Can You Use Vinegar to Clean a Dishwasher?

You can definitely use vinegar to clean a dishwasher but there’s a right and a wrong way to do this. We’re going to explain this a little further so that you understand how to effectively clean and deodorize your dishwasher using vinegar.

While vinegar is a natural deodorizer and will help to loosen a lot of grime and buildup in your dishwasher, it is also highly acidic and may damage some of the rubber gaskets and seals inside the machine if you use it the wrong way.

The Correct Way To Use Vinegar To Clean A Dishwasher

First and foremost, you should never add vinegar to the soap dispenser in your dishwasher. This is because you really don’t want the vinegar to spray all over the inside of your dishwasher and come into contact with parts that are easily damaged by the high acidity of vinegar.

Here’s the correct way to use vinegar to clean your dishwasher:

  • Add around 1 cup of vinegar to a dishwasher safe bowl, jug or large mug.
  • Put this bowl with the vinegar in the top rack of your dishwasher and make sure that it’s nestled securely and won’t tip over.
  • Run the otherwise empty dishwasher on a hot cycle.

This allows the vinegar to do its job without being sprayed all through your dishwasher. When the cycle is complete, the interior of your dishwasher should be nice and clean and there shouldn’t be any offensive odors remaining.

If you don’t like the smell of vinegar inside your dishwasher, you can add a couple of drops of peppermint or lemon essence into the vinegar for a lovely fresh clean smell.

You Can Also Clean The Racks And Filter Using Vinegar

It’s important to ensure that all the parts inside your dishwasher are cleaned every now and then in order to remove any food residue that may cause bacteria to grow.

You can give these items a deep clean by soaking them in some warm water that you’ve added 1 cup of vinegar to. To do this, just take all the racks, utensil holders and the filter out of your dishwasher.

Clean the filter first by running it under hot water and using a soft brush to dislodge any food particles. Then, fill your sink with warm water and add one cup of vinegar. Put the racks, the utensil holder and the filter into the sink and let them soak for around 30 minutes.

After the 30 minutes are up, rinse the racks, utensil holder and filter under hot water and place them back into the dishwasher.

Use Baking Soda To Freshen Up Your Dishwasher

After you’ve given your dishwasher a deep clean with the vinegar, you can freshen it up even further by using some baking soda. To do this, you want to remove all the racks and sprinkle one cup of baking soda around the bottom of your dishwasher.

Run the dishwasher again, but this time, only use a short cycle. When the cycle has finished, your dishwasher should be sparkling clean.

If possible, leave the door open overnight in order to let the machine air dry completely.

Don’t Forget To Clean The Outer Surfaces Of Your Dishwasher

After some time, the outer surfaces of your dishwasher can become dirty and will need a good clean. You can make your own cleaning agent by mixing some water with a few drops of dish soap and some white vinegar.

Use a clean microfiber cloth and dip it into your homemade cleaning solution. Use this to wipe over all the outer surfaces of your dishwasher. You might even want to wipe down the interior of the door and even the walls of your dishwasher with this solution. Don’t forget to wipe fingermarks off the control panel as well.

Once you’ve wiped over all the surfaces, rinse the cloth out well and then use it to rinse off any of the cleaning solution for a dishwasher that gleams and shines.

What About The Spray Arms And The Hoses?

Although the deep cleaning with the vinegar and then the baking soda should have removed any remaining food residues, it’s also a good idea to check the spray arms and the outlet hose to ensure that they’re free from any debris.

You can use an old toothbrush or even a toothpick to dislodge any stubborn bits of food that may have become lodged in these.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will vinegar damage your dishwasher?

If you use the vinegar in the correct way as described above, it should not damage your dishwasher. However, be aware that prolonged exposure to vinegar could dry out the rubber seals and cause them to crack. This could result in the dishwasher leaking all over your kitchen floor so take care when using vinegar to clean your dishwasher.

How often should I run vinegar through my dishwasher?

To ensure that your dishwasher is safe from any damage, only run vinegar through it once every six months. You can also purchase special dishwasher cleaner that you can safely use on a monthly basis if you wish.

Do you have to rinse after using vinegar to deep clean your dishwasher?

It’s not necessary to rinse your dishwasher after using vinegar. However, if you’re using a vinegar solution to wipe away grime and dirt, then definitely give it a rinse with clean water once you’ve finished.

Final Thoughts

You can use vinegar to give your dishwasher a deep clean but keep in mind that the high acid level of the vinegar may damage some of the rubber parts in your machine. That’s why you should only do this once every six months.

It’s also important to remember that you should never put vinegar into the soap dispenser of your dishwasher because you don’t want the acidic solution spraying all over your machine. This could easily cause damage to the rubber seals and you might end up with a flooded kitchen.

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