Created on: February 13, 2013
It's important to run the dishwasher through the following cleaning procedure once every couple of weeks, especially if it is heavily used. Food particles in a warm environment can breed germs, and keeping the dishwasher clean helps to produce clean dishes and keep the appliance in good working condition for many years.
Emptying the dishwasher
This is an obvious move when cleaning, though look carefully at the trays, as there may be fragments of food which can be removed at this stage. The trays will be cleaned by the vinegar, but the area which may be missed is the door seals and the door itself.
Cleaning the door area and hinges
Here, it may seem a little onerous, but it's worthwhile cleaning the seal with a small nailbrush or toothbrush designated for this job. Use mild detergent and scrub around the seal. The seal is made of a concertina folded rubber, and the worst part of this is that it gathers dirt mostly at the base of the door. Work around the seal with hot soapy water using the brush. Then open the door fully and examine the hinge area, and often food spills into this area and stays on the hinges. For that dirt which has hardened over a period of time, make a paste with baking soda, and scrub until the dirt softens.
Trays and interior drain
Now pull the base tray out and ensure that the drain area is not blocked by food debris. As this is at the base of the machine, this is an area vulnerable to dirt build up. It's possible that the same bowl of hot soapy water can be used for this area of the dishwasher.
Cleaning the front and outer areas
Add white vinegar to the mix of soapy water, making sure that it's still hot. With a soft lint free cloth, rung out carefully, wipe the outside case of the dishwasher. The vinegar adds an element of deodorizing to the process, and works to clean up the front of the dishwasher leaving a super shine. If the dishwasher is built into a unit, then clean the door area using the same method.
Cleaning the dishwasher thoroughly
In the case of cleaning the dishwasher, the fact that the only thing in the dishwasher is a container of vinegar isn't waste. In fact it helps because all those empty racks will get a great wash during the cycle the dishwasher goes through. Set the temperature on “high” and place a Pyrex bowl or dishwasher proof open topped bowl into the dishwasher and add to it a cup of white vinegar undiluted.
Close the dishwasher and turn it on, letting it go through the complete cycle. During this time, the vinegar will deodorize and clean the racks and insides of the dishwasher.
When to clean the dishwasher
This really depends upon the use of the dishwasher. Used on a regular basis, food particles are much more likely to become a problem and it's wise to clean the dishwasher in this manner at least once every two weeks.
The benefits of vinegar
Vinegar cleanses without harming the elements which are essential to the dishwasher. Bleach products may eventually wear down the surface of the rubber seal, whereas vinegar simply cleans it, leaving it in good condition.
When using a dishwasher, be careful to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the maintenance of the dishwasher. The cleaning method used above will help enormously to keep the dishwasher running smoothly and give the homeowner confidence that their food preparation and serving crockery and cutlery is being cleaned in a safe environment.
Learn more about this author, Rachelle de Bretagne.
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