Ready to hear an unsettling fact about your home? There’s a good chance your kitchen is full of more germs than your toilet. 


Ok, sure, you might go above and beyond to make sure your kitchen is scrubbed down every night, with nary a dish left in the sink or a crumb on the counter. That’s great!

But, we’d be willing to bet that there’s one place in your kitchen that’s dirtier than you may think: your dishwasher. 

Is cleaning a dishwasher really necessary, since its main purpose is to keep things clean? Yes! If you don’t take the time to occasionally clean it down, it can become a hotbed for dirt, grime, and germs. 

Fortunately, we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn the best dishwasher cleaning tips to keep your kitchen clean and germ-free.

Start With the Outside

The door of your dishwasher is probably not too dirty if you remember to give it a good wipe every now and then. However, if you have a stainless steel dishwasher, there are bound to be fingerprints on it, even if you just wiped it down. 

Start by using a soft cloth and a mild detergent to wipe down the door. If stubborn fingerprints remain, you can try spraying it with glass cleaner to make it shine again. 

Don’t forget to use this time to wipe down the buttons on the door as well. Since they’re touched most often, there’s a higher chance that they contain germs and bacteria. 

Gather Cleaning Supplies

Once the outside is all finished, it’s time to deep clean the inside. You can start by pulling together cleaning supplies with items you likely already have in your home. 

That’s right, you don’t need a special, fancy dishwasher cleaning solution. All you need is some plain white vinegar and some baking soda. 

You’ll also want to grab a clean, gentle cloth, as well as an old toothbrush, to get in all the crevices of the appliance. 

Clean the Drain

Once you open the dishwasher and really start to inspect it, you might notice undissolved detergent, soap scum, or even signs of mold.

The drain is one of the places that collect the most dirt and grime, so you’ll want to start by taking out the dish rack at the bottom so you can get to the drain. Once you take out the rack, clean out any visible food particles. 

If you notice anything else blocking the drain, remove it to help prevent future clogging issues. You just might be surprised at what you find down there.

Clean the Filter

Next, you’ll want to take out the filter, which is likely full of gunk. Use the old toothbrush you grabbed to gently scrub the filter while you run it under hot water. 

A clean filter will help your dishwasher clean your dishes more effectively in the future. If a quick scrub is not enough to remove all the grime from the filter, you can also let it soak in hot, soapy water for 10-20 minutes. 

If you’re not sure how to remove and reinstall the filter, check out the owner’s manual for instructions. 

Wash the Utensil Holders

Now is a good time to remove the utensil holders from the rack and wash them with soap and warm water. If needed, you can use the toothbrush to get into small crevices that may have trapped old food. 

Run a Vinegar Wash Cycle

Once you’ve put the filter, the bottom rack, and the utensil holders back in, fill a dishwasher-safe cup with the white vinegar. Place it on the top rack of the dishwasher and run your normal wash cycle. 

The vinegar acts as a powerful cleaning agent, loosening stubborn grime and removing grease. It also works as a deodorizer, neutralizing the funk that sometimes emanates from a dishwasher. 

Once the cycle is complete, remove the cup and use the cloth to wipe down the insides of the dishwasher, including the racks. 

Run a Baking Soda Wash Cycle

After the vinegar cycle, take the baking soda and sprinkle it along the bottom of your dishwasher. Then, do the same thing, running your dishwasher on the hottest setting. 

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and stain remover, so it can further break down gross smells and unsightly stains that occur naturally over time. 

Once the cycle is complete, you’ll once again wipe down the interior of the appliance. If some stubborn stains remain, you can scrub them with the old toothbrush. 

Scrub the Seals

The final thing to do is scrub down the seals along the inside of the door frame. Over time, they can trap dirt and grime, which can eventually lead to the deterioration of the seals. 

Create a mixture of hot water and soap, then dip the toothbrush in that and use it to scrub the seals clean. Once you’re finished, wipe them down with a wet cloth to make sure all the soap is gone. 

Maintenance Tips to Make Cleaning a Dishwasher Easier

This can seem like a lot of work, especially if you’ve never cleaned your dishwasher before. However, incorporating a few dishwasher maintenance tips into your cleaning routine can help keep it sparkling and good as new. 

Try to remove and clean your filter once a week to keep your dishwasher working as it should. And, make sure you remove any lingering pieces of food every time you use the appliance. 

Then, repeat the deep cleaning steps above once a month. The good news is that after you do it the first time, it won’t take as long each month, since you’re staying on top of it!

Let Us Make Your Life Easier

If you’re exhausted just reading through the steps for cleaning a dishwasher, why not let the Scrub ‘N Bubbles Cleaning team help take some things off your plate?

We offer full residential cleaning services so you can have a beautiful, clean home, without having to do it all yourself.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can make your life a little easier.