Dishwasher – Cleaning and Maintenance

If you don’t have much time to sit around reading elaborate articles on how to clean your dishwasher, take a look at the image given below before you run back to the kitchen to finish cleaning your dishwasher. For those of you with time on your hands, continue reading for effective methods and tips to maintain a healthy dishwasher.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Steps to clean your Dishwasher

For those of you who are still waiting to get further details and instructions about cleaning your dishwasher, here is some happy news. A dishwasher is an appliance that requires very low maintenance efforts as it cleans itself to a certain extent during each wash cycle. So frequent cleaning may not be necessary. However, in order to ensure that the internal parts remain unharmed and functional, it will be  wise to clean your dishwasher once a month.

Following instructions are an elaborate version of the above steps steps

  1. Firstly, empty the dishwasher completely. The steps that follow should be performed only when the dishwasher is empty.
  2. Check all the spinning arms. Make sure all the holes are open so that water can run through them freely.
  3. Clear any debris out of the holes in spinning arms.
  4. Wipe around the edges of the door and around the gasket. Use a damp cloth and if you like, a mild spray cleaner. An old toothbrush or other soft  household brush can help get into corners and up under the gasket.
  5. Clean under the bottom of the door. In some dishwashers, this is a dead spot where water doesn’t go and therefore it can accumulate debris. Wipe this off.
  6. Inspect the bottom of your dishwasher around the drain. This is the area from where soiled water is expelled. It may accumulate solid debris as well, make sure to clean this out.
  7. To remove hard water deposits, run one cycle of your dishwasher empty, with a mild, food acid of your choice. Avoid using bleach and detergents containing bleach if your dishwasher has a stainless steel interior or door.
  8. Spray the front of your dishwasher with a mild spray cleaner of your choice and wipe it with a sponge or soft cloth. Pay particular attention to the controls and the handle. Also, don’t miss the little ledge between panels. It tends to collect dirt.

Most often, regular cleaning alone does not ensure proper maintenance of your dishwasher. This is because there are certain parts within the appliance that are hard to reach and thereby overlooked during the cleaning. If you have doubts regarding how you could maintain your dishwasher properly, the following steps shall shed some light on it

  • Use your dishwasher regularly. To a certain extent, this makes sure that debris and dirt don’t accumulate in the holes.
  • Always clean your dishwasher immediately after you run it.
  • It is best that you use needle nose pliers for cleaning the holes. However, make sure that you don’t leave scratches on the surface.
  • The bottom of your dishwasher needs special inspection as this region is where the waste water goes. Ensure that no debris is obstructing this area.
  • Run one cycle on the dishwasher with nothing but any food acid of your choice inside it. This helps in cleaning out the hard to reach spaces.
  • The rinse aid dispenser is to be refilled at least once a month for best results.
  • Clean your baskets with brushes to remove all the dirt.

Cleaning the internal parts

It is the bottom portion that often requires to be opened out so that it could be properly cleaned. This region usually has a grate or a grill through which dirty water is expelled. If you can remove the solid debris accumulated over here, opening the grate may not be required. However if you see debris lodged deeply into it, you may have to open the grate to give it a proper cleaning. This task does not always require a technician, if you follow the instructions carefully,  you can do it yourself.

  1. Unplug the dishwasher. Do not confuse the plug with the garbage disposal.
  2. Unscrew all screws you see there. Do not drop them anywhere. Try to keep a note of what was unscrewed from where. This shall save you a lot of time figuring out which screw goes where.
  3. Once all screws are removed, the cover lifts off easily leaving the area beneath it exposed.
  4. Remove all the dirt accumulated here. It is advised that you use gloves or a cloth to do this task as there are chances of finding broken cutlery pieces or other sharp solid objects.
  5. You can also brush this area with a cleaning tool.
  6. Replace and re-assemble everything once you have finished cleaning. Do not over tighten the screws.

Refilling the Rinse Aid Dispenser

It is essential to refill the rinse air dispenser as this avoids spots on your dishes. To do this,

  1. Find a suitable rinse aid from a department store.
  2. Unscrew the round knob on the dishwasher door.
  3. Pour in the rinse aid as per the instructions on the dishwashers user manual.
  4. Some people substitute white vinegar in place of rinse aid. Make sure that you check to see if this is safe procedure.
  5. Solid rinse aids are also available in the market. Although the only advantage they have is that they are visible and hence may serve as a reminder to fill that occasionally.

Although regular maintenance will help your appliances last longer, they certainly won’t make them everlasting. Hence we suggest that you consider buying an Appliance Protection Plan to protect yourself from unnecessary expenses that may occur due to appliance breakdowns.