A dishwasher machine was one of those luxury appliances that I grew up without. It’s not that my parents couldn’t afford one – they just didn’t see the need for one. Come to think, I knew very few people back then who owned a dishwasher, they were seen as an appliance for lazy people.
Now that I’m all grown up and have my own busy household, washing dishes by hand is a real drag of a chore, especially at the end of a busy work day, coupled with prepping and cooking meals. By the time you’ve had dinner, you’re exhausted and ready for bed – but an untidy pile of dirty dishes await cleaning.
A dishwasher not only saves time but also makes the task of cleaning dishes easier and keeps your kitchen looking much tidyer – no sink full or dishes or a cluttered drying rack.
A dishwasher has distinct advantages, especially for households and larger families where both the adults are working. However, as with any machine, a dishwasher also needs to be taken care of with regular cleaning. Grease and food remains get stuck to the dishwasher over a period of time, reducing its efficacy and causing nasty smells.
Therefore, one of the most important things that need attention while using a dishwasher is its cleanliness. If you use a regular cleaning regimen and follow the instructions that come with the machine, your machine will keep your dishes hygienically clean for years to come.
Here are a few things you need to look out for to keep your dishwasher fresh and clean.
The A to Z Guide to Cleaner Dishwasher
Dishwasher Filters and Drain
The first, and most crucial part of dishwasher maintenance, is to clean the filter. Filters stop large chunks of food and gunk for reaching the drain pump, where they could cause damage.
Dirty clogged dishwasher filters will trap food bits which, if not removed, will rot and cause a bad smell. You may notice that your dishes are still dirty or coming out after a cycle with small food particles stuck to them – this can be a sign of a dirty filter.
Filter Cleaning Steps:
- First, make sure your dishwasher is switched off at the mains.
- Open dishwasher door and remove the lower wash basket.
- Locate the circular filter at the base of the dishwasher. Grip the filter housing and turn it anti clockwise and it should pull right out. (A)
- The circular filter will have a plastic centre trap check is removed by squeezing the two tabs inwards. (B)
- Remove the metal / plastic mesh filter tray plate if your dishwasher has one. (C)
- After removing filters, check the drain sump and remove any trapped food that may have bypassed the filters.
- Clean the filters at the sink in warm soupy water (use washing up liquid as this will remove fat and grease) and rinse off under the tap.
- Once filters are thoroughly cleaned, place back into the dishwasher, in reverse order – mesh base plate first, then the circular central filter, and be sure to lock into place by twisting clockwise.
With the filters removed, check in the sump train for any food debris and remove by hand. For any dirt build-up inside the drain, use a damp cloth and toothbrush to loosen and remove dirt. If you have a wet and dry function vacuum cleaner then use the nozzle to vacuum out dirt and water from the dishwasher drain.
Don’t worry of there’s a small puddle of dirty water left over, it wall drain away on the next cycle.
This above processes are the same for most leading dishwasher brands such as Beko, Bosch, Indesit, and Hotpoint. It also doesn’t matter of your dishwasher is freestanding or integrated, the filter and drain cleaning steps are much the same. Of course, double check you user manual, as you’ll find clear cleaning and maintenance guidelines for your specific model.
Tip: To reduce filter clog, make sure to completely scrape food off plates, cutlery, and cookware before placing into the dishwasher. You can also give place and pans with thick sauce and encrusted food a rinse under the tap before placing into the dishwasher. This will lessen the chance of foods and gunk blocking the dishwasher filter.
The door rims and rubber seals of dishwashers can trap food, sometimes even leading to leakages. Make sure you wipe the exteriors of your dishwasher with a damp cloth or cleaning wipe after every use to avoid any leaks around the door seal. For hard dried in food around inside machine door, use a steam cleaner with detail nozzle to blast away tough stains from the metal door frame.
It’s also good hygiene to wipe down the front exterior of the door and handles with a Detol or Flash wipe to remove any grubby finger marks or food / drink spillages.
Spray Arms (Impeller)
Dishwashers work by spraying your dishes with hot jets of water from spinning impellers, or spray arms. There arms are not motorised and depend on the force of water ejected from jet nozzles to generate spinning momentum. From time to time, these jet nozzles can become blocked, and if they become blocked, they won’t be able to spin and wash your dishes efficiently.
It’s therefor good practice to check the spray arms for dirt and blockages. luckily, these impellers are very easy to remove by simply pulling off. Take then to a bucket of warm soupy water and give them a clean down before popping back on.
How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?
If you’re a daily dishwasher user like me, you need to clean your machine regularly to ensure it is efficient, quick and long lasting. Should you fail to do so, it may result in an unpleasant odour and accumulation of bits of food stuck in the machine, and of course, your machine performance with suffer. A foul-smelling machine in the kitchen is the last thing you need.
It is simple and convenient to clean a dishwasher regularly. Make sure you pull out any stuck food pieces on a regular basis and wipe down the exteriors of the dishwasher with a wet cloth at least weekly.
We recommend that you clean all filters once every week, and the impellers once a month.
if you live in a hard water area then it’s essential that you use dishwasher salt to maximize cleaning performance. Even if you live in a soft water area, you should still use some dishwasher salt to help your dishwasher clean as efficiently as possible.
Most Effective Cleaners to Clean Your Dishwasher
While there are many artificial cleaners available for your dishwasher, there may be times you run out of your regular cleaners. But your cleaning regimen should not suffer because of that. Several natural cleaners will do the task just as effectively.
White vinegar, lemon water and baking soda are completely acceptable alternatives to clean your dishwasher.
A simple baking soda rinse can go a long way to remove any germs from your dishwasher. All you have to do is to sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of the dishwasher and turn the dishwasher on. It will leave your dishwasher looking clean and smelling fresh.
A kitchen is one of the most important elements of your home. It is where you whip up your health and that of your family.
Therefore, it is very important to keep your dishwasher clean at all times. If your dishwasher is not hygienic and clean, your dishes won’t be either. And that is not good news.
Besides, with a few simple steps, you can maintain your dishwasher. Not only will it ensure things are hygienic but will also prolong the life of your dishwasher and keep it efficient.