4 DIY Dishwasher Cleaners to Keep Your Dishwasher Odor-Free

Become the dishwasher to your dishwasher with these DIY cleaning techniques.

Published March 13, 2023
woman emptying dishwasher

It feels so counterintuitive that something with 'washer' in the name would need to be washed itself. But dishwashers aren't perfect appliances, and they do require a deep cleaning every now and again. Thankfully, it's not the wild west of cleaning anymore where you had one harsh product meant to be used on everything. Instead, there are a ton of different DIY dishwasher cleaners you can try.

Treat Your Favorite Appliance to These DIY Dishwasher Cleaners

dirty dishes in dishwasher

We're spoiled. You don't know the true labor and pain of washing and drying dishes by hand until your dishwasher breaks. Well, you will if you don't properly clean your dishwasher every month. Don't be future you's worst nightmare and instead try these DIY dishwasher cleaning methods.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

When people want to use what they have on hand to clean something, baking soda and vinegar are the first things they reach for. If your dishwasher is starting to smell or you're seeing your dishes come out dirty, try using some baking soda and vinegar to whisk away the grime.

  1. Cover the bottom of your dishwasher with baking soda and let it sit for a few hours with the door closed.
  2. Pour 1 cup of distilled white vinegar into a dishwasher safe bowl or mug and put it on the top rack.
  3. Turn on the hottest cycle, and halfway through put the bowl or mug on the top rack.
  4. Resume the cycle and let it finish.
@carolina.mccauley Easiest way to deep clean your dishwasher #dishwasherhacks #cleaninghacks #homehackswithcarolina Nice To Meet Ya (Instrumental Version) [Originally Performed by Meghan Trainor & Nicki Minaj] - Elliot Van Coup

Run a Cycle With Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is acidic enough to fight the greasy particles leftover from your dishes, and it smells much better than vinegar. A quick way you can clean your dishwasher using lemon juice is:

  1. Pour 1 cup of lemon juice into a dishwasher-safe bowl or mug.
  2. Place the mug/bowl on the top rack.
  3. Run the dishwasher through a normal cycle.

Use Salt and Vinegar for a Deep Clean

Interestingly, salt is an abrasive material that you can add to your vinegar dishwasher baths that'll help cut at the grime lining your dishwasher's walls.

  1. Pour 1 cup of distilled white vinegar into a dishwasher safe bowl or mug and put it on the top rack.
  2. Add a tablespoon of salt to your vinegar.
  3. Put the bowl or mug on the top rack.
  4. Set the dishwasher for the hottest cycle and let it run through.

Make a Vinegar Spray to Clean the Exterior

While you're deep cleaning the inside, you might as well give a little TLC to the outside, too. Mixing a vinegar spray will work well to clean stainless steel and plastic dishwashers.

  • Mix 1 cup of vinegar with 3 cups of water.
  • Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
  • Spray the outside of the dishwasher door, and wipe down with a sponge.
  • Take a microfiber cloth and wipe away any excess.

Maintenance Tips for Keeping Your Dishwasher Clean

Of course, DIY dishwasher cleaners are there to help with the problem after it's gotten bad. But there are things you can do to prevent your dishwasher from getting gross. These are some important dishwasher maintenance things you should add to your cleaning routine.

  • Run your garbage disposal at least once a week. Since they're hooked up to the drain line, a clogged disposal can mess with your dishwasher's flow and make everything smell bad.
  • Pre-rinse dishes to help your filters last longer. The fewer particles the filters have to filter out, the longer they'll last.
  • Soak the dishwasher filters every so often. Almost everyone forgets dishwashers even have filters, so they're all probably pretty dirty. Look at the very bottom, remove them, and soak them once a week for a really deep clean.

A Clean Dishwasher Is a Long-Lasting Dishwasher

Every appliance needs some kind of maintenance, and it's hard to forget that the ones we use the most often deserve the greatest amount of care. Dishwashers are incredible cleaning tools that are their most efficient when they're clean. Yet, we're not quite to the high-tech level where our dishwashers are self-cleaning. But there are several different easy DIY dishwasher cleaners you can pull from the pantry to do the hard work for you.

4 DIY Dishwasher Cleaners to Keep Your Dishwasher Odor-Free