I would not be without my dishwasher!
It saves time, energy, and effort, and keeps our dishes sparkling clean.
But, just like any other appliance, it requires regular cleaning and maintenance to function at its best.
Vinegar is the most recommended cleaning to use. But, if you don't have any, or just can't stand the smell, there are other options.
So, in this post, I'll share some effective and natural solutions to keep your dishwasher clean, odor-free, and running smoothly, without using vinegar.
Let's get started!
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Why clean your dishwasher?
Cleaning your dishwasher is essential for keeping it running smoothly and efficiently.
Here are four reasons to keep your dishwasher clean:
1. Improved cleaning performance
Over time, mineral buildup, food particles, and grease can clog your dishwasher's spray arm, nozzles, and filters, preventing water from reaching all areas of the dishwasher.
This can result in poor cleaning performance, leaving residue on your dishes and glasses.
Regular cleaning can help ensure your dishwasher is working correctly and cleaning your dishes effectively.
2. Prolonged lifespan
Cleaning your dishwasher can also extend its lifespan.
If you don't clean your dishwasher regularly, mineral buildup and other residues can accumulate and cause rust, corrosion, and damage to the dishwasher's interior and components.
This can lead to costly repairs or even the need to replace the appliance entirely.
Regular cleaning can help prevent this and prolong your dishwasher's life.
3. Odor prevention
One of the most common issues with dishwashers is unpleasant odors.
These odors can be caused by food particles, grease, and other residues that remain in the dishwasher.
Regular cleaning can help prevent these odors and keep your dishwasher smelling fresh and clean.
4. Improved hygiene
A clean dishwasher is more hygienic and reduces the risk of bacteria and mold growth.
This is especially important if you're washing dishes that have come into contact with raw meat or other bacteria-prone foods.
5 Natural alternatives to vinegar for cleaning your dishwasher
If you prefer to avoid using vinegar or are looking for a natural alternative, here are some effective solutions to clean your dishwasher:
Citric acid is a powerful and natural cleaning agent that can be used to clean your dishwasher.
The citric acid will help to break down any build-up, stains, and hard water deposits, leaving your dishwasher sparkling clean.
- Empty the dishwasher.
- Add some citric acid powder to the detergent cup.
- Then run a hot wash.
- Once the cycle is complete, wipe down the inside with a clean cloth.
Here's more on how to clean your dishwasher with citric acid .
Cleaning a dishwasher with lemon Kool-Aid is a quick and easy way to remove stains and odors from your machine.
The citric acid in the Kool-Aid helps to break down any built-up grime and also neutralizes any unpleasant odors.
- Start by emptying your dishwasher of all dishes and removing any large food particles or debris from the bottom of the dishwasher.
- Fill your dishwasher detergent dispenser with one packet of lemon Kool-Aid powder and run the machine on the hottest cycle possible.
- Once the cycle is complete, wipe down the inside of the dishwasher with a clean cloth and enjoy a fresh, clean dishwasher!
Here's more on how to clean your dishwasher with lemon Kool-Aid.
Orange Tang is another great option for cleaning your dishwasher.
The citric acid in the Orange Tang powder will help to break down any build-up and stains, leaving your dishwasher looking and smelling fresh.
- Remove all dishes and food debris from your dishwasher.
- Measure out 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Orange Tang powder and pour into the detergent dispenser of your dishwasher.
- Make sure to select the hottest cycle and let the dishwasher run.
- Once the cycle is complete, wipe down the interior of the dishwasher with a clean cloth, paying special attention to any areas with remaining stains or debris.
- Finally, run a rinse cycle to ensure that all the Orange Tang powder has been fully washed away. Enjoy your clean dishwasher!
Here's more on how to clean your dishwasher with Orange Tang powder.
cleaning your dishwasher with lemon juice is a natural and effective way to remove stains and odors.
The acidity of the lemon juice helps to break down any grime and also neutralizes any unpleasant odors.
