I don't know about you, but my dishwasher gets smelly after a while - its gross and it happens even if I rinse dishes before running a cleaning cycle. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why (it probably would have helped if I'd ever read an owners manual .... do people read those things??), it wasn't until my dishes started to smell that I figured out that the drain actually needs to be regularly cleaned out and disassembled. its common for build up to occur in the drain part of your dishwasher from excess oils and detergents. I've found that cleaning my dishwasher drain every couple of months or so and running it through with some cleaning product helps keep the inside sparkling clean and smell free!
Here is how I clean my dishwasher:
The first thing you should do before running the dishwasher with cleaning product is check the drain, cleaning out any debris that may be in there. Depending on the type of dishwasher you have you may be able to remove certain parts of the drain piece to clean it out. I've taken the liberty and included links below to a few manufacturers digital owners manuals- if the brand you own isn't included you can most likely find one on the manufacturers website.
After you checked the drain, take a rag, washcloth or your favorite microfiber cloth and give it a gentle scrub without using any detergents - if you are using a natural cleaning formula you can wipe the inside of your dishwasher with a little baking soda before adding the cleaning agent. If the drain piece or internal pieces are able to be removed, then take them apart, hand wash them and reassemble them then run your dishwasher with your chosen detergent.
As for the cleaning formula I have 2 to share with you;
1. Au Natural - Make at home formula
What you'll need:
- A cup
- Baking soda
- 1 cup white vinegar
- Microfiber cloth or soft scrub brush
In this method, after you've checked the drain and removed any large pieces of food or gunk from your dishwasher wipe the interior of the dishwasher down with about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of baking soda and a wet towel. Once the inside is wiped down add a small cup or bowl to the top rack (otherwise your dishwasher may not run) and add in 1 cup of white vinegar, turn on your dishwasher to its hottest setting and let the full cycle run through.
2. The Bleach Method
Another great way to clean and sanitize your dishwasher is to use the powerhouse of all disinfectants (no that's not a scientific term but heh ;) ). this one is simple...
What you'll need:
- An old unused cup or bowl for the top rack.
- 1 cup of Bleach
P. S. A. DO NOT USE SOAP
I must take a moment here to share with you, to never.... ever ever mix bleach with soap that is not laundry detergent! It can be TOXIC and, quite literally, you would be mixing the ingredients that is used to make mustard gas- this includes dish soap, which is typically formulated with ammonia. So remember to check your labels before mixing cleaning products.
Once the drain is clear, and you've wiped down the dishwasher as noted above, measure a cup of bleach and pour it into the bottom of the dishwasher. Add a dish, cup or something onto the top rack and run the dishwasher on its hottest setting and voila - clean as can be!
Also note: If you used a cup or dish when washing your dishwasher with bleach it could have left a residue on your dish so I would definitely rewash it or use something that will not be used to consume food or beverage.