Posted on July 7th, 2020
A dishwasher that works well is a thing of beauty: Your dishes come out sparkling clean and gleaming after each cycle, with minimal effort on your part. Unfortunately, a poorly utilized or maintained dishwasher will not only fail to clean your dishes – it may actually cement grime and food particles onto them. Dirty dishwashers also provide a home for hidden mold and bacteria. Knowing how to take care of your dishwasher properly should therefore be considered an important part of regular kitchen cleaning and maintenance. If you want a cleaning professional in Indianapolis to help you clean and organize your dishwasher, we are here to help. In the guide below, we’ll share five of our favorite ways to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of dishwashers.
Scrape off very dirty dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
Modern dishwashers tend to be fairly powerful, so it’s generally okay to load lightly soiled dishes directly into them. If a dish is very dirty, however, you should scrape or wipe it down prior to placing it in the dishwasher. Doing this will ensure a more thorough clean, reduce wear on your system, and prevent drain clogs.
If your dishwasher gets clogged despite your best efforts, you can use a gentle homemade solution to get the water in it moving again: Create a mixture of equal parts vinegar, baking soda, and hot water and pour it down the basket located at the very bottom of your dishwasher. Let the solution sit for 15 minutes, then pour boiling hot water into the basket. In most cases, this will dislodge the clog without the use of harsh chemicals.
Load your dishwasher fully before running it, but don’t overload it.
Many people believe that packing as many dishes as possible into the dishwasher is a great way to reduce waste in the home by maximizing energy efficiency and limiting water use. In reality, overloading actually makes it harder for your dishwasher to do its job properly, resulting in the need to re-wash dishes after each load.
A perfectly-loaded dishwasher will have plates, dishes, pots and pans, and cutlery on the bottom, in their respective places, with drinking glasses and mugs on top. You shouldn’t place extra plates or bowls on the top rack, even if they seem to fit between or on top of glasses. The one exception to this rule is plastic items (like children’s toys and Tupperware containers); these need to be placed on the top rack so your dishwasher’s heating element doesn’t melt or warp them. However, you should still give these items their own space, rather than placing them over mugs or glasses.
Use cleaning pods or tablets rather than powder or liquid detergents.
According to research conducted by Consumer Reports, detergent pods and tablets tend to outperform liquid and powder formulas. Their tests revealed that pods are significantly less likely to leave behind white film, water spots, and small particles of food debris. As Consumer Reports engineer Joe Pacella explains, “Overall, the best-performing detergent pacs clean better than the best gels. That’s because many pacs contain a pretreat solution, degreaser, bleach, or rinse aid to boost cleaning.” Cleaning pods are also formulated to contain exactly enough detergent to clean a full cycle of dishes properly.
Clean your dishwasher regularly.
Just like any other appliance, dishwashers need to be kept clean if they’re going to function optimally. Most experts recommend cleaning dishwasher interiors at least once a month, but you may want to clean yours more often (every two weeks) if it sees very heavy use.
To clean your dishwasher, start by clearing debris out of the drain strainer and detergent dispenser with a soft-bristled brush. Then, place a glass bowl filled with one cup of white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher and run it through one full hot water cycle (while it’s otherwise empty of dishes). Finally, to eliminate any leftover odor, dust the bottom of your dishwasher with baking soda and run it through a short hot water cycle. (You can skip the drying cycle each time to make the job go faster.)
Stay vigilant for signs of mold.
Because dishwashers are warm, high-moisture environments, they’re prone to developing issues with mold. In fact, according to one medical mycology study, about 62% of all dishwashers have at least some mold growing inside them. Not all of the mold species the researchers found represented a health hazard, but they all have the potential to affect the appearance and functionality of your dishwasher.
If your dishwasher develops a “musty” smell or you notice discoloration anywhere inside it (pay close attention to soft plastic areas, like the seal around the door), you can be certain that your dishwasher has a mold problem. To get rid of mold inside your dishwasher, detach all of its removable parts (i.e., the racks, rotor, and drain strainer) and clean them with hot, soapy water. Then, soak a soft cloth in a solution of hot water and vinegar and wipe down the dishwasher’s door seal, along with the area under the door. When you clean the door seal, carefully fold it back a little bit so your cloth can reach the underside of the seal.
After you’ve taken these steps, clean out the drain opening before completely reassembling your dishwasher. Then, repeat the cleaning cycle described in point four. Note that you should never use bleach to get rid of dishwasher mold, as its abrasiveness may damage parts of your appliance.
Still Struggling to Keep Your Kitchen Clean? We Can Help.
Owning a dishwasher can help you make more time for your family, but time-saving appliances aren’t always enough to keep cleaning duties manageable, especially if you’re a working parent. In most cases, the easiest way to free up time while keeping your home clean and hygienic is to hire a cleaning service. Our team of friendly, conscientious professional maids in Indianapolis can help you provide the best environment for your family, while working within your budget and schedule. Book a clean to see what a world of difference a professional clean can make in your life.