your dishwasher.

Clean the interior
Cleaning a dishwasher

Clear out debris from the inside of the dishwasher.

● Inspect the spinning arms and check that holes aren't blocked - clear with toothpicks if necessary.
● Use paper towels or a rag to wipe up any food and debris from the base of the tub.
● Clean around the inside of door with a toothbrush dipped hot soapy water or the vinegar solution. Gently peel back the gasket if necessary.
● Use a sponge or rag to scrub the walls and door with the vinegar solution.

Run the dishwasher with a cleaning agent.

● Place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack of the empty dishwasher.
● Set the dishwasher for the highest water temperature setting and run it for a full cycle.
● This will loosen and remaining food and grease, and get rid of any odors.

clean the exterior
Cleaning a dishwasher

Don’t forget the outside panel. 

● Use a sponge and warm, soapy water and dry with a towel.
● For stainless steel dishwashers, you can use a glass cleaner or a formulated stainless steel cleaner.