How To Clean a Dishwasher

How To Clean A Dishwasher

In the past I have noticed a little dirt and grime present in my dishwasher, so I would clean the dishwasher using the latest Pinterest method (a cup of vinegar on the top rack and baking soda on the floor).  Last week, if you were to open my dishwasher, you would have seen a seemingly clean dishwasher: no standing water on the floor, somewhat white walls, no food particles floating in the utensil basket, no grime or mold visible anywhere.  Oh, how looks can be deceiving!

The boys were unloading the dishwasher the other night and I hear, “Mommmmmmmmmmm come here.  There is black stuff all over the forks.”  Apparently, cleaning the dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda once a year was not good enough. There was a fungus among us.

utensil basket

Well isn’t that just lovely!  The dirty dishes were already piled high in the sink, so I knew what I was going to have to do the next morning, clean the damn dishwasher!  I was going to have to go beyond a glass of vinegar and a cup of baking soda to clean this mess up; I was going to have to take some shit apart.  Unlike Hotness, I am not afraid of DIY household projects. A quick Google search and I found a YouTube video on how to take apart the inside components of a dishwasher, specifically the model of dishwasher I had.  You can find a YouTube video on just about anything.  Let the fun begin.

Clean Dishwasher

As I play handymanwoman, Hotness is sitting on the couch, and the older boys are literally fighting just a couple of feet away from the both of us.  I take my head out of the dishwasher to witness the battle.  I have to hold back from laughing out loud.  The boys fighting technique looks like a cross between awkward karate kicks, and arm moments similar to one trying to swat away a bee.  Hotness hears me chuckle and says, “Babe, I read that Facebook article you posted (boyhood and rough play), so I am not going to interfere.” Kudos to you Hotness for reading an article I posted!  You do love us, as if there was ever a doubt. By the time I am finished wiping, God knows what, from the filter, the boys had worked out their disagreement and were laughing at each other.  


Let me back up a step.  To thoroughly clean the inside of a dishwasher you have to take everything a part: every piece that you can unscrew, unsnap, and remove from the inside of the dishwasher.  Here is what I found when I unsnapped, the many pieces, of the water supply tube (the long tube located on the back of my dishwasher).

upperarm2 upperarm3 upperarm4 upperarm

Hiding behind the water supply tube was this….


Here is what I found when I removed the washer blade and the top to the filter pit…


I have to wonder how many “clean” dishes I put away with this shit lingering in my dishwasher?  How long have we been eating off of dishes washed in this hazard material? My family’s immune system must be top notch!  Note: I closed the door of the dishwasher and held down the cancel/drain button to drain the standing water. 

The grossness continues….


Do not forget about the top rack…


Now my OCD has kicked in and I break out the toothbrush to help clean the tiny grooves…


After hours passed, I successfully cleaned every part inside my dishwasher.  I also…


Oh and lets not forget the dirty utensil basket that started it all…

Untensil basket bottom


My last step was a vinegar and baking soda bath for the dishwasher.  Given the right task these two household ingredients do an amazing job cleaning.  Note: The rubber door seal is an ideal environment for mold and mildew to breed so make sure to scrub this area well. 

clean dishwasher directions

Now that I have a clean dishwasher I plan to keep it clean by:

  1. Giving the dishwasher a vinegar and baking soda bath monthly.
  2. Cleaning the rubber door seal with vinegar weekly, preventing mold and mildew growth.
  3. Leaving the dishwasher door open to keep air flowing and moisture out.
  4. Checking the filter every couple of months.
  5. Rinsing all dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.  Waste of time? Clean out your dishwasher, like I did, and then you tell me if you think pre-rinsing dishes is necessary?!


17 Responses to “How To Clean a Dishwasher”
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