The little-known lemon trick experts love for cleaning a dishwasher

It could make this irritating kitchen task much easier...

concealed wooden door dishwasher in kitchen
(Image credit: Used Kitchen Exchange)

Cleaning the diswasher is arguably one of the most dreaded kitchen cleaning tasks out there. Not only can it be pretty gross, but dishwashers are generally large, awkward shapes that can be tricky to scrub down properly.

Much like our ovens, fridges, and washing machines, it can feel like there's no quick or easy way to clean a dishwasher, because of its many nooks and crannies, and its removable parts that also need to be cleaned. But there is one trick that experts recommend that could make the task much easier – and all you'll need to hand is one lemon.

Dishwasher cleaning hack with lemon

white kitchen worktop with open dishwasher and toaster

(Image credit: Future PLC / William Goddard)

We're probably all aware of the benefits of using a lemon to clean other household items, so it makes sense that it could be helpful when it comes to sanitising our dishwashers too. After all, the citric acid in a lemon is antibacterial, so it can – sometimes – be just as effective as commercial cleaning products.

Explaining the lemon trick, cleaning expert and founder of Laundryheap, Deyan Dimitrov, said, 'Over time, soap suds and scum can build up in your dishwasher and drastically reduce the quality of your washing cycle. 

'To combat this, slice a lemon in half and place the segment in the bottom drawer of your dishwasher next time you run a cycle. This will cut through any limescale or soap that has built up, and restore your dishwasher’s cleaning capabilities.'

Lemon in white bowl infront of wooden board

(Image credit: Future PLC / Polly Eltes)

Cleaning expert Nicki Rodriguez, of Essex House Dolly agreed, saying, 'Adding lemon will help to cut grease and limescale naturally. It’ll also leave the dishwasher smelling fresh.'

Essentially, while adding a lemon to your dishwasher won't scrub away at any leftover food scraps, it will help to dissolve limescale, and to maintain the efficiency of your machine. 

There's one vital rule if you're planning on deploying this handy hack, though. Nicki told us, 'It’s important to remember to remove the seeds, as these could clog up your filter.'

kitchen with dishwasher and kettle

(Image credit: Future PLC)

It's also important to actually clean your dishwasher every now and then, rather than relying on a lemon to always do the hard work for you.

Not only should you be cleaning out food waste from inside your dishwasher and running hot cycles to sanitise it, but you should also regularly be putting salt and rinse aid into your machine, to keep it in good running order.


 Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist and editor, now working in a freelance capacity specialising in homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, overseeing the homes, books and features sections of the website. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine