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How to Clean Your Dishwasher: A Step-By-Step Guide

While it cleans your dishes, the dishwasher requires regular maintenance and cleaning to maintain its performance, efficiency, and hygiene.

Neglecting to clean your dishwasher properly can lead to the buildup of food particles, grease, undissolved detergent, and minerals on the dishwasher filter, interior walls, and spray arm.

Consequently, you may notice spots and film on your glassware, dinnerware, and flatware, regardless of how carefully you load the dishwasher if you fail to keep your dishwasher clean.

We present a comprehensive "how to clean your dishwasher" guide to address this. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined here, you can ensure your dishwasher remains in optimal condition, resulting in spotless dishes every time you run a cycle.

How often to clean your dishwasher

The frequency of cleaning your dishwasher depends on your usage of programs and cycles. If you run a load daily, you need to perform these tasks daily, weekly, and monthly to maintain a clean dishwasher.

  1. Daily or after every load: Remove any visible food debris from the filter and the bottom of your dishwasher.
  2. Weekly: Wipe the door edges and gasket to eliminate debris and clean the dishwasher filter.
  3. Monthly: Once a month, give your dishwasher a deep cleaning by wiping the interior, exterior, edges, and interior of drips, spots, and film. In addition, to effectively remove grease and limescale buildup, deep clean your dishwasher using the Finish Dishwasher Cleaner.

How to clean your dishwasher

The following best practices for dishwasher cleaning will ensure its optimal performance.

Remove food remnants daily

One of the major causes of the odor problem is the accumulation of food remnants that transform your dishwasher into a garbage disposal.

Make it a routine to remove any remaining food particles you see after each dishwashing cycle. Additionally, pull out the bottom rack and remove the food leftovers with a paper towel or tissue paper to prevent future odors and residue buildup.

Wipe away dishwasher door grime weekly

To clean the door:

Remove greasy residue and splatters by wiping the door's interior, bottom, edges, handle, and dishwasher controls with a damp sponge or microfiber cloth.

To clean the door gasket and dispenser:

Use a soft scrub brush dipped in warm soapy water or an all-purpose cleaner to gently scrub and remove unpleasant residue from the rubber seal around the door.

Inspect the dishwasher dispenser for debris or undissolved detergent, and wipe it clean using a damp cloth or paper towel.

Ensure peace of mind by investing in high-quality, soluble dishwasher detergents that effectively dissolve upon contact with water, eliminating concerns about undissolved residue.

Clean the dishwasher filter weekly

Knowing how to clean a dishwasher filter can help maintain it in its prime condition. As a result, it effectively protects the pump from getting clogged or damaged by food debris. It also helps prevent the remnants of last night’s dinner from recirculating back onto your dishes.

To clean it:

  1. Unlock and remove the filter, then rinse it under hot running water.
  2. Use a soft toothbrush to scrub the mesh screen and plastic frame, removing grease or particles from crevices. Rinse thoroughly.
  3. Lock the filter securely back into place.

Deep clean dishwasher monthly

Once a month, it's crucial to thoroughly clean your dishwasher's internal components and spray arms to eliminate trapped particles, mineral buildup, and detergent residue.

Finish Arabia dishwasher detergents offer an effortless solution to the issue of detergent residue, as they are instantly and completely soluble.        

Deep clean dishwasher with vinegar or baking soda

To clean your dishwasher with a vinegar-based solution, simply fill a dishwasher-safe bowl with one cup of distilled white vinegar and place it on the top rack. Then, run a hot and heavy cycle without detergent or dishes.

After running the vinegar cycle, sprinkle a cup of baking soda in the bottom of the empty dishwasher and run a short or quick cycle. The outcome? A brilliantly clean and fresh-smelling dishwasher.

Dishwasher temperature settings

The ideal and most effective dishwasher temperature range is about 130-140°F. If the water temperature exceeds or is less than the specified range, the detergent might not fully dissolve. 

Learn what you need to know about dishwater temperatures with Finish dishwashing temperature guidelines.


What are the signs that my dishwasher needs cleaning?

Some of the most common signs that will signal your dishwasher needs cleaning include:

  • Unpleasant odor.
  • Food build-up in the dishwasher filter.
  • Rust build-up inside the dishwasher.
  • The dishwasher is getting clogged.

Is vinegar safe for the dishwasher?

Yes, vinegar is safe for the dishwasher. It is an effective bacteria, grit, grime, build-up, and unpleasant odor remover.

Can I clean the dishwasher with bleach?

No, cleaning the dishwasher with bleach is not recommended, as it can damage stainless steel surfaces and parts.