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How to Clean and Maintain Your Dishwasher

how to clean dishwasher drain

Dishwashers are used daily to clean dishes, but many people neglect to clean their appliances regularly. Cleaning is a form of maintenance that can protect a dishwasher from many problems. Buildup of material can cause it to run less efficiently. Your dishwasher will run more smoothly if you recognize when it needs a thorough cleaning and follow the tips below.

Signs Your Dishwasher Needs Cleaning

As effective as they are at cleaning dishes, dishwashers aren’t capable of self-cleaning. It’s important to clean your kitchen appliance if you notice:

  • Food particles are still stuck to dishes after the wash cycle.
  • Glasses no longer shine after they’re washed.
  • You notice odors coming from inside the appliance.
  • The dishwasher interior looks dirty, stained, or dull.
  • Food debris, scraps, soap scum, oil, grime, and other residue have built up over time. These can clog up the drainage system.

When it’s time to clean your dishwasher, here are some of the appropriate steps to take:

Clean the Spray Arms

The spray arms, or spinning arms, spray water on dishes throughout the cleaning process. If they get dirty, the arms and their nozzles may develop blockages in the holes where water sprays from. The arms may also not spin properly. You can unclog the holes with a toothpick or pipe cleaner. The spray arm can be pulled out and then rinsed with hot water.

Clean Dishwasher Drain and Filter

The dishwasher drain at the bottom of the unit can easily collect food debris. First, unplug the dishwasher; then you can safely access the tray around the drain. Remove it in accordance with the steps outlined in the owner’s manual. Removing debris reduces the strain on the dishwasher pump.

Debris collected by the filter can cause a clog. Remove the bottom rack and wipe it down with a paper towel every week. Contained in a cylinder, the filter is at the bottom. Unscrew the cylinder and rinse the filter under running hot water. If any grime has built up, it can be removed with a soft toothbrush. A clean filter allows the dishwasher to operate more effectively and can eliminate odors.

Clean Dishwasher Edges, Exterior, and Interior

A dishwasher can get dirty and smelly on the outside from food spills and debris. Unfortunately, the door doesn’t get washed during a cleaning cycle, but it is easily cleaned with a damp cloth and regular household cleaner. Wash off all the buttons and controls and the entire exterior surface as well. Clean the gasket, detergent dispenser, and the silverware basket and racks with soap and water; if the racks have rusted, replace them.

Run Vinegar Through a Dishwasher Cycle

Deposits and buildup can be stubborn, but vinegar helps remove water deposits, soap scum, and different materials that have accumulated. Add a cup of white vinegar, which is non-toxic, to a dishwasher-safe bowl/container in the center of the top rack. Run a complete cycle, set to hot. This will remove buildup and stains, while the vinegar’s anti-bacterial properties will sanitize your appliance. Add some baking soda to the bottom of the dishwasher for an even more effective cleaning process.

Contact Cardinal Plumbing

Cleaning is an effective way to maintain your dishwasher. If you notice any issues with the appliance, Cardinal Plumbing can send an expert to troubleshoot and repair it. We are serving our customers in Northern Virginia, including Alexandra, Sterling, and Gainesville, during the coronavirus pandemic. Our technicians are providing no contact service and adhering to all guidelines for social distancing and sanitizer usage. When you need a professional plumber, Cardinal Plumbing can help with all your plumbing, heating, and air conditioning needs and is equipped to deal with all types of dishwasher and kitchen appliance problems. Call 703-721-8888 for same-day service.

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