Monday, 25 February 2013

Cleaning a Dishwasher with Vinegar and Baking Soda

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I've been meaning to clean my dishwasher for ages, but because my dishwasher was working fine I kept putting it off and just turned a blind eye to the unattractive gunk around the door, (because who can see that when the door is closed anyway?) But clearly some cosmic force thought that I should put my backside into gear and get the job done, because this morning when I opened the dishwasher everything was dirtier than when I'd put it in. Yep, the drain was clogged - not badly, but enough that there was too much dirty water swilling around during the wash cycle. Luckily I had white vinegar and some baking soda in the cupboard, which if you saw my cleaning limescale post you will know are my cleaning staples. 

Primarily, this post covers how to clean a dishwasher drain but since I mentioned a general clean was on my to do list here is a lovely "before" photo of the door hinges.

Before tackling the drain I thought I might as well give the dishwasher a good scrub first. Inside was fine - a small miracle given the hard water in our area - but around the door was a bit eewww. Fortunately the muck came off with a little elbow grease, a scourer and some soap. 

Then it was time to clean out the drain. Really you should do this on a monthly basis to maintain optimal cleaning, especially if your kitchen is cursed with rubbish pipes like mine. I don't remember the last time I did this, hence the dirty dishes problem. 

To clean a dishwasher drain you will first need half a cup of baking soda. Add a little bit of water so that it is liquid enough to pour (but not too much) and tip it into the drain. Chase this up with half a cup of white vinegar. It will bubble up and fizz.

I left it for about 15 minutes to do its job then poured a kettle full of boiling water down the drain to clear away the baking soda and vinegar. 

To complete the cleaning process I ran the empty dishwasher through a normal cycle with a tub of white vinegar on the top shelf. I picked up this little tip from Clean and Scentsible

And of course no cleaning post would be complete without some sparkly after pictures!

Hopefully I can make a habit of cleaning the dishwasher drain on a monthly basis, to help keep my kitchen pipes happy and working efficiently. You can use baking soda and white vinegar to clean your sink and shower drains too. 


  1. Vinegar and baking soda are the BEST!
    Thanks for showing me your before and after pictures, they are very inspirational... :)

    hugs x

  2. Doing that tomorrow! Thank you! My dishwasher is working but there's some suspicious looking gunky stuff around the edges of the dishwasher door. Now if you want to clean your dryer vent I just posted on that! Seems Spring Cleaning is in the air! LOL!

    1. There is definitely something about this time of year that makes me want to deep clean my home!

  3. I'm prepping my house for sale and this will be on my to do list for sure! Thanks for sharing the tips!
    Jen @ Noting Grace

  4. Thanks for sharing at my party! My dishwasher needs this!
    Have a great week.
    House on the Way

  5. Good to know! I probably should clean my dishwasher now!

  6. thanks! my dishwasher is a bit dirty now. I do love the baking soda and vinegar trick for drains, I've been doing that one for years :)

  7. Awesome! I love cleaning with baking soda and vinegar, it works so well on so many things!

  8. Isn't it odd to find something that's constantly exposed to soap and water still requires a thorough cleaning? My dishwasher hinges get frighteningly dirty, too.

    If you haven't already, I'd love if you'd come join my How To Tuesday link party, too.

  9. I just hopped on the band wagon too, I need to do this! Thanks for the inspiring post!

  10. Hi...Is it ok to put it down the garbage disposal drain? Thought this was great article.

    1. Yes, it is effective for cleaning any sort of drain :)

  11. Great post. I live in Florida and we have THE hardest water ever! My trick to clean the hard water scale from the dishwasher? One packet of unsweetened lemonade Coolaid! Just dump in the soap cup and run the empty dishwasher. Comes out sparkling clean.

  12. I use vinegar and baking soda in my kitchen sink every time it starts to drain a little slow but have never thought to put it in the dish washer. What a great idea. I'm going to do this as soon as I get home from work. Thanks

  13. Thank you.

    I found your page through searching for ways to clean a dishwasher.

    I've noticed a funky smell coming from ours. The first time I just opened up the inside and cleaned the screens and stuff on the outside...then ran a cycle using BasicH. It seemed to work OK - but I do like the idea of cleaning the drain with the vinegar and soda.

    I might also try adding some BasicG to our final cycle when cleaning.

    Thanks for the tips! :)


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