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How to Naturally Clean a Smelly Dishwasher

How to Naturally Clean a Smelly Dishwasher

Published on March 27th, 2019


We’re all guilty of it. You finish dinner, give the plates a light rinse and just chuck them in the dishwasher, letting the appliance do the heavy lifting.

This method can make your dishwasher really dirty, and in combination with soap scum and grease, makes your machine a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. If you’re a repeat offender (hubby, I'm looking at you), it can also affect the performance of your dishwasher!

We’ve got four easy steps you can follow to make your dishwasher look – and smell – like new.

How Do You Clean a Dishwasher?

1 Get the bottom rack out and make sure that any bigger food items or gunk aren’t stuck in the drain.

2 Fill a container with a cup of white vinegar and place it on the top rack of an empty dishwasher. Run a hot cycle. We recommend stopping it mid-cycle for 15 minutes or so to let the vinegar soak and do its job of breaking down residue and detergent build-up.

3 Dishwasher still pongy after the cycle? Sprinkle some Bi-Carb Soda on the base and run another cycle.

4 Give the inside and outside of the dishwasher a wipe down with a microfiber cloth and an equal parts vinegar and water mix in a spray bottle.

What can I do to keep my dishwasher clean?

No-brainer, we know, but scrape big particles of food off your crockery before putting it into the dishwasher. Keep an eye on the kids too. My niece hid her plate of mashed potatoes and half eaten chicken nuggets in the back of the dishwasher after dinner for weeks and my sister couldn’t work out why the machine was running so poorly!

Try to leave the door open when you can. This will help to air out the machine and prevent bacteria build-up, particularly during warmer weather.

Use high-quality dishwashing tablets/detergents. They’re a touch more expensive but worth it as they won’t leave residue behind, which can build up over time.

Give the dishwasher seals a wipe down once a week or so. You’ll be surprised how much grime hides in there.

Clean the filter and dispenser once a month or so to ensure your dishwasher is running efficiently.

Here’s a tip I know I already follow – use your dishwasher regularly so that any residue or deposits are easily flushed out.

Why Does Vinegar Work?

Vinegar’s anti-bacterial properties will work wonders on your dishwasher and also flush out the pipes during the rinse cycle. It will also target nasty odours and best of all, is a non-toxic – and cheap – option! Adding Bi-Carb Soda to the second cycle, if you need it, packs a powerful punch with its odour busting qualities.

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