How to Clean Your Dishwasher

First, read your manual to see if it gives specific cleaning instructions. If not, follow the steps below.
  1. Remove the filter and soak it in warm, soapy water until the residue softens.
  2. Scrub with a scrub brush to remove residue.
  3. Reinstall the filter.


The filter is usually located at the base of the dishwasher. Remove the bottom rack if possible for easier access.


Look for something that unscrews. This particular one comes apart like this:


Removing the bolts/screws will allow the white filter to be removed. Keep track of all parts and the order they go on and off.


Holes in the spinner spray arms sometimes get clogged with debris. Use a toothpick to loosen it and pick it out the best you can.


Clean the sides of the door with an all-purpose cleaner or warm, soapy water.


Once a month, use a dishwasher cleaner, like Affresh, and use as directed on the label, or add 1/2 cup borax or 1/2 cup CLR to the empty dishwasher. Run the heavy duty/pots and pans cycle.  If you have really hard water, you can run a cycle first with borax and then a second one with CLR.


Appliance Surfaces
  • Stainless Steel Appliances – Stainless steel cleaners work better than anything else at cleaning stainless steel to a streak-free shine. Spray the cleaner on a microfiber cloth and wipe the surface using long, straight movements in the direction of the grain (the faint lines on the surface). Wipe again in the same fashion with a clean microfiber cloth to remove any residual cleaner. Use different colored cloths or label them “on” and “off” to keep them separate. Cerama Bryte Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish is a good choice.
  • White, Black, etc. Appliances and Plastic Appliances – Use an all-purpose cleaner or warm, soapy water and a soft cloth. Use a toothbrush to get all the tight spaces like around handles.


Frequency of filter cleaning varies by model. After doing it the first time, do it again a month later. If it isn’t bad, try again after two months. Figure out the frequency that is necessary for your situation and enjoy your machine running at peak efficiency!


By Laura Armbrust and Heather DeVoll