12 Dishwasher Maintenance And Cleaning Tips

This page may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

dishwasher maintenance

There are many home appliances that homeowners cannot do without, and a dishwasher is one of them. That is because this amazing home appliance uses less water to clean a lot of dirty dishes. Furthermore, it also helps save time and energy since less effort is required to get the job done.

Like any other home appliance, a dishwasher should be well maintained so that it can serve you longer. Dishwasher maintenance is easy, and you can do it yourself with the help of this reliable guide.

Dishwasher Maintenance

The first step to maintaining a dishwasher is to make sure that it is in good condition, and you can do this by making sure that this appliance is clean. To do this, you will need the following things:

  • pipe cleaners
  • dishwasher’s safe cup
  • paper towels or sponge
  • A Manual guide.

Step By Step Guide On How To Clean A Dishwasher

dishwasher maintenance tips

1. Follow The Instructions Provided On The Owner’s Manual

If it is your first time to wash the dishwasher, you need a reliable guide to help you understand the basics of cleaning such an appliance. Therefore, look for the owner’s manual that comes with the dishwasher so that you can use it as a guide.

If you do not have an owner’s manual, you can search for one online as long as you know the model and make of your dishwasher.

2. Wash The Exterior

To start, you need to clean the exterior of the dishwasher. Cleaning the outside is easy, and you can do this using a soft piece of clothing or a paper towel. It depends on the outside material of your dishwasher.

For example, if the outside of your dishwasher is stainless steel, you can use a spray glass cleaner or stainless steel wipes. But, if it is made of plastic, then you can use hot water and soap.

3. Wipe The Dishwasher Trap At Least Once Every Week

You should wipe the dishwasher trap at least once every week. To do this, you must remove the lid, which is located below the lower sprayer. Therefore, remove the bottom rack and other parts attached to it and clean them using soapy water.

Also, do not forget to get rid of the food scraps that build on the dishwasher trap. Such dirt can produce a funky smell if it continues to build up.

4. Clean The Spray Arm Every Month

The work of the spray arm is to spray water inside the dishwasher. That is why it is vital that you remove any grime or debris that may prevent the water from coming out.

To clean the spray arm, you must first remove the racks so that you can reach the spray arms. Once you reach the spray arm, check for clogs and clean them as necessary with a toothpick or pipe cleaner.

5. Clean The Seal

The seal plays the role of preventing water leakage. Therefore, you need to make sure that it is clean so that it maintains a tight seal.

To clean the seal, simply open the dishwasher and use a clean piece of cloth to wipe off the entire rubber seal. When cleaning the seal, do not forget to wipe the soap door to eliminate any soap scum.

6. Clean And Unclog The Drain

You should unclog the drain of your dishwasher once a month. This is because many obstacles, such as food debris build-up near the drain, and as a result, they cause the dishwasher to be less efficient when it comes to cleaning dishes.

To clean the drain, start by unplugging the dishwasher and then remove the cover by opening the screws. After that, clean the larger pieces and then use a brush to remove smaller deposits.

7. Remove Buildup Using Acid

Removing buildup and water deposits from your dishwasher can be challenging. That is because such dirt cannot be removed using hot water.

However, by using acids such as lemon juice, tang, white vinegar, and lemonade mix, you can easily wipe out any buildup or water deposits that are found on your dishwasher.

Dishwasher Maintenance Through Proper Usage

To keep your dishwasher in good condition, you must use it the right way so that it can serve you longer. Moreover, you also need to be aware that your dishwasher can fail to function as it should if you do not apply the correct settings.

Below are a few tips on how you can maintain your dishwasher by using it correctly.

1. Use Recommend Setting For The Water Heater

The water heater should be set between 49 and 52 °C. However, there are other brands that allow water heaters to start at lower temperatures. Therefore, you should always check your owner’s manual before running the dishwasher.

The main aim of using proper settings is to get enough pressure for an optimal wash. If the water temperature is too low, it will not be possible to remove tough stains such as grease.

2. Scrape Food Particles Off The Dishes Before You Load Them

Even though you don’t need to rinse the dishes before loading them, scraping off food particles makes it easy for the dishwasher to clean the dishes. Moreover, this will only reduce the chances of your dishwasher getting clogged.

3. Only Load Dishwasher-Safe Items

Some dishes are not dishwasher-safe such as those that are made of plastic and metal. Because of this, you must find out whether the dish you have is dishwasher-safe or not by checking at the bottom.

If there is no clear indication, then you can choose to wash the dish by hand. Loading dishes that are not dishwasher-safe can cause them to melt because of the hot water’s temperature.

4. Avoid Overloading The Dishwasher

If you want all your dishes to be washed properly, then you need to avoid overloading the dishwasher. You can do this by organizing your dishes as you load them in the dishwasher.

For example, you can start by loading plates, large pans, and bowls at the bottom and then fill the rest of the space using cups and silverware. If the dishes are too many to load all at once, you can split them into two smaller loads to achieve a thorough cleaning.

5. Set The Dishwasher To Heavy Cycle To Clean Tough Stains

Many people usually pick a quicker and lighter cycle to wash the dishes in order to save time. But, this setting does not succeed in removing tough stains.

Therefore, if your dishes are extremely dirty, you might want to use a heavy cycle to clean them up. However, you also need to be aware that the heavy cycle uses more water and takes longer to clean dishes.


Dishwasher maintenance might seem like a lot of work and challenging, especially if it is your first time to clean such an appliance.

However, with the help of these tips, you can make sure that your dishwasher stays in good condition and works efficiently. For more cleaning tips, check out our microwave cleaning hacks, how to clean a water cooler, garbage disposal, and our oven cleaning hacks.