It may seem almost like an oxymoron– cleaning a dishwasher? But in all honesty, it’s a necessary evil if you want the dishwasher to run properly and efficiently. On a higher note, the whole process is relatively quick and simple!
To begin with, check the holes on the spinning arm to make sure that they are not clogged with debris. One area that is usually not penetrated by water is at the gasket where the door and the dishwasher meet. Also, make sure that the finish is not flaking off of the racks of your dishwasher. The will result in rust that may eventually stain the dishwasher. A dishwasher needs to be level to perform at its optimum efficiency. To ensure that your dishwasher is not tilted, open the door and place an air-bubble level on the door. If the dishwasher is off-balance, adjust the dishwasher’s “feet,” or use a wedge on the appropriate side.
To remove hard water stains or deposits, run one cycle with a cup full of white vinegar placed on the top rack (the dishwasher should be empty except for the cup of vinegar.) Don’t use these cleaners on a regular basis, as the acid can begin to erode the rubber and pipes of your dishwasher over time. You can also choose to run a cycle on an empty dishwasher, but open the door when the bottom has filled up with hot water. Add two cups of vinegar, and leave the door propped open for about 30 minutes. You can then sponge down the sides of the dishwasher, and then close the door and let it finish the wash cycle. Don’t have any white vinegar on hand? Use one packet of Kool Aid lemonade mix in the detergent cup! (The citric acid in the mix will also remove deposits and stains.)
The most important place to check is the drain grate at the bottom of your dishwasher. If you do clean this, however, be sure to unplug your dishwasher. Then unscrew the grate from the drain and clean it, according to the manufacuturer’s specifications.