Read These Steps to Clean Your Dishwasher and Prolong It’s Life!
Dishwashers are extremely convenient kitchen tools to have around. It takes the chore out of washing your dirty dishes, leaving you more time to do other activities. Still, did you know that you dishwasher gets dirtier even as it’s cleaning your dishes? It seems strange, with it running hot water and soap frequently, but that actually doesn’t clean your dishwasher. Read these steps to take care of bacteria and get your dirty dishwasher clean again.
First, take out the bottom rack so you an examine the drain area for chunks of food that can plug the drain. It’s very important that you keep the drains clear, as clogging can cause damage to the pump and anything hard can also scratch your dishes. You would be surprised at the list of things dishwasher repairmen find in the drains—bones, chipped pieces of glass, crab shells, and even bits of gravel!
Second, fill a cup with white vinegar and set it on the top rack of your dishwasher. Set it to the highest temperature available then run the dishwasher through a cycle. For this process, the only thing that should be in the dishwasher is that one cup. With the cycle running, the vinegar will help clean your dishwasher by removing any loose grime, sanatizing your dishwasher, and helping to remove any musty odors.
Third, after sanitizing with vinegar, fill a cup with baking soda then sprinkle that around the bottom of the dishwasher. Run it through a short but complete cycle on the highest temperature. The baking soda will clean your dishwasher by freshing the smell inside and brighten the insides by removing stains.
Here are some tips for preventing build-up in your dishwasher and prolonging that visit from the mechanic. Making sure you clean your dishwasher regularly will ensure a long life for your appliance.
1. Run your garbage disposal before every dishwashing. Since the dishwasher drains to the same pipe as your sink, make sure you keep the drain clear to prevent clogging.
2. Run the sink until the water gets hot. Running the water before starting the dishwasher will get you cleaner dishes because the cycle will start out hot. If you’re worried about wasting all that water, you could always put a bucket under the faucet and use it to water your plants.
3. Set your water to start at the right temperature. Check the thermostat on your water heater. Water that is cooler than 120F (50C) won’t clean well enough, but water that is any hotter may scald.
4. Don’t pack your dishes too tightly. It’s good to run full loads to conserve energy and water, but if you pack your dishes too tight you may not be getting them adequately clean.
5. Don’t prewash you dishes before putting them in your dishwasher. Consider this for a second, detergent requires grease to do it’s job. If you wash all the grease before cleaning them in the dishwasher, then the detergent will start to foam up during the cycle, which is bad for your dishwasher.
Now that you have gone through all that trouble to clean you dishwasher, have some fun with these tips and tricks the next time you feel like experimenting.
1. Wash hats! Baseball caps usually don’t hold up in the washer, but they do hold their shape fairly well in the dishwasher. Just run your hats through the rinse cycle once, but don’t use soap.
2. Steam salmon! Wrap your salmon well with tin foil and your favorite marinade. Be sure to seal it well. Run a full cycle, drying process included (don’t add soap though, of course). This will steam your salmon perfectly; it will be moist and it won’t leave that fishy smell in your kitchen.
3. Clean vacuum attachments! Make sure to shake all the loose dust and hair into the garbage first so you don’t have to clean your dishwasher out again. Put the attachments in the silverware basket, then run a cycle.
4. Wash your kids toys! Small plastic toys like Hot Wheels or action figures can go into the cutlery closure. You could also put them in a mesh bag or the plastic basket. This can be done for pet toys, too!
5. Wash your potatoes! Instead of having to wash them individually by hand, set them on the top rack and run them through the rinse cycle.
6. Make yourself a warming oven! If you are expecting company and don’t have enough ovens to keep all your hard-cooked dishes warm, try putting some in the dishwasher on the dry cycle (make sure you don’t set it to wash), and you have yourself a makeshift warming oven.
7. Wash gardening tools! Garden and household tools can go into the dishwasher if they have plastic handles. If there’s any chance that they have chemicals on them, make sure to wash them separate from your dishes.
8. Wash your light fixtures! Wash your light fixtures on a very gentle setting. This is much easier than dusting them.
9. Wash thongs, wellies, and crocs! Run a wash cycle with a small amount of baking soda to clean any plastic footwear you have.
10. Wash combs or hairbrushes! Combs and hairbrushes made of plastic material are dishwasher safe, and can go in the cutlery tray to be washed. Don’t use wood or boar-bristle brushes, as that can damage your brush. Protect the drain by removing all the hair from the hairbrushes first.
NOTE: For most of these items, you should wash them separately from your regular dishes.
Be clean and have fun!