Dishing Up a Clean Dishwasher

We have become so accustomed to appliances that make our everyday chores easier that we sometimes forget they are not invincible. Consider the dutiful dishwasher, for example. Each day we load it with greasy pots, grimy forks and pasta-encrusted plates knowing that each glass, spoon and dish will be transformed into a spotless, like-new condition. So it’s only natural to assume that this cleaning machine also cleans itself, but this is not the case. Here are a few basic dishwasher dos and don’ts.

Before Running the Cycle

Before Running the Cycle

1. Be sure that all plastic dishes are dishwasher safe. This information is usually printed or embossed on the bottom of the dish.
2. Run your garbage disposal with cold water to clear the drain.
3. If your dishwasher doesn’t have a built-in water heater, run hot water at the kitchen sink to bring the water temperature of the dishwasher to its proper level.
4. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no need to pre-rinse dishes. Just scrape any leftover food from the dishes before loading in the dishwasher.
5. Only use dry powder detergent and always measure it – never eyeball it.

Routine Maintenance Tips:

1. Use a damp cloth to wipe down and clean the door gasket.
2. Remove the bottom rack to access the trap and clear any debris, sludge and food particles, which can interfere with proper drainage and even damage your dishwasher.
3. Remove the filters and clean with a soft brush and warm water.
4. Check the small holes in the spinning arms for mineral deposits and other foreign objects. Remove any items using a small pair of needle-nose pliers, paper clip or toothpick.
5. Place a dishwasher safe bowl filled with one cup of white vinegar – or a packet of unsweetened, unflavored lemonade mix – on the top rack of an empty dishwasher. Close the door and run the hot water cycle. This should leave your appliance sparkling clean and remove any unpleasant odors.

By incorporating these simple tips into your regular maintenance routine, you’ll keep your dishwasher in tip-top shape and have squeaky clean dishes!

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