How To Clean a Dishwasher: 5 Natural Methods

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It’s important to wash your dishwasher regularly. Depending on how often you use it, it should be cleaned a few times a year or every month. While most people use chemical dishwasher detergent to clean their appliances, a great selection of natural methods are available to try—most of which use common household ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

In this guide, we discuss the five best natural methods and then give you instructions on how to whip up a natural cleaning solution followed by the steps to follow to give your dishwasher a thorough clean.

The five best natural products to clean your dishwasher are:

  1. White vinegar
  2. Baking soda
  3. Lemon juice
  4. Castile soap
  5. Borax

Once you’ve chosen which of the five natural cleaning solutions to try, you first need to prepare a spray bottle to hold the solution that you’ll use to clean the inside and outside of the dishwasher. You also need to have an extra bit of the product on hand to run through a wash cycle.

Here’s how to make the cleaning solution for each of the natural methods:

  • White vinegar. Fill a spray bottle ¼  of the way with vinegar and ¾ of the way with hot water.
  • Baking soda. Mix ½ liter of hot water with two tablespoons of baking soda and then pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
  • Lemon juice. Fill a spray bottle with four tablespoons each of lemon juice and hot water.
  • Castile soap. Mix four parts castile soap with one part warm water in a spray bottle.
  • Borax. Dilute ½ cup of borax into 12 ounces of water and then pour the mixture into a spray bottle.

Once you’ve mixed your selected cleaning solution, you can get started cleaning your dishwasher. Make sure your dishwasher is empty before getting started.

Step 1 – Clean the drain and filter

The first step is to remove the bottom dish rack from your dishwasher and place it out of the way. Once removed, find and remove any large food particles and other debris from the bottom of your appliance. You can then remove the base cover (if you have one) and rinse it in your kitchen sink. Once the cover is removed, take the filter out of your dishwasher and rinse it in your kitchen sink. Once clean, place the filter and base cover back into your dishwasher.

Step 2 – Run a wash cycle

The next step is to run a wash cycle. Here’s what to do for each of the five natural methods.

  1. White vinegar – Place a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container on the top rack of your appliance. Turn your dishwasher on to a wash cycle. If you don’t have a wash cycle option, turn the dishwasher on to a heavy-duty cycle at the highest possible temperature.
  2. Baking Soda. Sprinkle ¼  cup of baking soda around the base of your dishwasher. Turn your dishwasher on to a wash cycle. If you don’t have a wash cycle option, turn the dishwasher on to a heavy-duty cycle at the highest possible temperature.
  3. Lemon Juice. Pour one cup of lemon juice into a container and place it on the top rack. Turn your dishwasher on to a wash cycle. If you don’t have a wash cycle option, turn the dishwasher on to a heavy-duty cycle at the highest possible temperature.
  4. Castile Soap. Place some of your castile soap mixture in your detergent drawer. Pour the remaining mixture into the bottom of your dishwasher. Turn your dishwasher on to a wash cycle. If you don’t have a wash cycle option, turn the dishwasher on to a heavy-duty cycle at the highest possible temperature.
  5. Borax. Sprinkle ¼  cup of borax on the bottom of your appliance. Also add a couple of tablespoons to your dishwasher detergent drawer. Turn your dishwasher on to a wash cycle. If you don’t have a wash cycle option, turn the dishwasher on to a heavy-duty cycle at the highest possible temperature.

Step 3 – Clean the exterior of your dishwasher

Once the wash cycle has finished, you can start cleaning the exterior of your machine. Use your spray bottle of cleaning solution to spray and wipe all exterior surfaces, paying special attention to the hard-to-reach places like under the bottom of the door.

Step 4 – Clean the door seals

The next step is to open your dishwasher door and give the door seals (or gaskets) a good cleaning. Use your spray bottle of cleaning solution and a clean cloth to spray and wipe the seals. You can also use an old toothbrush to get right into the seals. If the seals are damaged, they’ll need to be replaced.

Step 5 – Clean the spray arms

The next step is to take the spray arms out of your dishwasher and clean them well using your natural cleaning solution. Make sure no loose debris is inside the spray arms. Once clean, put the spray arms back inside your dishwasher.

Step 6 – Let your dishwasher dry

Once your dishwasher is nice and clean, leave the door open for a couple of hours to let the inside dry completely.

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