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How to clean and disinfect a dishwasher naturally

Cleaning Hacks

Inside: Banish dishwasher smells with this simple DIY Dishwasher Cleaning hack. All natural and easy to do on a weeknight or before hosting a party.

Nothing is more gross than a smelly, hot dishwasher. Like basically nothing. The heat from the water and the elements, combined with tiny bits of food debris makes for unappetizing and odourous situations that can be hard to manage. 

We discovered that regular dishwasher maintenance includes keeping the inside of the machine as clean as possible. 

Why clean your dishwasher?

For one, it’s more sanitary. Imagine you run your dishes through it once a day and there are tiny food particles being swirled around with your clean dishes each time. The likelihood that bacteria is in there is quite high. So, just like cleaning anything else, the reason we do it is to prevent build up of bacteria and other nastiness. 

The other reason is to prevent wear and tear on the internal plumbing of the machine. I have a lot to say about the lifespan of today’s major appliances, but let’s just agree that keeping the literal plumbing running is a good way to extend the life of your appliance. Removing large pieces of dirt and debris on a regular basis is only a good thing. 

How to clean your dishwasher?

The question is HOW do you do it. You can’t easily disassemble a dishwasher or even pull it out (like you would with a fridge). You have to fight the smells and dirt using the power of the water and the heat! (Much like a self cleaning oven! By the way, if you’ve got grungy oven racks, check out this hack. It’s my fave). 

What to use to clean your dishwasher?

Certainly, you can buy liquid detergent that will clean your dishwasher pipes and plumbing while you clean your dishes. And you can even buy packets of cleaning agent that you can use in the bottom of the drum. But those are expensive and they are full of chemicals. Don’t get me wrong, I do use them about twice a year, but more regularly, I use this all-natural method to keep our dishwasher nice and sparkly clean. 

How to clean and disinfect a dishwasher naturally

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Easily clean your dishwasher and get rid of smells with this two-step cleaning hack!


  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • measuring cup


  1. Pour one cup of white vinegar into the measuring cup and place it on the top rack of your dishwasher.
  2. Remove any visible blockages to the drain in the dishwasher. (Wear gloves, this might be gross).
  3. Run the washer with just the measuring cup of vinegar in it on a HOT cycle.
  4. When it's cool and complete. sprinkle the bottom of the dishwasher drum with baking soda - using about 1/2 to 3/4 cup.
  5. Run the washer on another warm, short cycle.
  6. Finished! You can wipe down the drum if you feel there are baking soda streaks, but the smells will be gone and the drum disinfected.

Did you make this project?

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