How To Clean A Dishwasher With Vinegar

If your home is like many homes across the globe, you likely have a hardworking kitchen appliance in your dishwasher. Running day in and day out, this machine works tirelessly to keep dishes sparkling clean…and out of the kitchen sink.

How To Clean A Dishwasher With VinegarView in gallery

But are you aware that the dishwasher itself, while it does a fine job cleaning dishes, often needs to be cleaned as well? The sauce remnants that were stuck on last night’s pasta dishes doesn’t just magically disappear when running through the dishwasher.


How to Clean a DishwasherView in gallery

I realized we had a problem when, after removing the silverware tray from the inside door of our old dishwasher immediately after a load of dishes, I came face to face with this yellow residue. Ugh. NOT okay. Here is a totally simple and effective regimen for cleaning the inside of your dishwasher…naturally.

Materials to clean a DishwasherView in gallery

Cleaning solutions and materials you’ll need for inside dishwasher cleaning:

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar + dishwasher-safe bowl
  • 1/2 cup baking soda + dishwasher safe bowl
  • Cleaning toothbrush
  • Bamboo skewer or toothpick (optional)
  • Paper towels

How to clean the dishwasher:

Remove the lower dish rack from dishwasherView in gallery

Begin with an empty dishwasher. Remove the lower dish rack so you can access the spinner and cleaning mechanisms on the dishwasher’s interior floor. Use a bamboo skewer or toothpick to remove any materials in the drain slats (mine produced two paper labels, a few hairs, and about a teaspoon’s worth of grey gunk).

DIY Dishwasher Cleaner -Wipe around the dishwasherView in gallery

Wipe around the dishwasher door’s hinge area. Remove any other removable parts on the dishwasher floor.

DIY Dishwasher Cleaner - pieceView in gallery

To be honest, I don’t know what this particular piece even does…but it certainly would do it better if it wasn’t covered in all that grey residue.

DIY Dishwasher Cleaner - cleaning toothbrushView in gallery

Use a cleaning toothbrush (or small brush of any sort) to clean those hard-to-reach small surfaces. Make sure you deposit all retrieved grime into the trash can, NOT back into your to-be-cleaned dishwasher.

DIY Dishwasher Cleaner - bottom spinnerView in gallery

Carefully unscrew and remove the bottom spinner.


DIY Dishwasher Cleaner - check all spinner holesView in gallery

Check all spinner holes and clear them with your toothpick or skewer if necessary.

DIY Dishwasher Cleaner - place silverware trayView in gallery

Place your silverware tray in a spot that’s different than normal. Then place 1 cup of distilled white vinegar in a glass bowl somewhere on the lower rack of your dishwasher.

DIY Dishwasher Cleaner - baking soda bowlView in gallery

Place 1/2 cup baking soda in a bowl on the top rack of your dishwasher.

DIY Dishwasher Cleaner - normal cycleView in gallery

Close your dishwasher door, and run a normal cycle. Vinegar’s antibacterial properties will clean the dishwasher’s interior while breaking up any hard buildup. Baking soda is a super-cleaning agent that, when combined with vinegar, will further facilitate hard water buildup reduction.

DIY Dishwasher Cleaner - wait 20 minutesView in gallery

Once your dishwasher’s cycle has finished, wait for about 20 more minutes before you open the dishwasher door. This gives the locked-in steam a little more time to clean before opening up.

DIY Dishwasher Cleaner FinishView in gallery

Open up your dishwasher, wipe up any excess with a paper towel or sponge, and enjoy the sparkle! What an easy way to clean your dishwasher…and, in turn, your dishes. And you did it all without chemicals. Bravo. I would recommend doing this every month or so to keep your dishwasher’s cleaning capacity at the top of its game.