How to Clean a Smelly Dishwasher and Keep it Running Flawlessly

Last Updated on April 29, 2020

These are some of the best tips that will help you keep your dishwasher smelling fresh and running smoothly for years. If you’ve been asking yourself, “why does my dishwasher smell so bad or why did it stop cleaning your dishes correctly,” then this is the right article for you.

When a dishwasher smells terrible, whether it smells like mold or like rotten fish, it’s a sign that the machine is desperate for some proper care and maintenance efforts. If you want your dishwasher to stay strong and clean, as well as keep it functioning smoothly for years to come, you should certainly follow these nine pro tips on how to clean your dishwasher and keep it running like brand new.

9. Use white vinegar

White vinegar can do wonders when it comes to cleaning many things around your house, including the dishwasher. It’s the best dishwasher cleaner you can get your hands on. What’s impressive is that you let your dishwasher clean itself by running an empty load to get rid of any mold or food accumulations.

Moreover, you only need to clean it once a month. Here’s how: Pour one cup of white vinegar into the bottom of your empty dishwasher and run an intense cycle on Sanitize or Hot-water mode. During the wash cycle, the vinegar will help remove the bad smell and clean the internal parts, which might contain mold or food buildups that are causing the nasty odor.

In case your nose can still detect a bad smell once the dishwasher finishes the cycle, then run another one, but this time, add two cups of white vinegar in addition to some detergent to the soap tray. And make sure to take a look at the dishwasher’s bottom to see if there are any particles stuck there.

8. Never skip the dishwasher door

To keep your dishwasher in tip-top shape, you should also clean the dishwasher door seals regularly. Door seals that are made of rubber can easily collect germs, bacteria, or food particles, and if left uncleaned for a long time, the rubber will start to smell bad. That’s why you should make sure to give it a good scrub regularly. And don’t forget to clean the detergent soap door as well.

7. Always (Always!) scrape your dishes first

Never skip scraping your plates before loading them into the dishwasher. This doesn’t mean that you need to wash the dishes, but to only remove any visible chunks of food to avoid clogging your dishwasher.

Keep in mind that the few minutes you’ll spend scraping the dishes will help keep your machine running flawlessly, meaning it’ll live longer, and you’ll be less likely to deal with costly dishwasher repair.

6. Start by running the kitchen faucet with hot water

Before you start the cleaning cycle, you should turn on the hot water and run the kitchen faucet for a couple of minutes. By heating the water on your kitchen sink, the dishwasher won’t need to heat the first washing water. This will help the machine save energy and clean dishes perfectly, especially that hot water is more effective than warm water.

5. Use the optimal temperature

To make sure your dishes always come out sparkling, you should set your water heater to 120-125 °F, which is the optimal temperature range that will make your dishes as clean as you want them to be.

It’s important that you stick to that range of water temperature and don’t assume that hotter means more cleanliness. If water gets hotter than 125 °F, it would turn into steam before getting the chance to clean the dishes efficiently.

4. Pick the right cycle for each load of dishes

Not all loads of dishes are the same, so you should never treat them the same way! For instance, dishes that are used for baking require more hot water and extra time to get cleaned, compared to plates and glasses.

So it’s only wise to choose the right cycle for each type of load and use the settings available on your machine accordingly.

3. Use this money-saving rinse aid

Many detergents come with rinse aid. If you have one of these, then you’re all set and won’t need this homemade rinse aid. However, if you don’t or are looking for a cheaper alternative, then look no further than the powerful, multi-function white vinegar, which provides an extra sanitizing wash cycle by cleaning the inside of the dishwasher. This will help your machine stay efficient and last longer. All you need to do is fill the rinse aid dispenser with enough white vinegar.

2. Remember that your dishes need space

Your dishes need space to be cleaned perfectly! While you may think it’s more practical to jam all your dirty dishes into one wash load, it’s not! It’s best to leave enough space between dishes so they can be adequately washed and come out sparkling.

When the dishes are crammed and pushed against one another, the water and detergent won’t be able to get in between and clean each item properly, leaving more dishes dirty once the cycle is over. This means you’ll have to hand-wash them or run another cycle, which is irritating, yet, you can easily avoid it.

1. Clean the dishwasher trap more often

Try to locate the water sprayer underneath the dishwasher, and you’ll find a removable trap. Carefully take the trap out and clean it thoroughly by placing it under running water.

Chances are you’ll find bits of food or something that may have dropped into the dishwasher trap, and that’s why you should clean it now and then. However, if you cannot take the trap out, then grab a paper towel and use it to eliminate the dirt accumulations that may be stuck in there.

Please share this article with people who might be interested and feel free to leave a comment if you want to tell us about your dishwasher tips or problems.


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