- Remove all dishes from your dishwasher and clear out any debris or food particles.
- Place some lemon quarters (seeds removed) in the utensil holder or directly on the top rack of the dishwasher.
- Run the dishwasher on the hottest cycle, allowing the lemon to work its magic.
- Once the cycle is complete, wipe down the inside of the dishwasher with a clean cloth and run a rinse cycle to ensure that all the lemon juice has been washed away. Your dishwasher should now look and smell fresh and clean!
Using baking soda is a simple and effective way to clean your dishwasher.
Baking soda is a natural cleaner and deodorizer.
Here's how to clean your dishwasher with baking soda:
- First, remove any dishes and food debris from the dishwasher.
- Then, sprinkle about one cup of baking soda over the bottom of the dishwasher.
- Run a hot water cycle, which will help dissolve the baking soda and distribute it throughout the machine.
- Once the cycle is complete, wipe down the interior of the dishwasher with a clean cloth.
If there are still stubborn stains or areas that need extra attention, create a paste by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water and apply it to the affected areas with a sponge. A
Allow the paste to sit for a few minutes before wiping it away with a clean cloth.
Your dishwasher will be left looking and smelling fresh and clean.
How to clean a dishwasher without vinegar
Now you have selected your cleaner of choice, here is how to use it to clean your dishwasher without vinegar:
Step 1 - Prepare your dishwasher for cleaning
Start by emptying the dishwasher completely, removing all dishes and racks inside.
Step 2 - Remove and clean the dishwasher filter
Soak the dishwasher filter in hot water and washing soda crystals or dish soap for about 15 minutes.
Use a brush or toothbrush to scrub the filter thoroughly.
Rinse the filter under hot water and let it air dry.
Here's more on how to clean your dishwasher filter.
Step 3 - Clean the spray arm
Remove the top and bottom spray arms from the dishwasher and soak it in hot water and dish soap for about 15 minutes.
Use a brush or toothbrush to scrub the spray arm thoroughly, paying attention to the nozzles. You may need a toothpick to clear out the small holes so that water can run through freely.
Rinse the spray arm under hot water and let it air dry.
Here's more on how to clean your dishwasher spray arm.
Step 4 - Run a hot cycle
Now run a hot cycle using your chosen cleaning solution, such as citric acid or baking soda.
Step 5 - Wipe
Take a clean microfiber cloth and wipe around the inside and the front of the machine.
Maintenance tips to keep your dishwasher clean and odor-free
Regular cleaning can help keep your dishwasher functioning at its best, but there are also some maintenance tips you can follow to keep it clean and odor-free in between cleanings.
Here are some tips:
Regularly wipe down the dishwasher door and interior
After each use, wipe down the interior and exterior of your dishwasher with a damp cloth to remove any food particles, grease, and residue.
Run an empty cycle with hot water and baking soda
Once a month, run an empty cycle with hot water and one cup of baking soda to help remove any mineral buildup, grease, and residue.
Check and clean the dishwasher filter and spray arms
Check the dishwasher filter and spray arms regularly for any debris. Remove and rinse under hot water if necessary. For a deep clean soak in some washing soda crystals.
Use a dishwasher cleaner solution at least once a month
Use a dishwasher cleaner solution at least once a month to keep your dishwasher clean and odor-free. You can use one of the natural solutions I shared earlier or a commercial dishwasher such Affresh.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I run the dishwasher empty to clean it?
Always remove dishes. The racks, filter and spray arms should remain in place.
What household products can I use to clean my dishwasher?
You can use natural cleaning agents such as lemon juice, citric acid, baking soda, and dish soap to clean your dishwasher. These alternatives are effective in removing mineral buildup, grease, and residue.
What is the black stuff in my dishwasher?
The black stuff in your dishwasher may be mold or mildew caused by moisture buildup.
You can clean it using a natural cleaning solution, such as baking soda or a commercial dishwasher cleaner.
If you have a dishwasher with a plastic interior, you can use bleach.