Should You Clean Your Dishwasher with Vinegar?

    Does Your Dishwasher Smell Bad? Worried about cleaning baby bottles in a dirty dishwasher?  Here’s how to clean your dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda to safely, naturally, and effectively, remove all those funky smells.

    What is the Best Way to Clean a Dishwasher?

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    You can purchase specialized cleansing agents for dishwashers. However, these products are often expensive, and can contain harsh chemicals which can corrode the seals and internal parts of the machine.

    The easiest, safest way to effectively clean your dishwasher is to use safe products you already have in your house: white vinegar and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).

    Vinegar helps with two big problems that often plague dishwashers: smells and clogs, which can build up inside the dishwasher from all those loads of dirty dishes.

    Cleaning your dishwasher with vinegar can safely:

    • Dissolve grease that coats the inside walls
    • Clear away old detergent build-up
    • Dissolve mineral deposits from hard water
    • Neutralize food odors

    After cleaning with vinegar, baking soda absorbs any leftover musty smells, and can also act as a mild disinfectant. Baking soda discourages the growth of bacteria and is also an effective fungicide against some organisms.

    How to Safely Clean a Dishwasher With Vinegar

    Part I: Vinegar Cycle

    1. Start with an empty dishwasher.
    2. Clean out the trap at the bottom of your dishwasher. (See your manufacturer’s instructions.)
      • Tip: You should clean this trap on a routine basis.
    3. Fill a dishwasher-safe container (like a bowl), with 2 cups of white vinegar. Place the container right side up on the center rack.
    4. Run the dishwasher on a regular hot cycle.

    Your dishwasher will now be grime and grease free!  Continue on, if any lingering smells remain.

    Part II: Baking Soda Cycle

    1. Sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher.
    2. Run the dishwasher on a short cycle.

    Just like in your refrigerator, baking soda will absorb any lingering odors.

    If your dishwasher was in really bad shape, and you may notice excessive mold or mildew on the inside seals.  While vinegar can kill most mold and mildew, but if too much has built up, you may want to consider purchasing one of those expensive cleaners, or repeating the cycles again.

    But whatever you do, do NOT use bleach in a stainless steel dishwasher.