How to Clean Your Dishwasher with Vinegar

June 13, 2023
Dishwasher Repair

Cleaning your dishwasher can be a daunting task. However, it is crucial to keep your dishwasher clean and properly maintained to ensure it is working correctly and dishes are being cleaned thoroughly. 

Vinegar is an easy and affordable ingredient that you can use to clean your dishwasher without resorting to harsh chemicals. In this blog, we will share with you the step-by-step process for cleaning your dishwasher with vinegar.

Step 1: Preparation

When it comes to cleaning your dishwasher, it’s important to prepare properly so your machine is ready for a deep clean.

First, remove any dishes from the dishwasher and give the interior a once-over to make sure there aren’t any large chunks of food or debris sitting around. 

Next, check the bottom of the dishwasher for clogs and remove them with a tool or your hands. It’s also a good idea to run a hot cycle with vinegar or a dishwasher cleaner to help remove built-up grime. 

By taking these steps before you start cleaning, your dishwasher will be ready for a thorough cleaning and will continue to work well for ages afterward.

Step 2: Clean the filters

A key step in maintaining your dishwasher is regularly cleaning its filters. These filters help to keep food debris and other particles from clogging your dishwasher and causing damage to the machine. 

To clean your dishwasher’s filters, first, remove them from the dishwasher. Clean them with warm water and soap, or run them through your dishwasher on a hot cycle. Be sure to remove any debris and buildup that you find. 

Once your filters are clean, replace them back into your dishwasher, making sure they are properly seated.

Step 3: Vinegar solution

Fill a mug with white vinegar and place it on the top rack of the dishwasher. To ensure the best results, choose a high-temperature wash cycle—preferably the hottest setting available on your dishwasher—and let the vinegar do its work. 

The vinegar will work to remove any built-up grease and grime within the dishwasher and eliminate any nasty smells.

Step 4: Baking soda

To keep your dishwasher in tip-top shape, the vinegar and baking soda combo is a tried-and-true method. After running a cycle with vinegar to remove any buildup or tough stains, sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom before running another hot temperature cycle. 

However, be aware that baking soda can foam up when it comes into contact with vinegar, so use caution when adding it to your dishwasher. 

This step will also bring the baking soda and vinegar mix down through the drains, helping clear out any blockages of gunk built up down there.

Step 5: Wipe down the exterior

Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down the exterior of the dishwasher, removing any dust, fingerprints, or spills. Pay close attention to cleaning any crevices or areas that are easy to forget. 

Once the exterior is thoroughly cleaned, replace the racks and plug the dishwasher back in.

For an even deeper clean

Keeping the various parts that make up your dishwasher clean is essential to ensuring that your dishes come out sparkling every time. Over time, components like the racks, spray arms, and gasket can accumulate a buildup of grease, food particles, and other debris, which can mean that your dishwasher works less efficiently.

Thankfully, cleaning these parts of your dishwasher is easy!


First, remove the racks from your dishwasher and inspect them for any cracks or damage. 

Next, use a soft-bristled brush and warm, soapy water to scrub away any debris. For particularly stubborn stains, try using a mixture of baking soda and water.

Rinse the racks thoroughly and allow them to dry completely before placing them back into the dishwasher. 

Spray arms

As for your spray arms, use a straightened paper clip to clear any clogs in the spray holes and then run them through a cycle with a dishwasher cleaner or vinegar.


The dishwasher gasket, in particular, is an often-overlooked part that needs attention to keep your machine running smoothly. 

The gasket is a rubber seal that runs around the door to prevent water from leaking out during a wash cycle. Over time, it can accumulate food particles, grease, and detergent residue, which can lead to odors and even mold growth. 

To clean your dishwasher’s gasket, start by wiping the visible areas down with a damp cloth. Then, using a soft-bristled brush, work some baking soda into the grooves to remove any stubborn debris. 

Finish off with a vinegar rinse to disinfect the area and eliminate any remaining odors.

How often should I clean my dishwasher?

How often your dishwasher needs cleaning can depend on how frequently you run your cycles. The more often you run it, the more frequently you’ll need to clean it.

There are a few simple things you can do to keep your dishwasher clean however often you use it. 

After every load, remove visible food particles. This is crucial to prevent clogs within the filter.

Weekly, wipe down the edges and gasket of the dishwasher to keep any debris from accumulating.

Lastly, a monthly deep clean with an interior cleaning cycle will help to ensure the longevity of your dishwasher. Maintaining your dishwasher in this way could save you from costly repairs or replacements.

Final thoughts

Cleaning your dishwasher with vinegar only takes a few simple steps and can be completed with items readily found in your kitchen. By following these steps, you can ensure your dishwasher stays in good working order, and your dishes come out sparkly clean. Plus, it will also extend the life of your dishwasher. 

Remember to clean your dishwasher regularly to avoid the grime and debris buildup, which could lead to costly repairs or premature replacement. Give vinegar a chance to work its magic and keep your dishwasher clean and smelling fresh.


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