We love our dishwashers, don’t we?
I love being able to throw the dishes in, slam the door, hit a couple buttons and walk away.
And happiness is when all the dirty dishes fit in the dishwasher. Yay!
After a while though, our favorite appliance can begin to let us down. Dishes aren’t getting as clean as they used to, glasses are spotted and it can begin to smell.
So what are we to do? The thought of a new dishwasher sounds delightful, but don’t throw out your old friend quite yet.
To keep your kitchen buddy working at his best, he does need some TLC. Yes, that’s right – you need to do a bit of regular maintenance.
Now before you start to say, “Ugh! I’d rather just buy a new one!” the maintenance really isn’t that hard – if you do it on a regular basis.
The first thing to do is dig out the owner’s manual. The manual will tell you what parts you can take apart to clean.
Here’s a tip. Buy a big binder and large pocket sleeve protectors, then put all your household appliance manuals in there and file it on a bookshelf. This makes the manuals easy to find and take up less space. Plus, if you ever go to sell your house, leave that book out on the counter and the new potential buyers will love you for it and may look at your house more eagerly.
All those food particles and debris gets trapped in the filters built into the dishwasher and they need to be cleaned out every so often. But don’t worry it’s not hard.
Most dishwashers are very similar in the bottom. Remove the bottom rack, and proceed to one-by-one remove the sprayer arm, strainer and filters per your manual. I have like 5 pieces that remove for cleaning in mine.
Tip: Place them in order from left to right how you took them out. This way you will remember which order they go when you go to put them back in. They only fit one way, kind of like a puzzle.
Take a toothbrush and some gentle cleaner. I like to use Basic-H² and scrub all the pieces thoroughly and rinse. Then spray with a good disinfectant all over the pieces and down in the sprayer arm holes. I like to use Basic-G as a good disinfectant. Do NOT use bleach or any other harsh cleanser.
If the sprayer arms have clogged holes, use a pipe cleaner or small straw brush to gently clean the holes. Do NOT use a toothpick because the tip could break off inside the arm, clogging the holes and later molding inside.
You will notice when you pull out the pieces at the bottom to clean there is still a puddle of water there and wonder why it doesn’t drain all the way. I wondered the same thing.
I learned it’s because you don’t want the pump or the seals to be dry. If the seals become brittle, you will end up with messy leaks and pumps are expensive to replace.
If you notice when you start your dishwasher, it will drain the water that’s in it first before filling with new water. So it doesn’t use that old water that had been sitting there in the wash cycle.
Tip: Run water at the faucet to hot before starting the dishwasher. This will shorten the time it takes for the dishwasher to heat the water, saving time and electricity.
I will clean this underwater area too, so as to prevent molding and to inspect. You can take an old towel to soak up the water and then use a rag to wipe out.
You will also want to gently clean the seal where the bottom of the door meets the bottom of the tub. No water gets here unless the seal is bad, but the moisture can make it start to mold there. Mold is something you do not want to get ahead of you, so attack it before it starts with a good disinfectant.
Clean up any stains and rust areas. Inspect your racks for breakage and tips missing so your dishes do not get damaged.
Inspect your seals for cracks and leakage. Get them fixed right away or you will be fixing your nice floor after a major water leak springs.
If you haven’t cleaned your dishwasher’s parts in a while you are in for a real treat. It can be nasty, so carve out some time. After that if you keep up with the cleaning, it will only take a few minutes and won’t be so yucky. I try and clean mine about once a month.
Like anything else, if you keep up with it it’s not so much work, but if you let the cleaning part get away from you then you will be spending more time cleaning it and doing the dishes more often since they aren’t getting as clean as they used to.
So there you go. An easy way to make your dishwasher act like new again without spending money. Think about all your dishwasher does for you and repay it with a little love and a little cleaning now and then. Just like any relationship – it needs some attention.
Dishwashing detergent can be very toxic and deadly to children and animals. Please protect the ones you love by using a safe, natural alternative.
I love Shaklee’s Automatic Dishwashing Powder. It works as well as the toxic brands, but is much safer and cheaper to use because you actually use less of it due to it being so concentrated. It is also great for cleaning other stubborn messes.
Click here to find all of Shaklee’s Healthy Home products: ToBeHealthy.MyShaklee.com/HealthyHome