How to … effortlessly clean your dishwasher without chemicals

Here’s an easy, affordable and chemical free way to clean your dishwasher.

While our dishwasher sits faithfully in the kitchen churning away and doing our cleaning for us, we rarely think about cleaning it. Despite experts recommending that we clean our machines once a month in order to keep them hygienic and working at full capacity, few of us actually do. When a dishwasher collects grime and food scraps it can become unhygienic, inefficient and develop ‘bad breath’, a sure sign it’s in need of a good clean. Fortunately, there’s a simple, cost-effective and chemical free way to get your dishwasher back to full fresh function in no time. 

Start by clearing the drain. You’ll need to remove the lower rack so you can access the filter at the bottom of the machine. Feel free to use gloves to clear away food scraps that may have gathered here as they may have begun to decompose. This will help the machine’s cleaning efficiency and drainage. 

Next, fill two thirds of a mug or dishwasher-safe cup with white vinegar upright on the top rack of the empty machine. Sprinkle a cup of baking soda across the bottom of the machine. Run a regular length hot water cycle. If you don’t know which cycle uses hot water, the one designed for pots and pans is generally a safe bet. 

This will help to clean away grease, remove interior stains and odours as well as make the machine smell and look fresh. 

How often do you clean your dishwasher … honestly? Do you have any tips or tricks you want to share with our readers? As always, let us know in the comment section below.  



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    10th Mar 2019
    Had it for two years and have never cleaned it with anything - pull out the filter which is always clean but that's it.
    We quickly rinse larger food stuffs in the sink first so that's maybe why our dishwasher still looks new. I would think that all the cleaning of the plates etc would clean the machine itself.
    10th Mar 2019
    I have used bicarb soda to wash the dishes instead of dishwasher detergent, seems to work quite well. WIll try the cup of vinegar trick with bicarb and no dishes. Luckily my dishwasher allows me to get to the filters etc so I can clean them. Some dishwashers (like my daughter's old one) don't have accessible filters - something to look at when buying dishwashers :-)

    Like Greg I scrape/rinse the worst of the mess off dishes - using minimal water to do it I might add!
    10th Mar 2019
    Do the same with your washing machine too - the vinegar bit not the bicarb.
    10th Mar 2019
    Gees I am sick and tired of articles like this one which spouts 'Chemical free'. RUBBISH! Vinegar is Acetic acid which is a CHEMICAL which will etch glass.
    Also the rubbish about baking soda which is bicarbonate of soda; it is a CHEMICAL!
    Why use baking soda when you want to clean something, not bake it? Use WASHING SODA which is also a CHEMICAL for WASHING; for clothes and dishes etc. Is is carbonate of soda which will strip grease away like nothing else.
    Also love the way the advertisers want you to buy their washer cleaning product, so tell you that your dishwasher etc. is DIRTY when it is used to CLEAN dishes.How can it become DIRTY? Isn't this an admission that their washing product fails to do its job.
    The advertisers sucked in the author of this article who just reiterates their rubbish with no further thought at all so misleads the gullible.
    Hooray for Greg who is the sensible one here.
    10th Mar 2019
    From your comment I assume you think I'm gullible, and not sensible, "greenie".

    Cleaning - when you get in the bath / shower, and clean yourself, there is body grease residue, that's why we clean baths and showers. If you wash your dishes in the sink, there is usually a residue that needs to be rinsed and wiped off. Same with a dishwasher - there tends to be a bit of residue, and if people are not vigilant at cleaning excess mess from dishes, and cleaning their filters etc, then they may well need a separate cleaner.

    I agree that we are bombarded with advertising and it can be easy to fall into the trap of buying lots of products that are not necessary.

    Geez I think I'll go and get a cup of tea. It never ceases to amaze me when the simplest comment can engender such wrath.
    10th Mar 2019
    Chemical free?
    This works well, however both are chemicals and together both quite active.
    billy boy
    10th Mar 2019
    who cares, use it once every 3 months, do it all in between, with my hands, in the sink ;)
    10th Mar 2019
    Wash dishes...
    Paper plates are the go then give `em to the worms.
    Cat licks the pots clean....

    12th Mar 2019
    If you combine any acid, eg vinegar with a base, eg baking soda, all you are doing is producing a chemical reaction that results in an innocuous chemical that does squat as far as cleaning is concerned. Use vinegar or baking soda but never combine them unless you just want to waste money.

    The best way to keep a dishwasher clean is to follow the manufacturer's guide for operation, which includes using the correct powder and cleaning the filter screen after each use (or before the next if you like).

    A lot of people don't realise that they should be solidifying fat, wrapping and putting it into the garbage bin. It is essential NOT to put fats and scraps down the sink and NOT to put it into the dishwasher either.

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