How to Clean Your Dishwasher (Because Yes, You Totally Should)

Aunt Fannie Blog

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When was the last time you cleaned your dishwasher? And be honest—did you even know that you had to? It’s all too easy to forget that the things that clean our things need to be cleaned, too! We figure daily soap or detergent sessions should be enough to keep things sparkling, but all that heavy-duty washing can cause buildup of grease, fill the food trap with debris, leave speckles on your clean glassware, and create some funky aromas. The great news is that cleaning the workhorse of your kitchen isn’t too difficult. Set aside a bit of time this weekend and treat that hardworking machine to a little TLC with our tips, no toxic chemicals required.

  1. Turn to our favorite healthier housekeeping ingredient—vinegar! Deodorize and disinfect your dishwasher while breaking down any grease buildup by placing a full, dishwasher safe cup of white vinegar on the top rack of your dishwasher. Run on a normal cycle with hot water, and reap the reward of a cleaner, fresh-smelling machine. Try this trick once every month to keep the clean vibes flowing. (Speaking of vinegar, did you know you can use white vinegar as a safe alternative to rinse agents? Fill that little spot next to the detergent dispenser door with white vinegar instead of a product like Jet Dry and see the spots on your glasses disappear.)
  2. Notice water pooling on the floor of your dishwasher? The food trap could be clogged. Real talk: it’s very easy to forget this thing exists, but when it’s clogged with bits of food too large to fit down the drain, water can back up—causing mold, soap scum, and other unpleasantries. To clear the drain, follow this handy guide or check your dishwasher owner’s manual if the task seems a bit unclear. (We like to keep an old toothbrush on hand to really clean the filter once it’s removed. Just don’t get it mixed up with the ones in the bathroom!)
  3. Don’t forget the dishwasher seals! To keep your dishwasher airtight and groovin’, take a Cleaning Vinegar Wipe to the rubber gasket around the door and the detergent dispenser door. This removes any mold or grimy residue that could be causing bad smells or leaks.
  4. Gleaming appliances sure make a kitchen look pretty. Wipe down the front of your dishwasher with our Cleaning Vinegar to remove fingerprints, drips, and smudges. This is a fun, kid-height cleaning task to delegate to the ankle biters.
  5. Bonus tip! To help your dishwasher drain well during each cycle, be sure to run your garbage disposal to break up and flush away food particles. The dishwasher and the disposal drain are often connected in our kitchen sink systems—very few houses have a separate drain for the dishwasher itself—so keeping the disposal clear of major blockages helps prevent backup of dirty water.

Here at Aunt Fannie’s, we’re dedicated to dreaming up revolutionary cleaning and pest products that are safe to use around food, because they’re made with ingredients that are derived from food! Each bottle we make was created to reduce the health impact of toxic cleaning chemicals on the microbiomes of our homes and our loved ones. Head over to our online shop to explore all the ways we’re aiming to make healthier housekeeping a simple, sustainable movement.