Soap up to keep your dishwasher in top condition

It’s one of the hardest working appliances in our houses, but who is washing the dishwasher properly?

Many people incorrectly assume that as its main job is washing things, it doesn’t require too much attention. Well, your sink is also used for washing things and that can be a mess with one wash, so it’s time to give your dishwasher some love.

First up, clean the filter.

This is a disgusting job, no matter how often you do it. Fully remove it from the dishwasher and scrub it thoroughly with a brush and detergent. If it’s been a while, try not to gag.

Wipe out the filter cavity if possible.

For really filthy units, you may have to soak the filter in hot soapy water. Remind yourself to never let it get this bad again.

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I do it at the first of every month and I also run a cleaning cycle, which sounds hard, but your washer can do it for you.

You can either chuck a commercial cleaning tablet in the machine and run it on its hottest longest cycle, or for a greener option, sprinkle a generous amount of bicarb soda in the bottom and delicately wedge a bowl of vinegar in the top rack and run a cycle.

However, before you go down the DIY route, check the manufacturer’s specs for putting vinegar in your machine.

If this seems all too hard, there are also cleaning tablets that can be used while the machine is doing a normal cycle as well.

Clean the interior door and seals. A quick wipe with a soft, damp cloth should be enough. Add a little liquid detergent if they need more. The seal at the bottom of the door is generally the most icky, so try to give it a wipe every time you use the machine.

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If you can remove the spray arms, take them off and give them a good scrub. Little bits of food easily get stuck in there and can damage your washer’s efficiency.

Don’t go in cold though, as they are some of the machine’s most delicate parts, check with the manufacturer’s instructions if it’s even possible and how to do it if you can.

Keep the door ajar as much as possible. My husband and I are waging a passive-aggressive war with this one. I like it ajar, he walks past and closes it every time. Turns out I’m right, leaving it open, even just a little bit, will air it out, inhibit mould and help the seals stay in shape.

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And keep it running. Use it at least once a week, even if it’s not full, to keep the motor seals working.

If you have a stainless-steel unit, it will also require a bit more attention.

For simple fingerprints and smudges, use a glass cleaner wipe it with a soft damp cloth in the direction of the gain. For something a bit more stubborn, use soapy water with a very gentle brush. Do not use a hard brush or abrasive cleaners or bleach, as all will damage the surface.

Wipe off the moisture and then buff in the direction of the grain with baby oil or WD40, I’m not kidding, this will make it shine.

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