How to clean a dishwasher – for sparkling crockery every time

You can't expect a filthy dishwasher to produce pristine dishes, so you will need to clean it every once in a while. With our exhaustive guide, nothing gets missed

You might think this hard-working appliance is self-cleaning, but it will collect food debris and soap residue over time. Did you know, for example, that each month, 1kg of greasy residue passes through a dishwasher.

Clean it regularly and this will prevent mucky stuff building up and causing problems. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean a dishwasher, and we’ve thrown in some extra tips on how to keep it pristine between MOTs.

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How to clean a dishwasher – the kit you’ll need

  • Sheets of old newspaper
  • Hot, soapy water or a vinegar-water solution
  • A pointed implement, such as a skewer, toothpick or tweezers
  • Old toothbrush
  • Multipurpose cleaner
  • Microfibre cloth

1. Start by cleaning your dishwasher with a hot wash

Turn on your dishwasher, remove any dirty dishes or cutlery and run a hot-wash cycle. When it has finished, turn the dishwasher off at the mains and open the door fully. Spread newspaper on the floor in front of it to catch any drips.

2. Empty the dishwasher

Take out any baskets and cutlery holders/trays that can be removed, and soak them in hot, soapy water. If they are very greasy, use a solution that’s one part vinegar to five parts water.

3. Clear the drain

Choose a small pointed tool, such as a toothpick or tweezers,t clear debris from the water holes on the spinning arms, as blocked rotators will affect water circulation. If your machine has a filter, pull it out and clean off any debris. Soak it in soapy water, then rinse it through.

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4. Inspect the dishwasher floor

Pull out the bottom rack and look at the dishwasher floor, especially the drain, and remove any build-up. Using a toothbrush and a multipurpose cleaner, scrub the drain well, then rinse. Also check the sides and hinge areas. Wipe down the door with a cloth and multipurpose cleaner, taking care to clean around the buttons.

5. Examine the rubber gasket

Keep an eye on stickiness building up in the rubber gasket around the door. Wipe regularly with a damp cloth.

6. Prevent food from building up

If you aren’t putting the machine on immediately, rinse crockery before loading so that food doesn’t dry onto it. Pour a cup of vinegar into the bottom and run on a normal cycle every so often to clean out any food particles that have built up.

7. Finish the job

Place the clean removable racks back inside the dishwasher and run a short cycle to finish the deep clean.

8. In a hurry? Use a dishwasher cleaner

These brilliant products will do the hard work for you.

Best for banishing odours and grease
Fairy-dishwasher-cleaner-How-to-clean-a-dishwasher

Buy now: Fairy active dishwasher cleaner, £4.10, Ocado

Best for a super-clean finish and lemon-fresh scent

Finish-Lemon-dishwasher-cleaner-How-to-clean-a-dishwasher
Buy now: Finish dishwasher cleaner, £3.20, Waitrose

Best antibacterial option
Dr-Beckmann-Service-It-dishwasher-cleaner-How-to-clean-a-dishwasher

Buy now: Dr Beckmann Service-it Deep Clean, £3.30, Tesco 

Sure, it takes some elbow grease, but put a little effort in and you’ll be rewarded with a dishwasher that will run efficiently for longer.

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