How to Clean Your Dishwasher With Citric Acid: From Grimy To Gleaming

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byPenny
How to Clean Your Dishwasher With Citric Acid: From Grimy To Gleaming

Keeping your kitchen appliances clean is super important for a healthy and hygienic living space.

Specifically, it’s essential to keep your dishwasher clean to ensure it works efficiently and effectively.

Citric acid is a great eco-friendly and effective option to remove mineral deposits, buildup, and lime residue from inside your dishwasher.

In this blog post, I’ll share a step-by-step guide on how to clean your dishwasher with citric acid, and answer some common questions about using citric acid to clean your dishwasher.

So, let’s get started and make your dishwasher sparkle!

Before I go on, if you are itching to get the lowdown now, here it is:

To clean your dishwasher with citric acid, add 1-2 tablespoons to the detergent cup and run a hot cycle.

Watch this video for a short demonstration:

Read on for more details:

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Why use citric acid to clean your dishwasher?

To ensure that your dishwasher operates effectively and hygienically, it’s important to clean and descale it regularly.

Hard water can cause mineral buildup inside your dishwasher. This can affect its efficiency when cleaning.

In addition, your dishwasher comes into contact with food residue and other particles on a daily basis, which can create a breeding ground for bacteria and germs.

Using citric acid to clean your dishwasher is an effective way to descale it, remove mineral deposits and buildup, and disinfect the interior of the appliance, leaving it sparkling clean and free from harmful germs and bacteria.

What is citric acid and how it works

citric acid and lemons

Citric acid is a weak organic acid that occurs naturally in citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, and oranges.

It has a sour taste and is often used in food preparation and preservation, as well as in cleaning products.

Hard water and food residue can create mineral deposits and buildup inside your dishwasher, which can affect its efficiency and lead to unpleasant odors.

Citric acid works to break down these deposits and remove the buildup, leaving your dishwasher sparkling clean.

Here are some benefits of using citric acid to clean your dishwasher:

  • Effective. It’s effective at removing mineral deposits and buildup, which can affect the efficiency of your dishwasher and lead to unpleasant odors.
  • Eco-friendly. It’s an eco-friendly option that doesn’t harm the environment or produce toxic fumes.
  • Affordable. It’s affordable and widely available.
  • Easy to use. It’s easy to use and doesn’t require any special equipment or expertise.

How to clean and descale dishwasher with citric acid

  1. Empty your dishwasher.
  2. Wipe off stuck on food from inside the dishwasher with a damp microfiber cloth.
  3. Remove and unclog the filter in some soapy water. Use a small scrubbing brush or toothbrush to remove food particles. Then put the filter back in the machine.
  4. Measure out approximately 2 tablespoons of citric acid powder, and pour it into the detergent cup of your dishwasher. dishwasher detergent cup
  5. Run your dishwasher on the hottest cycle possible. This will help dissolve and distribute the citric acid powder throughout the appliance.

How much to use?

citric acid and a spoon

Typically, using about 2 tablespoons of citric acid powder should do the trick for a standard-sized dishwasher.

However, factors like the size of your dishwasher, the amount of buildup, and how hard your water is can all affect how much citric acid you need.

If your dishwasher is extra dirty, you might need more citric acid, and if you only have mild buildup or hard water, you might be able to use less.

So, don’t be afraid to experiment to find the right amount for your specific dishwasher.

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Where to put citric acid in a dishwasher

There are two primary options for adding citric acid to your dishwasher:

  1. Detergent Cup. The easiest and most common way to use citric acid to clean your dishwasher is by adding it to the detergent cup. Simply measure out the recommended amount of citric acid powder and pour it into the detergent cup. Then, run the dishwasher on the hottest setting possible to ensure that the citric acid is distributed throughout the appliance.
  2. Bottom of the Dishwasher. Another option is to sprinkle the citric acid powder directly into the bottom of the dishwasher.

Citric acid vs. vinegar

vinegar and citric acid

When it comes to cleaning your dishwasher, both citric acid and vinegar are effective and affordable options.

Here are a few key factors to consider when deciding which one to use:

  1. Strength. Citric acid is more potent than vinegar, which means that it can remove more stubborn buildup and mineral deposits. If your dishwasher is heavily soiled, citric acid may be the better choice.
  2. Fragrance. Citric acid is odorless, while vinegar has a strong, pungent smell. If you prefer a more pleasant fragrance, citric acid is the way to go.
  3. Eco-Friendliness. Both citric acid and vinegar are eco-friendly and non-toxic, making them safe to use in your kitchen.
  4. Availability. Vinegar is widely available and can be found at most grocery stores. Citric acid, on the other hand, may be harder to find and may need to be ordered online.

Check out my complete guide on how to clean your dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda.

Can you use citric acid and baking soda in a dishwasher?

While both citric acid and baking soda can be effective cleaning agents for your dishwasher, they should not be used together.

When citric acid and baking soda are mixed, they react and produce carbon dioxide gas, which can cause the dishwasher to overflow or even damage the appliance.

If you want to use baking soda to clean your dishwasher, it is best to do it separately from when you use citric acid.

You can use baking soda to help deodorize the interior of the dishwasher by sprinkling it on the bottom of the machine before running a hot water cycle.

To clean your dishwasher with citric acid, follow the steps outlined in this guide.

Frequently asked questions

Is citric acid safe to use in a dishwasher?

Yes, citric acid is safe to use in a dishwasher as a cleaner. It is a natural and eco-friendly alternative to harsh chemicals that can damage the appliance.

Can I use citric acid instead of dishwasher detergent?

Citric acid can be used to help clean your dishwasher, but it cannot be used as a substitute for dishwasher detergent.

Citric acid helps to remove hard water stains and buildup, but it does not contain the necessary ingredients to clean dishes effectively.

Will citric acid harm the stainless-steel interior of my dishwasher?

No, citric acid will not harm the stainless-steel interior of your dishwasher.

In fact, it can help remove stains and buildup on the stainless steel.

How often should I use citric acid to clean my dishwasher?

I recommend that you clean your dishwasher with citric acid every 1-3 months, depending on how frequently you use it and the hardness of your water.

Regular cleaning can help prevent mineral buildup and keep your dishwasher functioning properly.

Can I use citric acid to clean other kitchen appliances?

Yes, citric acid can be used to clean other kitchen appliances such as coffee makers and kettles.

It is a versatile cleaner that can help remove hard water stains and mineral buildup.

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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Learn how to effectively clean your dishwasher using citric acid with our step-by-step guide. Say goodbye to mineral deposits, buildup, and odors! Eco-friendly and efficient.