How to Deal With a Dirty Dishwasher – A Guest Post!

The other day, I was unloading my dishwasher, when all of a sudden I saw a nasty rust-colored splat on the inside of the door. Eeewww! What in the world? (I eventually traced the mess to a cheap pan with a lip that held water and then spilled it back out rusty.) Got rid of that pan and got to cleaning my dishwasher up…and then I started looking around for any more junk inside the dishwasher. Might as well get them all cleaned up at once, right?

The funny thing was, not even a whole day later, I was contacted by blogger Pheeby Snow, who wanted to do a guest post on “How to Deal With a Dirty Dishwasher”. Perfect! I jumped at the chance! So, without further ado…here’s Pheeby!

Nowadays, the kitchen appliances, and the dishwasher in particular, can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend in doing the house chores. Instead of doing the dishes by hand, you just put them into the dishwasher and you start performing another activity. However, having relatively clean dishes doesn’t necessarily mean that the dishwasher itself is clean too. As a matter of fact, it needs regular cleaning in order to work properly. When you have a day or two off work, you probably concentrate on vacuuming, dusting, sanitizing the bathroom and the dishwasher cleaning is, understandably, not among your top priorities. Take your time and get it clean – you will be amazed by the difference it makes.


You don’t have to rush to the store and buy expensive specialized cleaning detergents. You can achieve the same excellent results with home made detergents and some extra motivation and patience. Let’s get started:

  • First of all – take all the holders and racks out.
  • Make your own dishwasher cleaning detergent: a mixture of warm water, dishwashing liquid and lemon juice. Divide the mixture into two buckets. Soak the holders and racks into the first one and allow and hour or two for soaking. Then, clean them up with a damp microfiber cloth.  The other part of the cleaning detergent will be used for cleaning the inside part of the dishwasher. In case the food particles are too stubborn, take a toothpick and carefully remove them from the dishwasher walls.
  • The outside parts of the dishwasher need some attention as well. In order to make them sparkling clean you can use the old known mixture of vinegar, baking soda and lukewarm water. Damp a microfiber rag and treat the areas around the gasket, the door etc.
  • In case you haven’t used your dishwasher recently, the possibility to see mold and mildew inside it is pretty high. This issue can easily be solved with inexpensive detergents. If your dishwasher doesn’t have any parts made of stainless steel, don’t hesitate to use bleach that will completely remove any mold and mildew traces. Add a reasonable amount of bleach and run the dishwasher. When the washing cycle is completed, don’t close the door for a few hours.
  • The rust accumulation is something you just can’t prevent. One of the common reasons for having a rusty dishwasher is the quality of the tap water, Brockley perfect tenancy clean says. Yet, you can take some actions for reducing the bad impact it has on your appliance: try the water softeners that can be found in every supermarket. If you can see large areas of rust inside your dishwasher, then it’s time to replace the affected shelves with new ones.

A very convenient cleaning method is running the dishwasher empty. The procedure will remove a great part of the debris accumulated. Adding some vinegar is recommended as well. There is one small but important detail though. Stop the dishwasher in the middle of the cycle so the vinegar soak at the bottom for an hour.

Well, it seems like the dishwasher maintenance can be pretty tricky. The dishwasher needs cleaning just like any other appliance in your home – the oven, the fridge, the microwave. The more often you clean it, the less time you will waste. And the best of all is that it will serve you right for years to come.

Repeat these actions at least once a month and you will enjoy the excellent performance of your dishwasher for a really long time. Your efforts will undoubtedly pay off.

Thanks a bunch, Pheeby! Since my dishwasher is just over a year old, there’s not too much nastiness going on inside there yet – I plan on making time to run my dishwasher empty (with some vinegar) on a regular basis to keep it that way! Also, when we purchased our home, our realtor gifted us a home warranty, which was so very kind. After reading the home warranty reviews for the policy she provided us, I found out our dishwasher is covered! It’s nice to have that peace of mind, as well.

How do YOU clean your dishwasher? What do you think of the tips above?

102 thoughts on “How to Deal With a Dirty Dishwasher – A Guest Post!

  1. We do not even use the dishwasher in our current home. We are temporarily renting and when we tried ours a few times it was useless and left clumps of soap on our dishes. I will be using this when we move to our new home though, it would be nice to start of with a clean dishwasher.

  2. At our old house, we always had issues with rust stains in the dishwasher. We just moved into an older house with no dishwasher 🙁 However, I will definitely keep these tips in mind when we get a roll-away dishwasher.

    • You know what, Jen, one of my friends has a roll-away dishwasher and I LOVE it! You can run it anywhere! It’s pretty neat!!!

  3. Our dishwasher is fairly new, but mortified I never thought to clean the other ones I have had. Gross lol I need to add this to my master cleaning list ASAP!

    • I know it, when I come across things like this I wonder why I haven’t died of some uncleanly disease yet LOL

    • So true! I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before – I clean my washing machine, ya know?!

  4. I haven’t owned a dishwasher in almost 30 years. But, when I rented apartments that had dishwashers, I was never in them more than a year, so it never seemed to be a concern. I had been thinking of getting one, as I age – but after reading this I just may stick to the tried and true method of the sink!

  5. Gone are the days of not having to clean appliances that clean things! We have to clean the inside of the washing machine too, didn’t use to 🙂
    I like the Vinegar method best. Great tips.

    • Interesting! As much as I cook, I would be spending an extra hour in the kitchen every day to hand-wash everything!

    • I can believe it! It never hurt anyone…but it certainly wasn’t my favorite chore to do!

  6. We just bought a new dishwasher 2 months ago, and it seems it is already needing a good cleaning. Ugh! Great tips. I am going to do the vinegar one tomorrow!

  7. Great post Pheeby! This is actually just perfect timing for me as well. My dishwasher hasn’t been getting things clean like it used to. I’ve noticed that it is in need of a scrub down, especially at the bottom, but I wasn’t sure where to start! Thanks!!

  8. I have used vinegar, and it works wonders. I have also added vinegar to the dishwasher washing cycle if the glasses get cloudy. Vinegar clears the glass right up, and it leaves no residual taste. Nice guest post.

    Life With Lorelai

  9. Putting bleach in the dishwasher is usually what works. Vinegar doesn’t seem to do the trick, but bleach somehow gets all of the tiny little specks from the mesh filter thing all cleared out. A bowl on the top rack with bleach, on the longet cycle and then open the door and let it air out.

    • Oh, good idea, Robin! (Isn’t it funny that I would rather smell bleach than vinegar?! LOL)

  10. This is actually something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now…my dishwasher always gets neglected. Thanks for the tips!

    • Awesome, Anne! But how do you handle the vinegar smell? (Maybe I’m just extra sensitive)

    • Hey, if I had the great young “dishwashers” you have, I wouldn’t have any need for an electric dishwasher, either! LOL

  11. What great tips! Thanks for allowing Pheeby to share these with us, Kristen! I don’t currently have a dishwasher, but these tips might come in handy in the future.
    Thanks for linking up with us in the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party!! 🙂 Come again next week!
    Pinning to our group board.

  12. Liquid dish washing soap, is that like Dawn? I put white vinegar in every load as I do not have a water softener and everything come out sparkling.

    • Oh no, no Dawn! It has to be dishwasher soap specifically. I think you’ll get way more suds than is healthy for your dishwasher if you use Dawn!

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