If you want to have a clean dishwasher, every now and again, your dishwasher needs a little love. After all the food bits, grease, and dishwasher soap scum will build up in there over time. Cleaning your dishwasher removes that build up, and helps keep it running well.
The good news is that it is SUPER EASY to clean your dishwasher. All you need is about a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar, along with a dishwasher safe container.
Start with a completely empty dishwasher. No soap, no dishes.
Make sure the drain is clear. Mine usually is but every now and again there are some bigger pieces that need removed.
Sprinkle about a cup of baking soda over the bottom of the dishwasher. Ideally let this sit for awhile to deodorize- if I happened to unload the dishwasher before bed I might do this overnight, but usually just for an hour or two in the morning.
Put about a cup of distilled white vinegar in a dishwasher safe cup or bowl on the top shelf.
Set your dishwasher to run on the hottest cycle and run it.
That’s it! I told you it was super easy. I do the above steps about once a month. If I’m feeling particularly ambitious, then I might even wipe the seal down with vinegar and get the finger prints off the front with an all purpose spray.
A few caveats about cleaning your dishwasher
First, if your dishwasher is extra dirty, you may need to run the cycles separately. If so, run vinegar first on the hottest cycle, then run a second cycle with the baking soda. How do you know if yours is "extra" dirty? If cleaning the drain takes you a bit or you see some plugging on the spin bars, go ahead and run separate cleaning cycles. If the spin bars look pretty bad, then you can remove them and clean with a little dish soap by hand as a pre-wash step before doing the vinegar cycle.
The other caveat is that some sites will tell you to do a bleach cycle after vinegar and baking soda. I have never done this, and never plan to do it because I have a stainless steel dishwasher (which bleach can damage). Even if you don't have an overall stainless dishwasher, some components may be and frankly it isn't necessary to get a clean dishwasher.