Say so long to stinky dishwasher smells with this cleaning strategy.

By Marla Christiansen
Updated August 28, 2018
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Man loading a dishwasher in kitchen
Credit: Dean Mitchell/Getty Images

The dishwasher is probably one of the hardest-working appliances in your home, but when it comes to maintenance, it's often neglected. With hot, soapy water running through its system multiple times a week, it’s easy to forget that a dishwasher has one of the dirtiest jobs. Knowing how to clean a dishwasher will not only keep it operating efficiently, but it will prevent the spread of bacteria, fungus, and odors. Despite how well you rinse your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher (learn the right way to load a dishwasher), it’s only a matter of time before food particles, grease, and soap scum begin to build up inside.

Learning how to clean a dishwasher can save you from expensive repairs down the line and even extend the life of this handy appliance. We reached out to the pros at Samsung to get some expert advice on how to clean a dishwasher—follow their favorite method, below.

What You'll Need

  • Dishcloth
  • Dishwasher soap
  • 8 ounces white vinegar

Follow These Steps

These steps should be performed at least once a month to keep your dishwasher running smoothly.

  1. Wipe down the interior of your dishwasher using a wet dishcloth to remove any dirt or food particles inside the dishwasher or on the inner part of the door.
  2. Fill the detergent dispenser with dishwasher soap. Turn the cutlery pad over and then run the dishwasher empty. Choose the Self Clean option if it is available to you.
  3. To remove white spots and odors, run the Self Clean option with the dishwasher empty and without detergent until it flushes. Then, interrupt the cycle and put an 8-ounce cup of white vinegar into the lower basket. Close the dishwasher and let the cycle finish. For models without the Self Clean option, the Normal option can be used.
  4. Clean the filters once a month and check the nozzles if you notice a change in washing performance. Use a soft brush and water to remove any trapped particles. When removing and re-installing the filter and nozzle, make sure to refer to the user manual.

If you're on a cleaning spree, we've also got the tricks for how to clean a Keurig and how to clean your entire kitchen, whether you have 15 minutes or all weekend.