How To Clean a Dishwasher With a Lemon

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Updated byPenny
How To Clean a Dishwasher With a Lemon

You might think that your dishwasher stays clean even with daily use, but over time it can accumulate layers of grease, grime, and food debris. This can clog the dishwasher’s components, reduce its effectiveness, and even cause foul odors.

But did you know that you don’t need expensive or harsh cleaning products to keep your dishwasher looking and smelling fresh?

You can actually use a simple and natural ingredient - lemon!

In this post, I’ll show you how to clean your dishwasher with a lemon, and why it’s such a great alternative to store-bought cleaners.

So, let’s get started and give your dishwasher the love and attention it deserves!

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Can you really use lemon to clean a dishwasher?

If you’re looking for a natural and effective way to clean your dishwasher, then the answer is yes - you can definitely use lemon!

Lemons are a great cleaning agent, thanks to their citric acid content, which can help break down grease, remove stains, and combat hard water buildup.

Not only is lemon a great alternative to commercial dishwasher cleaners, but it’s also much cheaper and more environmentally friendly. Plus, it’s safe to use on all types of dishwashers, including stainless steel, as long as you follow the right precautions.

Can lemon juice damage a dishwasher?

There have been concerns that lemon juice can potentially degrade the rubber components of your dishwasher, which is why it’s important to use it with caution.

Limit the use of lemon in your dishwasher to once a month to avoid any potential damage to your appliance.

How to clean your dishwasher with a lemon

lemon wedges

Now that you know that using lemon to clean your dishwasher is a great idea, you may be wondering how to actually use it.

The good news is that it’s super easy and only takes a few simple steps!

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use lemon to clean your dishwasher:

  1. Cut a lemon into quarters. Remove the seeds as they could clog up your dishwasher filter.
  2. Remove any large pieces of food or debris from the dishwasher.
  3. Place the lemon quarters in the utensil holder or directly on the top rack of the dishwasher.
  4. Run a hot water cycle on your dishwasher.
  5. Once the cycle is finished, remove the lemon quarters and wipe down the dishwasher door and walls with a paper towel.

That’s it! The citric acid in the lemon will help break down any buildup, while the hot water will help flush out any remaining residue. Plus, your dishwasher will smell super fresh and clean!

Of course, if you prefer, you can also use lemon juice instead of fresh lemon quarters.

Simply add a few drops to your dishwasher detergent or place a small bowl of lemon juice on the top rack of the dishwasher before running a cycle.

However, keep in mind that lemon juice may be more acidic than fresh lemon quarters, so be sure to dilute it with water to avoid any damage to your dishwasher.

Now that you know where to put lemon in your dishwasher, let’s talk about some other natural alternatives to commercial dishwasher cleaners.

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What else can you use instead of dishwasher cleaner?

baking soda

If you’re looking for more natural alternatives to commercial dishwasher cleaners, there are plenty of options available that are just as effective (if not more so) than store-bought products.

Here are a few to consider:

  • Distilled white vinegar: White vinegar is a great cleaning agent that can help remove stains, grease, and hard water buildup from your dishwasher. Simply add a cup of white vinegar to the top rack of your dishwasher and run a hot water cycle.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda is another versatile cleaning agent that can be used to clean your dishwasher. Sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher and run a hot water cycle to help remove odors and buildup.
  • Citric acid: Using citric acid to clean your dishwasher is a great natural alternative to commercial dishwasher cleaners. Citric acid, which is found in lemons and other citrus fruits, can help remove hard water buildup, stains, and odors from your dishwasher. Simply add two tablespoons of citric acid powder to your dishwasher detergent dispenser and run a hot water cycle.
  • Lemon Kool-Aid. Using lemon Kool-Aid to clean your dishwasher is a popular hack that many people swear by. The citric acid in the Kool-Aid can help break down hard water deposits and remove stains, leaving your dishwasher sparkling clean. Simply empty a packet of lemon Kool-Aid into your dishwasher detergent dispenser and run a hot water cycle.
  • Orange Tang. Using Tang to clean your dishwasher is another popular hack that has been around for years. The acidic content in Tang, a powdered drink mix, can help break down hard water buildup and stains, leaving your dishwasher looking and smelling fresh. Simply add a scoop of Tang to your dishwasher detergent dispenser and run a hot water cycle.

The best part about these natural alternatives is that they’re safe, inexpensive, and better for the environment than many commercial cleaners. Plus, they won’t leave any harsh chemical residues on your dishes or in your dishwasher.

Now that you know some natural alternatives to dishwasher cleaner, let’s move on to a common question about using lemon to clean dishwashers.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use lemon to clean my dishwasher every day?

Although lemon is an effective natural cleaning agent, using it frequently to clean your dishwasher may cause damage, as it may corrode or deteriorate the rubber parts, causing them to crack or leak.

We recommend using lemon to clean your dishwasher no more than once a month, to avoid any potential damage to your appliance.

If you need to clean your dishwasher more often, you can consider using other natural cleaning agents such as distilled white vinegar or baking soda to maintain the cleanliness of your appliance.

Can you use lemon in a stainless-steel dishwasher?

Yes, it’s safe to use lemon to clean a stainless-steel dishwasher.

Can I use lemon juice instead of fresh lemon to clean my dishwasher?

Yes, you can use lemon juice instead of fresh lemon to clean your dishwasher. Just be sure to dilute the lemon juice with water to avoid any potential damage to your dishwasher.

Will using lemon to clean my dishwasher leave a lemon scent on my dishes?

No, using lemon to clean your dishwasher should not leave a lemon scent on your dishes. The lemon is used to clean the inside of the dishwasher, not the dishes themselves.

Can I use lemon to clean other kitchen appliances?

Yes, you can use lemon to clean other kitchen appliances, such as your microwave, or kettle.

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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Looking for a natural and effective way to clean your dishwasher? Learn how to use lemon, vinegar, and baking soda to keep your dishwasher sparkling clean.