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5 Tips for Keeping Your Dishwasher Sparkling and Clean

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Tips for Keeping Your Dishwasher Clean

Have you noticed a musty, rotten smell coming from your dishwasher? Are your dishes coming out streaked, spotted, and grimy? While there is no question that the dishwasher is one of the most convenient appliances you can have in your home, they can quickly lose their appeal if you let food particles and soap scum build-up in the interior.

Proper dishwasher maintenance is the key to keeping your dishes clean and smelling great, but figuring out exactly how to clean the dishwasher can be easier said than done. While it may seem redundant to clean an appliance built for cleaning, following a few simple steps can make sure that your dishwasher stays functioning at its best—without leaving you with a smelly, grimy mess.

Double-Check Your Water Heater Settings

It might not come as a surprise that hot water is essential to your dishwasher, but have you checked how hot the water in your home is? For ideal cleaning and sanitizing in the dishwasher, your hot water heater should be set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This keeps consistent hot water available for your appliance while also keeping an eye towards ensuring that your energy bills don’t skyrocket with a few extra loads of dishes.

Clean-Out the Dishwasher Filter and Interior

When it is time to get down to the task of actually cleaning the dishwasher, you need to start with the filter and the overall interior. While old-style dishwashers used a macerator to get rid of food particles, modern appliances utilize a filter system that can easily get clogged—leading to odor and unclean dishes.

Finding the filter and knowing how to remove it is the first step towards keeping your dishwasher interior clean, and we recommend doing the following when you begin the process:

  • Take a look at the manufacturer manual to properly locate and disassemble the filter.
  • Remove the filter screen and rinse it out under running water.
  • Check your filter screen every one to three months to eliminate grittiness.
  • Clean-out your dishwasher once a week, with deep cleaning every month or two.
  • Say no to hand soap and detergent! Instead, clean your dishwasher with dishwasher detergent to avoid suds and foaming that can damage the machine.

Tackle any Hard Water Deposits—and Take Steps to Prevent Them

If you are finding white streaks inside your dishwasher, hard water is likely the culprit. Limescale and calcium carbonate can show up as white residue inside the machine, and over time, it can build-up to clog the holes in the filter and spray arms. One of the best ways to remove hard water spots is with old-fashioned white vinegar, and considering a water softener system is also a smart move if your household is having a lot of issues with the hardness of the water.

Splurge on High-Quality Dish Detergent

Washing dishes is a daily task and dishwasher detergent can get expensive, but this is one cleaning product that you don’t want to skimp on. Inexpensive dish detergents can gum-up the inside components of your dishwasher. On the other hand, quality all-in-one pods, packets, and detergents release enzymes, rinse aids, and other components to more efficiently clean your dishes and keep the inside of your dishwasher in top condition.

Be Strategic with Dish Loading

If you’ve ever argued with your kids or spouse about the “right” way to load the dishwasher, this one is for you! It turns out that there is a right and wrong way to load-up the dishes inside your machine, and you should do the following to make sure that you are getting the most out of each washing cycle:

  • Check the owner’s manual to be sure you fully understand what the various spaces, slots, and prongs are for.
  • Check that the spray arms spin freely inside the dishwasher after it is fully loaded to ensure thorough cleaning.
  • Use the different settings on the dishwasher to find what works best for your needs. For example, a “Pots and Pans” setting is ideal for heavily soiled dishes.

Whether you entertain guests frequently or have a houseful of kids that eat non-stop, managing dirty dishes is one task that we all have in common. With the right dishwasher, life can be much easier—but only if you make sure that you take care of your machine! Read the owner’s manual for your appliance and make sure to regularly clean, scrub, and inspect your dishwasher to keep it running at its best and to help your dishes remain clean, odor-free, and ready for use.

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