If you’re not cleaning your dishwasher, you need to check out these 6 cleaning tips

The main function of a dishwasher is to clean your dishes. So you don’t need to actually clean the machine itself, right? Wrong. If you don’t clean your dishwasher every once in awhile, all of the food particles from your dishes will eventually build up in there and leave you with a disgusting germ factory. And no one wants that.
Fortunately, cleaning your dishwasher isn’t actually that difficult. For the most part, you can clean it by choosing a cleaning method and then letting the machine run for a cycle. Of course, the method you choose depends on how dirty your dishwasher is. So check out this list and figure out which cleaning method works best for you.
1. Vinegar & baking soda (h/t One Good Thing)
Fill a dishwasher-safe cup with vinegar and place it in the top rack of your dishwasher. Run a wash cycle on the hottest water setting. When that’s finished, remove the vinegar and sprinkle a handful of baking soda over the bottom of the dishwasher and run a short cycle on the hottest setting.

ONE GOOD THING
2. Filter cleaning (h/t The Family Handyman)
One of the frequently forgotten items when cleaning your dishwasher is the filter. If you’re able to remove it, all you have to do is scrub it with some hot water and dish soap. But if it can’t be removed, you’ll need a wet/dry vacuum to suck out all of the gunk that’s built up in the filter over time.

THE FAMILY HANDYMAN
3. Soft water (h/t The Kitchn)
Hard water will not only leave spots on your dishes, it’s also not great if you want the various elements of your dishwasher to work for a long period of time. Make sure you have your water tested often and take measures to soften it when needed.

THE KITCHN
4. Bleach (h/t Bob Vila)
If you’ve noticed some mold in your dishwasher, then bleach is your best option to get rid of it. Unless you have stainless steel inside the machine, in which case you’ll just have to use excessive amounts of vinegar. When cleaning with bleach, though, put 1 cup of bleach in a dishwasher-safe bowl and place it in the bottom of your dishwasher. Run a full cycle and then enjoy your newly mold-free dishwasher.

BOB VILA
5. Toothpicks (h/t Apartment Therapy)
Even if you’ve used bleach or vinegar to clean your dishwasher, you still need to get into some of the harder-to-reach spots. For instance, the small holes on the spinning arms tend to get clogged with food particles. The best way to clean out these holes is with a toothpick. It’s small enough to get into the hole and blunt enough that it won’t scratch the finish on the arms.

APARTMENT THERAPY
6. Rust remover (h/t WikiHow)
If you notice rust in your dishwasher, then you’ll have to get a store-bought rust remover to take care of it. After you’ve scrubbed away the rust, keep an eye on the area. If the rust returns quickly, check with a professional to determine if the problem is in your pipes.

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