How To Clean Your Dishwasher Racks: Easy Solutions and Maintenance Tips

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byPenny
How To Clean Your Dishwasher Racks: Easy Solutions and Maintenance Tips

Hey there, busy people! Let’s face it. With our hectic schedules, cleaning our dishwasher racks might not be at the top of our to-do lists.

But did you know that keeping your dishwasher racks clean is crucial for your dishwasher’s longevity and your dishes’ cleanliness?

In this article, I’m going to share with you the best way to clean your dishwasher racks effectively.

With a little bit of know-how, you can have clean and sparkling racks in no time.

So, let’s dive in!

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How to clean grime and grease off dishwasher racks

For cleaning greasy and grimy dishwasher racks, I recommend washing soda crystals.

Washing soda crystals are a highly effective cleaning agent that can melt off grease and grime from dishwasher racks.

When you soak your dishwasher racks in a mixture of hot water and washing soda crystals, the alkaline properties of the crystals help to break down and dissolve tough grease and grime stains.

Dri-Pak Soda Crystals (1kg / 2.2 lb bag)
Dri-Pak Soda Crystals (1kg / 2.2 lb bag)

The crystals work by neutralizing the acid in the grime and loosening its grip on the racks.

As a result, the grease and grime become easier to scrub off, leaving your dishwasher racks clean and sparkling.

If you don’t have washing soda crystals to hand, the second best option would be a good quality dish soap.

Here’s a simple procedure to follow:

  1. Remove the racks from the dishwasher. The first step is to remove the racks from the dishwasher and inspect them for any damage.
  2. Soak the racks. Fill a large sink or bath with hot water and add a generous amount of washing soda crystals. Then, soak the racks in the solution for about 15-30 minutes.
  3. Scrub the racks. After soaking, you will find most of the dirt simply melts off. For anything more stubborn, use a soft-bristled brush or sponge to scrub the racks thoroughly.
  4. Rinse and dry the racks. Rinse the racks with water and then put them back in the dishwasher.

If you don’t have a big enough sink or bath to soak the racks in, make up a spray bottle of washing soda crystals and water and then spray the racks. Leave it to work, and then rinse off.

When you have the racks clean, the next thing to check is the rails that they sit on.

How to clean the rails and wheels of the dishwashing racks

dishwasher rack rails

The rails and wheels of your dishwashing rack are essential components that enable the rack to glide smoothly in and out of the dishwasher.

Over time, these parts can accumulate grime and food particles, making it difficult for the rack to slide properly.

To keep your dishwasher running smoothly, it’s essential to clean these parts regularly.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the dishwasher racks. Start by removing the racks from the dishwasher.

  2. Clean the rails. Use a soft-bristled brush or a toothbrush to scrub the rails gently. You can use a mild dishwashing detergent and warm water to create a cleaning solution. Pay attention to any areas with stubborn grime or buildup.

  3. Clean the wheels. Use a toothbrush or a cloth to clean the wheels thoroughly. Make sure to remove any food particles or grime that may be stuck in the wheels.

Depending on the type of dishwasher you have, the wheels may be on the racks themselves rather than the rails.

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Tips on maintaining clean dishwasher racks

dishwasher rack in the dishwasher

Cleaning your dishwasher racks regularly is crucial for keeping your dishwasher functioning optimally and your dishes clean.

Here are some tips on maintaining clean dishwasher racks:

  • Regular cleaning. Clean your dishwasher racks regularly to prevent grime and buildup from accumulating. You can use a mild dishwashing detergent and warm water to clean them. Another thing you can do is to regularly run a dishwasher cleaning cycle.
  • Use the right dishwasher detergent. Use a high-quality dishwasher detergent that’s designed to dissolve food particles and grease effectively.
  • Check the dishwasher arms and holes. Periodically check the dishwasher spray arms and holes for any clogs or blockages that can prevent water from reaching your dishes and cleaning them effectively.
  • Avoid overloading the dishwasher. Overloading your dishwasher can cause food particles and grease to accumulate on the racks, making them dirty and greasy. So, it’s best to avoid overloading and to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on loading.
  • Use lemon or baking soda. If your dishwasher racks have any lingering odors, you can use lemon or baking soda to remove them. Simply place a lemon slice or sprinkle some baking soda on the racks and run them through a wash cycle.

Frequently asked questions

Can you use vinegar to clean the top or bottom rack of a dishwasher?

You can use vinegar to clean both the top and bottom racks of your dishwasher.

The acidic properties of vinegar help to break down and dissolve hard water buildup, grease, and grime that can accumulate on your dishwasher racks.

Make up a solution of equal parts water and vinegar and use it to spray and clean your dishwasher racks.

How often should I clean my dishwasher racks?

It’s recommended to clean your dishwasher racks every month or every few months, depending on how often you use your dishwasher and how dirty your dishes are.

Can I clean dishwasher racks in the dishwasher itself?

Yes you can, but if you want a deeper clean, take them out and soak them in washing soda crystals or dish soap.

Can I use steel wool or abrasive cleaners to clean dishwasher racks?

No, it’s best to avoid using steel wool or abrasive cleaners on dishwasher racks, as they can cause scratches or damage the racks.

How can I prevent hard water buildup on my dishwasher racks?

To prevent hard water buildup on your dishwasher racks, you can use a water softener or install a water filtration system in your home.

Another thing you can do is to make sure you have enough dishwasher salt in your machine.

Here’s more on how to clean a dishwasher with hard water buildup.

Can I use bleach to clean my dishwasher racks?

It’s best to avoid using bleach on dishwasher racks, as it can cause discoloration or damage the racks.

Instead, use a gentler cleaning solution such as distilled white vinegar or baking soda.

Sparkling Penny

Penny | Sparkling Penny

Penny’s expert cleaning advice has been featured repeatedly by Homes and Gardens Magazine, and also at wikiHow, The Daily Express Newspaper, and Glam Magazine to name a few! SparklingPenny.com was founded in 2019 and has since helped millions of people achieve a cleaner living space.


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Keep your dishwasher racks clean and functioning effectively with these step-by-step solutions and maintenance tips. Learn how to remove grime, grease, and buildup easily.