Nothing gets dishes and utensils cleaner than a properly maintained dishwasher. By blasting dishes with a high-pressure stream of hot water and baking them dry, dishwashers not only clean but sanitize cups, plates, and flatware.
While most people take their dishwashers for granted, the machines are complicated with many parts that work together. A blend of water and detergent is circulated by a pump. Water is sprayed on dishes by one or more rotating spray arms. More hot water is provided for a rinse and a heating element dries the dishes. If any parts are dirty or clogged, dishes will not be properly cleaned. This means regular maintenance is required to keep a dishwasher in tip top shape.
The first part of dishwasher maintenance is the easiest: simply use the machine on a regular basis. Running a dishwasher every day or every other day carries off food debris and keeps the drain open. The second tip is a matter of habit. Scrape those plates so large chunks of food don’t enter the system. Dishes don’t need to be thoroughly washed before being placed in a dishwasher but should be free of food chunks large enough to clog up the works.
The third tip is less than fun but necessary for efficient dishwashing. At least once a week clean out drain trap at the bottom of the dishwasher. Remove the bottom rack, gently move the sprayer out of the way, and use a clean sponge to remove debris.
The fourth hint for keeping those dishes sparkling clean involves regular scrubbing of dishwasher surfaces. Squeeze a little cream cleanser, like Soft Scrub with Bleach Cleanser, onto a sponge and wipe down the rubber seal around the door, the flatware basket, and the soap door. Soft Scrub kills 99.9% of the smelly mold and mildew on your dishwasher. After you’re done add a cup of white vinegar to the bottom of the empty dishwasher. Run it on the normal cycle and your appliance will smell as fresh as a spring day.