How to Clean your Dishwasher

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

Cleaning your dishwasher is an important job that’s often overlooked. Here’s how I clean our dishwasher and keep it like new!

Dishwashers are one of the best inventions ever made! They clean dirty dishes for you and save you time standing over a kitchen sink, especially after you’ve made a big meal need to deal with lots of dirty dishes, glasses and utensils. Over time, the dishwasher, which cleans everything, can create a build-up of soap scum, grease and food debris, which may impact the way your dishwasher works. A dishwasher needs to be taken care of regularly, requiring thorough cleaning for it to function at its best and provide you with the cleanest dishes. 

Here are some simple steps you can follow that will make your dishwasher continue to work efficiently as when you first bought it.

Cleaning Your Dishwasher

  • remove all dishes from your dishwasher.
  • use multi-purpose spray to wipe down the inside edges of the door.
  • spray inside your dishwasher along the base of the door (this is where I find the most gunk build up), and use a paper towel or old toothbrush to remove the gunk.
  • for stubborn gunk, pour over some boiling water and wipe away, no need to scrub too much as it will easily wipe away after it has gone through a cycle.
  • remove any food caught in the cutlery basket/tray.
  • place a jug filled with vinegar (I used 1 and a half cups) on the top rack of your dishwasher.
  • to freshen the smell of your dishwasher, sprinkle a cup of baking soda (or bicarb) into the bottom of it
  • turn your dishwasher on an economy setting, using the hottest temperature and run through a cycle.
  • once the cycle has finished, use a cleaning cloth to ensure that all gunk is removed.
  • Wipe down the outside of your dishwasher and any surrounding cupboards or walls that may have splatters from dirty dishes. The Peppermint Stainless Steel Cleaner is great for this and polishes and protects your stainless steel and chrome-plated surfaces.

it is best not to pour the vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher as many run their drain pump at the start of each cycle to clear residual waste water left over from the previous load, therefore draining away the vinegar you just poured in. 

For another washing machine tip – watch this!

White Magic Eco Cloth – Household Value Pack
Koala Eco Natural Multi Purpose Kitchen Cleaner 500ml
Pink Stuff Cleaning Paste
The Pink Stuff Cleaning Paste 500g


As the weather starts to warm up, we start to open the windows letting in some fresh air and start wiping away the dust that settled over winter.  I’ve put together a list of a few things that may have been neglected the past few months and you can spring clean this weekend. Continue Reading

KAT'S lunchbox recipe cookbook

50 freezer friendly recipes that make for perfect no-fridge, no-heat lunches ideal for school, work, or even picnics!

The easy to follow recipes with full colour photos, and my how-to guide at the beginning of the book, means both experienced bakers and those a little newer to the kitchen, will have all the help they need.

how to clean your dishwasher

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Tracy December 9, 2013 - 6:03 AM

Thank you for this! I’ve never known the best way to clean the dishwasher and I certainly didn’t want to pay asking price for the commerical cleaners to do the job. Looking forward to giving your method a go 🙂

Caroline Telfer December 9, 2013 - 1:18 PM

Ooh yeah! That gunk under the door… Get rid of that!!!

Evette Pagano December 10, 2013 - 12:07 AM

My parents lived out in the country where they had minerals in the water. They would put a cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle with every load. The dishes came out spotless and the dishwasher never had any build up. This works like a charm!

Nic January 12, 2014 - 8:42 AM

is this the same for 2 drawer dishwashers

Georgi June 9, 2015 - 7:50 AM

Yes it is the same for 2 draw dishwashers. U can actually pull them further apart and clean even more parts just remember how you got it apart so u can get it back together.

Louise June 10, 2014 - 7:50 AM

Don’t forget to pull out the filter from the bottom, it gets all covered in gunk, if you don’t clean it regularly, you’re dishes won’t wash properly

Anna June 15, 2014 - 5:08 PM

Is the vinegar in the bowl meant to all spill out during the wash cycle, or just some spill out and more water collect in the bowl?

Danielle Corbett July 24, 2014 - 9:28 AM

run a load of citric acid instead of powder in an empty wash with vinegar as the rinse

Tony July 24, 2014 - 2:29 PM

Don’t forget to remove and clean the filter. Then remove the spray arms and clear any foreign bits that block the spray nozzles.

Karen July 25, 2014 - 10:21 AM

Great tip thanks

alison July 25, 2014 - 3:38 PM

How often do you recommend cleaning your dishwasher?

Katrina August 4, 2014 - 11:41 AM

Hi Alison,Ooh i usually try to clean mine every few weeks.

christy June 9, 2015 - 3:21 PM

Cleaning the filter is the nastiest thing ever. Needs to be done though.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 11, 2015 - 8:43 AM

It is isn’t it Christy, i’m always glad once i’ve done.:)

Val February 7, 2016 - 12:00 PM

Thankyou so much for this dishwasher tip! For years I have done this by hand, dismantling and scrubbing etc (a very messy job) because I have found none of the commercial cleaners have worked.
Finally I used the jug of vinegar on the heavy duty setting and to my amazement, all clean! The filter basket was full of the gunk that collects under the cover of the pump etc and the spray arm was completely clean! and so much cheaper and healthier than the chemicals listed in the commercial dish washer cleaners!

Katrina - The Organised Housewife February 8, 2016 - 7:29 PM

Vinegar is amazing Val, I am so glad that you have seen how well it works 🙂

Leanne Russell July 7, 2016 - 9:15 AM

Hi Kat, I had cleaned my dishwasher a couple of times now using this method. I found at the end that the jug with vinegar is still sitting on the top shelf full. Is it supposed to empty throughout the cycle?

Benchtop dishwasher afterpay July 30, 2019 - 6:01 PM

The dishwasher you are dealing with also requires cleaning very much. It is quite essential that you maintain the dishwasher so that it can work for longer life span. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips. This will surely help a lot of people to understand. Keep up the good work!
Benchtop dishwasher afterpay

Home and Living July 17, 2020 - 8:38 PM

Clean your dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda once a month to keep it working well.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 22, 2020 - 10:05 AM

Isn’t it amazing what these basic home ingredients are capable of?! Kat x

MELISSA KEAN September 15, 2021 - 10:22 AM

Love your Kettle and Toaster, what brand are they?


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