Dishwasher Not Cleaning? Cleaned The Dishwasher!

Dishwasher Not Cleaning? Cleaned The Dishwasher!

You open your dishwasher after the cleaning cycle ready to put your clean dishes away and THE HORROR! There are bits of food left all over your dishes. Is time to get a new dishwasher? Maybe but let me ask you a serious question.

Dishwasher not cleaning? Try this!
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When’s the last time you cleaned your dishwasher?

No, I’m not talking about putting baking soda and vinegar in it and running it on the pots and pans cycle. I mean really cleaning it. You knew the dishwasher wasn’t self cleaning right? Okay, just checking.

Most dishwashers have several places that need to be cleaned regularly or your dishwasher will stop working properly. But when you get a dishwasher no one tells you how to maintain it. Okay, so maybe it’s in that book that came with the dishwasher that you threw into the empty box and threw away. But other than that . . .

[bctt tweet=”Never fear! We can do this!” username=”PeonyLaneDesign”]

Start With The Filters

I don’t know of any model of dishwasher that doesn’t have a filter in it. The filters are easy to pop out but for some reason most people completely ignore them.

Cleaning Dishwasher Mesh filter
The mesh filter come out easily.

My filter is made out of a fine mesh that gets clogged easily with a greasy gunk. I hate it and it make me nauseous.  The gunk on it is easily rinsed off with the sprayer on the sink, but it’s still really gross.  It should be cleaned every other week, but a more realist goal is every month.

Clean the Screen

Some dishwashers (like mine) have another screen that also catches

Cleaning Dishwasher Dishwasher screen
See the hunk that gets caught on the screen!

food particles and get’s quite slimy. Again, it’s not difficult at all to remove these screens.  They are made to come out and be cleaned after all (it was in that little books I swear).

This one requires a little more scrubbing than the filter in mine.  I don’t know if it’s the same for all dishwashers so I can only go by mine. Pop is out and get a brush because you do not want to touch what’s hanging onto that screen. Ick!

While the screen is out make sure you clean the slimy bits that collect around the the track where the screen sits. I use Super Clean which is this amazing de-greaser from the auto parts store. I’m not kidding this stuff melts grease and oils away so it make light work out of dishwasher gunk (and it’s a dream on a greasy stove – just saying).

Don’t Forget the Dishwasher Sprayer Arm

The upper and lower sprayer arm can get clogged with food bits so if the above two cleaning tips don’t solve your dishwashers issues then try the sprayer arms.  Both sprayer arms are  removable.  Go onto the manufacturers website to find the instructions for removing yours.  Then grab a toothpick, a tweezers (nope not kidding) and get to work.

Cleaning Dishwasher Spraying arm holes
Sprayer arm takes toothpicks and tweezers to get them clean!

First use a toothpick to unblock any of the spray holes that might be clogged with food.  When I did this even though I tried to flick the pieces up and out, they fell back into the spray arm. Then grab the Super Clean and spray it in the center part and let is drip down each side to dissolve the greasy bits.  After it’s had a chance to work it’s magic, use the your sink sprayer and spray hot water down the center bit.

This will push gunk down to that bottom spray hole.  Then it’s tweezers time. I have found not other way to get that junk out of there.

While the arms are out, clean the area where the arms connect for good measure.

Clean the Door!

Okay, this is the last place to check. Open the dishwasher and check just under the inside of the

Clean under the dishwasher door
Clean under the door!

door (beneath the silverware tray on mine. It’s amazing how much yuck can collect there.  I don’t know if this gunk really effects the cleaning power of the dishwasher as much as the above does but as long as you’re in there cleaning it’s an overlooked spot to clean.

Grab a bush and the de-greaser.  You’re going to want put a towel on the floor because stuff is going to drip down. Spray the de-greaser and spray the bottom of the door. Then scrub until it’s clean.

Vinegar And Baking Soda Time!

Once you’ve cleaned all these places and put the dishwasher back together put a cup of white vinegar and a cup of baking soda in the dishwasher.  I put the baking powder in the detergent dispenser and the vinegar I pour in the bottom.  Run the empty dishwasher on the highest cycle you have. On mine it’s pots and pan cycle.  If you have a high heat option select that and run the dishwasher.

Now you can sit back, have a glass of wine and bask in the knowledge that your dishwasher is clean. Okay, maybe that’s just me, but go ahead and pat yourself of the back.

This deep cleaning will resolve most of the cleaning issues your dishwasher has been having. You can go from thinking you need you need to buy a new dishwasher to, “Hey it’s like brand new!” A little bit of work can save you a lot of cash.

If you find that your spray arms or filters are too clogged and won’t come clean, replacing these parts cost only a fraction of what you would pay for a new dishwasher.  For instance a new spray arm is under $16 the filter is less than $6.

Do you have any tips for cleaning the dishwasher I might have missed? Let me know in the comments below. We are in this together!

Finished cleaning the dishwasher and want to tackle some other forgotten tasks. Check out this post! Projects to Tackle in Quarantine

Many blessings to you!


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