How to Clean the Dishwasher and Dishwasher Filters

Today I am going to tell you how to clean the dishwasher and dishwasher filters.


Let me start with some disclaimers.  I’m a housewife and not a dishwasher scientist. I don’t know about your specific model.  I don’t work for Whirlpool.  I really don’t know anything, other than what’s worked for me.  Know that if you follow my dishwasher cleaning advice, it’s possible that your dishwasher could break or even flood your house. As a general rule, it’s not a good idea to listen to a housewife with an internet connection.  Take my cleaning advice into consideration, but try to talk to someone who knows what they’re doing.


I’ll go over the overview process and then I’ll explain with pictures.


1. Remove the dishwasher filters.  Put them in the washing machine on the “low” level.  Throw in a little bleach. Don’t run the cycle through, just until it gets through the first agitation.
2. Remove all dishes.  Move anything that you want to clean around, like cutlery trays.
3. Start the dishwasher on a one hour or short cycle.
4. Put bleach into the dishwasher.  In my dishwasher, I have to wait until it does the initial draining.  I open the door and add it once it has filled up with water.  This can be different on yours.
5. When the cycle completes, open the door.  If there is still any gunk (totally scientific word) wipe the gunk with a paper towel.
6. Run the cycle through again, just as before.
7. Remove the dishwasher filters from the washing machine a wipe any remaining gunk with a paper towel.  You may have to wipe out the washing machine tub with a paper towel.
8. Clean the spinning arms with a paper clip and try to remove as much gunk as you can.
9. Put it all back together.


I don’t have a stainless steel inside tub.  I have read that you’re not supposed to clean those with bleach.  I have tried vinegar, baking soda, Dishwasher Magic and LemiShine and I have found that nothing works like bleach.  I have the hardest water ever and I run my dishwasher twice per day.  We are hard on our dishwasher.  I have little ones and inevitablely a lot of gunk ends up loaded into the dishwasher with our dishes. Using bleach and utilizing my washing machine to clean the filters is the easiest and most effective way to get the dishwasher clean and prevent any icky smells.


Now I’ll repeat my steps with illustrations.


how to clean dishwasher inside

This is the before… ewe!

dishwasher filter

Step One… Remove the dishwasher filters and put them in the washing machine. In case you’re wondering, I purposely let my dishwasher get ickier than I normally do because I planned to write this post.

how to clean dishwasher

Step Two: Remove cutlery trays. Step Three: Start dishwasher on short cycle.


how to clean dishwasher

Step Four: Add bleach (after initial draining).

dishwasher inside cleaner

Step Five: Wipe down the gunk. (Here in the picture, you can see there’s still some gunk in the back bottom corner.) Step Six: Run the dishwasher through again.


how to clean dishwasher filters

Step Seven: Remove dishwasher filters from the washing machine.  Step Eight: Clean spring arms with a paper clip. Step Nine: Put it all back together again.


Posted in Also Known As Logistics and Management in a Large Family, How to Clean, Knowing What to Do to Feel a Little Bit Less Like the Woman in the Shoe, Laura's Little Kitchen On the Prairie by with no comments yet.

Toothpaste Removes Dishwasher Hard Water Soap Scum

We have hard water. Like the hardest water ever.

We’ve had a new well since the fall and new well water is a bit less hard.  When we had the old well, I was always amazed at how dirty looking the dishes are coming out of the dishwasher. They say that they changed the law and the dishwasher-soap-making companies had to change their formulas to comply with some new regulations. These new formulas combined with my hard water equals the grossest dishes, especially when it comes to glass and Pyrex.   I decided to take on my de-soap-scumming project before I put my still-gross-looking “clean” dishes away. I used toothpaste and a sponge. I’ll describe the process in pictures.

I even had scummy yuck on the pot.


These are some scummy pans. I even had that scum on the outside of the crockpot crock.

My daughter insisted that I take her picture, too.
Toothpaste is the key. This is Vanilla Mint toothpaste that I bought cheap a while back. I didn’t like the taste, so I earmarked it for this project.
After cleaning, my pot actually reflects.
Pyrex loaf pan before…
Here are my now actually clean dishes drip drying on some dishtowels.

Also, you may notice that all these pictures are closeups. Yes, my kitchen is that ugly.

Update, 8/9/14: I disabled comments for this post. There are too many spammers out there!

Posted in How to Clean, Laura's Little Kitchen On the Prairie by with 2 comments.