How To Clean a Dishwasher Quickly in 6 Easy Steps

written by: Florie Malapit

Published: October 5, 2022
Updated: June 28, 2023

reading time:  minutes


How To Clean a Dishwasher Quickly in 6 Easy Steps

Dishwashers are an essential part of any kitchen. They remove the need to handwash dishes, saving hours every week. However, despite being so valuable, they can be one of the dirtiest appliances in your home if you or a house cleaning service do not clean and wipe them down regularly. This article will tell you how to clean a dishwasher in 6 easy steps easily.

Cleaning your dishwasher is dirty, but someone has to do it. If you have a dishwasher, you only give it a little attention once something goes wrong.

It's time to break up with that attitude and start showing your dishwasher the love and attention it deserves by giving it a spot in your cleaning schedule. That glorious machine that cleans dishes does need to be cleaned itself.

In this article, you'll learn some simple steps on how to clean a dishwasher quickly and efficiently so it will work at maximum efficiency again in no time.

Following these easy steps will leave you with cleaner dishes and a nicer-smelling kitchen.

How to clean a dishwasher

What You'll Need

To clean your dishwasher, you will need the following cleaning products.

  • Warm water
  • Baking soda
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Dish Soap, dishwasher detergent, or dishwasher cleaner
  • Soft dry cloth
  • Damp cloth or rag
  • Paper Towels
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Plastic scraper
  • Sponge
  • Rubber gloves
  • Owner's manual


1. Empty the dishwasher

remove the racks of the dishwasher
remove the dishwasher racks

It would be best if you had an empty dishwasher before you could clean it. After completing the last full cycle, remove everything from the appliance, including the dishwasher racks, filters, and utensil holders.

Take them out and submerge them in 1 cup of warm water and white distilled vinegar. Give them at least 30 minutes to soak.

2. Scrub the interior of the dishwasher

Open the dishwasher and use a plastic scraper to remove food particles from the dishwasher. Take a sponge dipped in hot soapy water with vinegar to clean the inside of your appliance.

Be sure to scrub all the interior parts so you can make sure no water mineral buildup and greasy grime are stuck there that shouldn't be.

3. Wipe down the edges, base, and top

Scrub the inside of the dishwasher

Next, wipe down the edges, base, and top, and remember the dishwasher door and exterior of the dishwasher. Use a suitable soap or detergent and a microfiber cloth or rag to wipe down your dishwasher's interior and exterior parts.

If the exterior of the dishwasher door is made of plastic or painted metal, use mild dish soap and a microfiber cloth or sponge to remove any splatters on the face and handle.

If you want to get thorough about it and have time, use a dry cloth to wipe off any remaining soapy water and residue. If you're in a hurry, use one soft cloth to clean both sides and call it good.

4. Use baking soda to clean your dishwasher

Use baking soda to clean a dishwasher

In addition to vinegar, baking soda can clean your dishwasher, erode grimy buildup, and remove lingering odours.

Mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of white vinegar in a bowl, then pour into the bottom of your empty dishwasher with all cycles turned off. Let it sit for a few minutes and run a normal hot-water cycle.

It will help clean out hard water deposits and grease built over time on the internal parts of your dishwasher.

5. Clean the dishwasher drain with hot water and vinegar

Clean the dishwasher drain with vinegar

After you clean your dishwasher, it’s a good idea to check the drain. The dishwasher drain is often clogged with food particles and other debris that can cause problems with drainage and potentially harm your dishwasher.

Clean your dishwasher drain every month to help prevent this from happening. It will wash away grease and grime and remove musty odours, too.

To clean the drain, pour hot water down it while the machine runs on a regular cycle without dirty dishes inside. Wait several minutes for everything to soak in place before turning off your machine and unplugging it completely.

Next, use a sponge or cloth dipped in white vinegar to remove any excess mineral buildup and detergent residue in your pipes until they are clear again.

6. Clean the dishwasher filter

Clean the dishwasher filter

Next, you'll want to deep clean the dishwasher filter. You must take the dishwasher filter out of its housing to clean it.

You can accomplish this by removing any screws or clips, keeping your dishwasher in place and opening it up. If you have difficulty getting at it, you can remove it by following the owner's manual.

After removing the filter, soak it for at least 15 minutes in a container of warm water with dishwasher soap or detergent. Don't use harsh chemicals because these will degrade the rubber gasket and affect its performance over time.

After soaking the filter in a water solution, scrub the edges to eliminate any grime accumulation and water minerals. You can use a soft-bristle brush for cleaning filters or something with no sharp edges poking in there, as that could do severe damage.

After that, rinse it with hot running water. Then, place the clean filter back in place.

Keep your dishwasher sparkling clean!

Keep Your Dishwasher Sparkling Clean!

Congratulations! You now know how to clean a dishwasher quickly in six easy steps. If you keep your dishwasher clean, you will see many health and environmental benefits.

If you've been cleaning your dishwasher, today is the day you start. And if today isn't work for you, don't worry. You can always come back tomorrow.

We hope this guide has helped you learn how to clean a dishwasher quickly and easily. If you want more tips and tricks on cleaning your kitchen, check out our comprehensive kitchen cleaning guide to help you out.


How often should you clean a dishwasher?

If you want your dishwasher to last a long time and keep cleaning your dishes, you need to ensure that you're cleaning it regularly. If you use your dishwasher regularly, cleaning it once a month is a good idea or as soon as you notice debris and soap scum in the appliance. If not, then once every three months will suffice for most people.

How often you deep clean your dishwasher's interior and exterior depends on how dirty it gets. More frequent cleaning will be necessary if food particles or other debris are stuck in the bottom or around the tub's edges. If there's no residue and everything looks clean, however, once every few months may be enough.

Do dishwashers need to be cleaned?

Dishwashers are a handy appliance in any kitchen and can save you a lot of time by doing the dirty work for you. The only condition is that they require some upkeep and maintenance to maintain good working order. If you want your dishwasher to continue working well, you must be aware of what needs to be done regularly.

Can you clean your dishwasher with bleach?

The short answer is, "Yes!" But there are some essential points to consider before you get started.

First, you must ensure that your dishwasher is made of plastic, not stainless steel. Bleach is not recommended, especially if the dishwasher has a stainless steel interior, because it will damage stainless steel and other metals, so if you're unsure about the material it's made from, don't use bleach.

Once you've confirmed that your dishwasher is plastic, the next step is to check the manufacturer's instructions to see if they recommend using bleach.If they don't say anything about it being okay, proceed with caution. But don't worry too much because most dishwashers can handle a little bleach.


Deep Cleaning, Dishwasher, DIY, How to, kitchen

About the author 

Florie Malapit

Contributing Writer at Sparkle and Shine Today. She is a freelance content writer with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, major in Marketing Management, and more than two years of blog and content writing experience.