Yes, even your dishwasher needs cleaning from time to time. Learn how vinegar in the dishwasher can help keep your appliance in tip-top shape.
woman loading her dishwasher
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Dishwashers are a massive timesaver in the kitchen. Instead of you spending your time scrubbing away at food stains, dishwashers do the heavy lifting to keep your plates, glasses and utensils sparkling clean. But while you probably clean your dishes on a daily basis, how often do you clean your dishwasher? Yes, that's right, the appliance that cleans your dishes needs cleaning too from time to time.

After numerous cycles, grease, soap scum and food debris will slowly start to build up, clogging your dishwasher and preventing it from running properly. Additionally, if you live in an area with hard water, it can cause stains inside your dishwasher. That's why it's important to clean your appliance on a monthly basis (or more often, if you use it frequently), and that's where vinegar comes in.

How to Clean a Dishwasher with Vinegar

  1. Clean the dishwasher drain to remove any bits of food.
  2. Place 1 cup of white vinegar in a bowl or dishwasher-safe container on the top rack of an empty dishwasher. 
  3. Run a hot-water cycle and let the dishwasher air-dry.

The vinegar cuts through any buildup and leaves your dishwasher sparkling. Plus, the vinegar eliminates any musty odors while also removing any mold or mildew. It's important to note that the vinegar needs to be on the top rack of the dishwasher, and not poured in the area where detergent typically goes. Vinegar's acidity will slowly erode parts of the dishwasher, like the gaskets or lining, if it's run through the same area as the detergent.

If, after you've run the vinegar cycle, your dishwasher still isn't as clean as you want it, you can take it a step further with baking soda.

How to Clean a Dishwasher with Baking Soda

  1. Sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda across the bottom of an empty dishwasher.
  2. Run a hot-water cycle and let the dishwasher air-dry.

Baking soda cleans the interior of the machine and removes any stains. Do not use vinegar and baking soda in the same cycle. The two substances will begin to foam and leave you with a big mess. Instead, a vinegar cycle should run first, followed by a baking soda cycle.

It's easy to clean your dishwasher with vinegar, and it's a simple process that ensures your appliance runs smoothly. For more, check out the eight kitchen items that should never go in your dishwasher.