Why your Dishwasher Smells and How to Clean it.

how to clean your dishwasher

It’s amazing how dependant we become on our dishwasher. It's the unsung hero of the kitchen appliances world. As its only function is to clean, it would makes sense that it surly doesn't need to be cleaned, right?


Every time you use your dishwasher a small amount of waste build up is inevitable. It’s very easily missed unless you go looking for it, but inside your dishwasher there will be all sorts of leftover food, soap scum and grease. This will result in a dishwasher that smells like a drain rather than a cleaning machine. Not only will it begin to smell bad, but it will also affect its overall cleaning performance.

To help make sure your dishwasher is working to its full potential, we have compiled 4 methods to make sure that your dishwasher isn't dirtier than the dishes you put in it.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

You may not be aware of the incredible cleaning qualities that both of these two ingredients have. Not only do you more than likely have both in your kitchen already, but they’re vastly cheaper than purchasing branded cleaning products. The combination of the acid in the vinegar for breaking down any leftovers and the smell absorbing abilities of the baking soda, make these two an unstoppable cleaning force.

Melissa who is the author of Clean My Space has made a great tutorial for how to effectively use this products to get the cleanest dishwasher possible. Her method is quick and simple, start by soaking your filters in soapy water for about 10 minutes. Once you have replace it, put a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher and put it on a cleaning cycle. When this is done place another cup of baking soda into the bottom and leave it overnight.  In the morning all you need to do it run it on a normal cycle and your dishwasher will be as good as new!

How to clean your dishwasher with Borax.

Many people think that borax and baking soda are the same thing. They are not, borax is sodium borate, whereas backing soda is sodium bicarbonate. It’s a good bit of pub quiz knowledge! The method is fairly straight forward and require a little more elbow grease than the previous. – You’ll have to manually scrub.

Raw borax [Credit: Wikimedia Commons user "Aramgutang"]

20 Mule Team Laundry recommend using the following method. Get a damn sponge and generously apply the borax to it.Then you will want to scrub every surface inside the dishwasher. Making sure you get the door and the surrounding edges.  Rinse the areas you’ve cleaned with a damp cloth to remove any leftover borax.

As an extra cleaning boost sprinkle ¼ of a cup onto the bottom of your dishwasher for the next time you are running a load of dishes.  Add a healthy amount of your usual dishwashing detergent and run on a full cycle. The borax will not only give the dishwasher an extra clean, it will make your glassware come out sparkling.

Using Bleach to clean your dishwasher.

Another bit of pub quiz knowledge for you, bleach is a sodium-based cleaner made from sodium hypochlorite. It’s recommended to clean your dishwasher with bleach if the previous methods haven’t worked. However, bleach is harmful to stainless steel, if the inside of your dishwasher is stainless then we advise you do not use this method.

clean your dishwasher with bleech

Bleach is best for getting rid of mold/mildew. The most recommended method is to fill a cup with bleach and then place it on to the top rack of your dishwasher. Then you want to run your dishwasher on the hottest setting with nothing else in it. After this is done your mold problem will have vanished.

Making baking soda bombs

Even though we have already covered baking soda we wanted to finish on a bang…sorry. While the baking soda and vinegar method is a very simple and fast way to achieve a fantastically fresh dishwasher, making small baking soda bombs is just way more fun.

Baking soda bombs [Credit: SavvySugar.com]

This method comes from a blogger over at POPSUGAR. Get yourself a mixing bowl and combine two cups of baking soda, 20 drops of essential oil and three tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. Mix all these together till you have left with what feels like wet sand. Then you want to get an ice cream scoop to shape your exploding cleaning bombs! Leave these to set over night.

Before you place them in make sure that you have cleaned out your filters and removed any leftover food. Once your baking soda bombs have hardened, place them into the bottom rack of your dishwasher. For an extra deep clean, get a container large enough to hold two cups of vinegar and a tablespoon of dishwasher detergent, and place it on the top rack. Run your dishwasher on its cleaning cycle and get ready to be amazed.

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