How to Clean the Dishwasher in 20 Minutes or Less


My dishes were coming out less than sparkly, so I knew it was time to clean the dishwasher. Actually, they were sparkly except for the parts with food still stuck on them. Rinsing dishes again after they’re done in the dishwasher is not my favorite thing to do. However, it doesn’t seem to bother Husband that much. Hmmm. Anyways, we rinse most of the food off our dishes before putting them in, so I knew it shouldn’t be too hard to clean it out. This is how I cleaned my dishwasher naturally and in twenty minutes.

Step One: Remove lower basket.


Step Two: Remove filter cover.
As you can see our leftover veggies from dinner. That blue thing? A piece of plastic from my not dishwasher safe water bottle from when it went through the dishwasher. :( I forgot to announce that it was not dishwasher safe.

Step Three: Soak and clean filter cover in hot soapy water.


Step Four: Check the filter for any blockages and wipe down the area with vinegar.
I found a piece of glass at the bottom of that watery abyss. Have I told you I have a fear of sticking my hand in uncharted waters? I managed to get the glass out and check the rest after three or four tries. I made Husband check it

Step Five:  Put the filter cover back in place, pour two cups of vinegar in the bottom and run a short cycle. You can also pour vinegar in the soap dispenser to release during the wash cycle, which I did. I also poured vinegar directly into the sprayer arm.


Step Six: Wipe down the dishwasher after the cycle is complete before it completes the dry cycle. The vinegar will remove hard water build up and break down food build up so you can easily wipe it up.

I filled up the dishwasher immediately after cleaning it and ran it. When I checked it this morning, the dishes were sparkly without the stuck on food bits. My main goal when cleaning the dishwasher was to get rid of any big food chunks, blockages preventing the dishwasher from running at max efficiency. I wiped down and removed the food build up to help prevent my dishwasher and clean dishes from stinking. As for the yellow, nasty looking filter area, I know that this area is stained, so I didn’t spend a lot of time scrubbing it. I used vinegar to help to disinfect the dishwasher and again clean out the insides to allow maximum water flow. That is how I cleaned my dishwasher naturally and in twenty minutes.

Have you ever cleaned your dishwasher?

Happy Cleaning!


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27 thoughts on “How to Clean the Dishwasher in 20 Minutes or Less

  1. Great tips, and a great reminder that I need to do this. My hubby is in charge of the dishwasher as far as loading it with dishes and putting them away but he never seems to notice when it starts to look a little gross inside.

  2. Great tips! I’ll have to give it a try. Have lots of vinegar. Now to figure out where the filter cover is…lol. I’ve never really “looked” inside the dishwasher!

    • In newer dishwashers, the filter is underneath the spinner arm, so the spinner arm will need to be removed by gently pushing down and turning it clockwise. Even running an empty load with vinegar will help the dishwasher run better.

  3. I need to do this. My dishes are not very clean when I run my dishwasher either. I have actually succumbed to “washing” the dishes (yes, a sink and soapy water!!) before I stick them in… Can you believe it? Thanks for your tut. Makes it sounds doable….

    hugs x, Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

    • It’s totally worth it, I promise. There will be the satisfaction that clean dishes are coming out of a clean dishwasher instead of a yucky one. Thanks again for featuring this tutorial on your blog!

      • Angela – I tried this last week and it was incredible the gunk that came out. It is a wonder my dishes were clean. However, I was not able to get the basket out completely. I poured about a cup of baking soda into that area (on top of the vinegar). AMAZING! THE STUFF THAT BUBBLED UP. Now I know it is truly clean. Thanks!

      • Fleurette, I’m so glad it worked for you! I too was amazed at how my dishes were “cleaned” by such a dirty appliance and I don’t even want to know what bubbled up. :)

  4. Gosh…I know I need to clean my dishwasher. It hasn’t been cleaned one time since I’ve had it and I’ve had it for awhile. Can definitely use these cleaning tips. Now, I just need to make time for cleaning it. Maybe, I can enlist the help of my teenager.

  5. I have used an envelope of orange Kool-Aid (some people use tang) in the box where you put your dishwashing detergent and run it through the cleaning cycle. This will take all the brown and nasty hard water stains on the wall of your dishwasher off and it will shine like new. You still need to clean out inside your filters though. Thanks for all you tips!!!!

  6. I just did this and was totally grossed out by what I found in my filter; two inches of yucky scum. I have lived here for over five years and never knew I had a filter to clean. Thank you so much for your tips!

  7. Thanks for visiting me at Night Owl Corner….just popping over to check out your blog. I need to do this! Haven’t ever thought about it to be honest!


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