The 5 Quickest, Easiest Ways to Help Your Dishwasher Clean Like It’s Brand New

Your dishwasher is constantly cleaning, so it has to be one of the most immaculate appliances in your home, right? Not enough.

With regular use, your machine – and its hidden parts – collects lumps of food, grease, limescale (that chalky-looking film you see from hard water), and undissolved detergent. These things can interfere with the way it cleans, says Lynn Redmile, product testing and review analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute’s cleaning lab.

Fortunately, with a few simple strategies and the right products, taking care of your machine is easy. Here’s what the experts recommend.

Once a month, use a dishwasher cleaner to remove grease buildup and mineral deposits.

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As mentioned, any build-up can lead to improper cleaning of your dishes or lead to food residue, which can make your dishwasher smelly and unsanitary.

To combat this, use a dishwasher cleaner, such as Finish® Dishwasher Cleaner, about once a month, says Redmile. The process takes little effort – just use as directed: set an empty machine on the hottest cycle, peel the sticker on the bottle cap and flip it over to the lowest basket, close the door and start the dish-washer. Over the course of the cycle, the cleaning solution tackles all of that grease and scale buildup, even on hard-to-reach parts of the machine like filters, spray arms and hoses.

Scrape or wipe down items before loading them.


Simply scrape food scraps from your is usually not necessary to pre-rinse if you are using a high quality detergent, such as Finish QUANTUM. This step dislodges any chunks of food that were clinging before the items went into the dishwasher, where the detergent takes care of the rest.

Aim all items in the center where the jet is strongest.

As a rule of thumb, always place the dirty side of any dish facing down or in the center of the machine to make sure water can reach it and clean it effectively, Redmile explains.

AT load the machine correctly, the plates should go on the lower basket with the dirty surfaces tilted where the water jet is strongest, usually the center of the basket. Pots, pots and pans should also be placed on the lower rack, tilted down for the best cleaning results. Glasses should go over the top rack and between the teeth of the rack – not above – to minimize water spots and to prevent them from shattering. If your dishwasher has a cutlery basket, place the forks with the tines facing up, the knives with the blade down, and the spoons alternating so that they do not fit into each other.

Avoid stacking items or blocking the spray arms.


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As tempting as it may be to stuff dishes into the dishwasher that won’t fit, resist the urge. You should never stack objects, because the water jet will not be able to reach (or clean) the dish on top, says Carolyn Forte, director of the Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Remember, “If the water can’t get to it, it won’t get clean,” she explains.

Clean the filter regularly.

If your dishwasher’s filter isn’t clean, you’ll have a hard time making your dishes as clean as they could be, says Redmile. And luckily, it’s not too difficult to do. The easiest way to keep it clean is to regularly use a dishwasher cleaner, like Finish. But between deep cleanings, get into the habit of removing the lower basket to find and remove any food scraps that may have fallen into the well under the lower spray arm.

It’s also a good idea – if your dishwasher has a removable filter – to quickly check it every now and then. On most models, simply unlock and remove it (which is usually located under the lower spray arm, although your owner’s manual may point you further) and rinse it under hot running water. , explains Forte. Then run over the mesh screen and plastic frame with a sponge or soft brush, such as an old toothbrush, to remove any grease or particles stuck in the crevices. Then just lock it in place.

Before calling for closure, you should also wipe down the edges of the door and the rubber gasket with a damp cloth or sponge to make sure no grease or food particles remain, Redmile explains.

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