No one wants a clean-ish washer

How to Clean a Dishwasher

How Does a Dishwasher Work?

How you clean dishwashers and the way dishwashers work can vary based on the make and model of the appliance. However, most dishwashers work similarly. Dishwashers have a wash cycle that starts by the dishwasher filling with water. The water is then heated, and the detergent, whether powder, liquid or pod, gets dispensed.

Then, water shoots through jets and mixes with the detergent to clean the dishes. The dirty water drains, the dishes get rinsed with clean water and the rinse water drains.

During the final stage, warm air circulates inside the dishwasher to dry the clean dishes. Because dishwashers are made to clean dishes, many people forget to take time to clean the dishwasher.


How Do You Clean the Inside of a Dishwasher?

Step 1:

Before starting to clean with products, consult your user’s guide for manufacturer-recommended cleaning tips.

Step 2:

Next, remove any food or other debris caught in the dishwasher filter and drain to prevent clogging and improve drainage. Then, you can begin cleaning with your chosen products according to package instructions.

How Do You Clean a Dishwasher Filter?

Consult your manufacturer’s guide to find out how to remove your dishwasher’s filter. That way you can be sure you’re doing it properly.

To clean a dishwasher:

Step 1:

Remove the filter and rinse it under clean running water to remove the debris.

Step 2:

Once the filter is clean, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to replace it.

Why Is the Dishwasher Not Cleaning My Dishes?

If your dishwasher is not cleaning your dishes properly, first check your manufacturer’s guide to ensure you’re loading it correctly and using the right detergent, water temperature and settings.

Also, carefully scrape and rinse all dishes before they go into the dishwasher in order to remove as many food particles as possible.

If your dishwasher still isn’t cleaning your dishes after trying these tips, consult your user’s guide for information to help you troubleshoot. If you have a serious or persistent issue, you may need to contact a professional plumber.


Why Is the Dishwasher Not Draining?

If your dishwasher isn’t draining, there could be a clog in the kitchen drain due to food or grease buildup. Check your kitchen drain for a blockage, then use Liquid-Plumr® Clog Destroyer Plus+ Pipeguard™ to clear the clog.

If your dishwasher isn’t draining because of an issue unrelated to your kitchen sink, consult your user’s manual for tips.

But, if you have serious or persistent issues with your dishwasher, it’s best to seek the help of a professional plumber. For more information, check out this article about when to leave plumbing problems to the pros.

How Do You Clean a Smelly Dishwasher?

If you have a smelly dishwasher, you may not be rinsing your dishes properly before loading them. Food particles can collect in your dishwasher’s filter and crevices. Over time, this can lead to unpleasant odor.

One way to prevent debris from collecting is to thoroughly scrape and rinse plates, silverware, bowls, and other items before they go into the dishwasher.

Depending on the mess, you probably won’t need to scrub the plates with soap, but scrape food off and rinse dishes clean before loading your dishwasher. Failure to do this means large food particles can get caught in the grates (your dishwasher’s drainage system). This can result in clogs that prevent draining or result in a smelly dishwasher.

If there’s food caught in the drain system of your dishwasher, remove it. Then, use a clean sponge to wipe the area clean.

If you have a garbage disposal that smells, you can use Liquid-Plumr® Disposal & Drain Cleaner. It’ll help freshen the same plumbing the dishwasher uses and leave a fresh, citrus scent. For more information, check out How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal.

How Do You Maintain a Dishwasher?

We all expect our appliances to work properly, so it’s important to maintain them — according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Each dishwasher has different maintenance needs, so be sure you’re caring for yours properly. However, we can offer some general tips like scraping and rinsing dishes before loading the dishwasher and removing any food caught in the drain system.

Check out our tips on how to maintain the drains in your home.

For information on how you can use Liquid-Plumr® products, visit our FAQs page.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO: pre-rinse your dishes.
  • DO: wash dishes with warm or hot water.
  • DO: inspect your dishwasher and drain occasionally for buildup of food particles.
  • DON'T: overload your dishwasher.
  • DON'T: use too much dishwashing detergent. (Follow instructions from dishwasher manufacturer on detergent packaging.)
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