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How to Take Care of Your Dishwasher

by Bill Welles

Most people might not think about cleaning their dishwasher given that it’s one appliance that is always cleaning. While it’s easy to assume that your dishwasher will clean itself while it washes your dishes, leftover food and debris can build up throughout each cycle. This buildup of food and other deposits can result in a poor performing dishwasher, leaving you with cookware and plates that look both dingy and unsanitary.

The best way to keep your dishwasher running smoothly is by regular cleaning and maintenance. This ensures spotless dishes every time and will keep your appliance performing at it’s best. Follow along to learn how to keep your dishwasher in pristine condition.

Regular Cleaning

If you want to keep your dishwasher free from excess buildup, then you need to run regular cleaning cycles. Using your dishwasher frequently will prevent debris from settling at the bottom of your appliance and can reduce the number of times you give your washer a deep cleaning. It might not keep every nook and cranny clean, but a simple rinse cycle helps flush out all the bacteria you don’t want in your dishwasher.

Empty Your Dishwasher

Loading the dishwasher might be a chore, but the only thing worse is having to empty the dishes once the cycle is complete. To keep your dishwasher clean, it’s important to remove all the dishes from the appliance after the full cycle is complete. This prevents any mildew smell from accumulating inside the machine and makes sure no dirty or wet dishes remain in the washer. Keeping an empty dishwasher also allows easy access to the entire appliance so you can provide the necessary maintenance.

Arm Check

One of the most important steps in cleaning your dishwasher is inspecting and cleaning the spinning wash arms inside the dishwasher. Dishwashers clean your dirty plates by spraying water out of their spinning arms onto the dishes inside the machine. If those arms aren’t spinning correctly or they begin to clog, your dishes won’t be properly cleaned. Clean out any debris that might be stuck inside and check that the arms are spinning correctly. You can see if anything has accumulated inside the device with a small piece of wire, a toothpick, or anything else small and sharp enough to make its way through.

Wipe the Exterior

It’s easy to assume a foul-smelling odor is coming from the inside of the dishwasher, but those offending smells are more likely to come from the exterior of the appliance. The outer areas and edges around the door do not get washed during a regular cycle and can end up with weeks of fingerprints, spills, and pieces of food debris.

A quick spray of household cleaner and a damp washrag should be enough to remove any smudges, clean the buttons, handle and exterior door. It’s also a good idea to wipe the inside of the door, the utensil basket, the gasket, and the detergent dispenser for good measure.

Unclog the Drain

The drain at the bottom of the dishwasher is one of the most common places where food and debris can end up. Leaving any obstacles near the drain will create a clog over time. If your drain is jammed up, it will run less efficiently and have a much harder time cleaning—and no one wants less-than-sparkly clean dishes.

Simply clean the area around the drain by hand and disassemble the drain if too much debris is already backed up. You can take off the cover, remove any pieces left behind and clean out the deposits with a brush or cloth. This will ensure all the dirty water is adequately exiting the appliance so that your dishes are properly cleaned.

Keep it Shiny

Removing water deposits is another important step in cleaning your dishwasher to keep everything sparkly clean. Using a mild acid in a brief wash cycle is a great way to remove any excess grime. Take your choice of white vinegar, lemon juice, and even some of your favorite childhood drinks like lemon-flavored Kool-Aid and Tang are acidic enough to get rid of any buildup in the appliance. Powders should be placed in the detergent dispenser and liquids can be left in a bowl in the rack.

One last cleaning solution you can add to the wash cycle is a splash of bleach if you’re trying to remove a mold or mildew problem. It can provide the finishing touch for spotless and fully sanitized dishes every time.

At Spencer’s TV & Appliance we understand that each and every home chef needs the proper appliances to handle the smallest and largest messes in the kitchen. Let us know what dishwasher will best fit your cooking and cleaning needs and our expert staff will help teach you how to take proper care of your appliance. Visit us today.