|Preparation||How do I know if my dishwasher needs a clean?|
|Running the cleaning cycle||How often does it need cleaning?|
|Maintaining the dishwasher|
Before you begin, check to make sure you have:
- Dishwasher cleaning product (chemical cleaners)/ a bottle of distilled white vinegar
- Dishwasher salts
- A clean, damp cloth, or toothbrush
- Toothpicks/ cotton-buds
Wait until the dishwasher has just finished a cleaning cycle, then:
- Once the dishwasher is empty remove the cutlery drawer. The drawer can be washed separately in the sink in a bowl of soapy water.
- Take a quick look inside the dishwasher - check that the spinning arms are free to spin around.
- Check to see if the water spouts/nozzles on the arms are clogged.
- If they are, wet the toothbrush in some clean, warm water - then gently scrub away the debris.
- If the toothbrush doesn't clear the dirt, you can use a moistened cotton-bud, or some toothpicks to get into the cracks. Please note: be gentle with the toothpicks - they can snap off.
- Using the damp cloth, wipe around the edges of the door (and any other place where dirt builds up) using a gentle antibacterial spray. This area doesn't get washed during the dishwashing cycle, and can easily collect dirt. Use the toothbrush/cotton buds on any hard-to-reach areas.
- Take out the racks and place them to one side. Then, if your filter is detachable (check your manual for details) take out the filter. The filter can be found in the dishwasher floor, directly beneath the bottom shelf.
- Take out any solid food waste by hand - especially broken glass, plates or sections of plastic wrapper.
- Using the antibacterial cloth, wipe around the filter, and remove any remaining food waste using the cotton buds in hard to get to nooks and crannies. Don't leave behind any cotton-wool from the buds - this will clog up the dishwasher's filter.
- Finally; wipe the outside of the dishwasher using an anti-bacterial spray - the buttons are the most important part.
To run the cycle:
- If you are using distilled white vinegar: pour the vinegar into a clean cup on the top shelf of the dishwasher, then close the door and run the cycle.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions if you are using a special dishwasher cleaning product: pour the powder into the powder drawer as you would on a normal wash.
- Run the dishwasher on the shortest, hottest cycle, to remove any debris you may have missed.
- Leave the door open for 30 minutes to dry out the insides; then run another cycle to clear the dishwasher of the vinegar.
- Try to air the dishwasher after each cycle - this keeps mould at bay
- Keep the salt-dispenser drawer topped up. If you aren't sure whether you need dishwasher salt, read this Knowhow article.
- Avoid products which contain bleach if your dishwasher has a stainless-steel interior
- Keep an eye out for patches of rust - these can do real damage to your machine. Use a special rust-remover to minimize the damage.
- If the dishwasher shelves are particularly rusty, you can replace them through a spare parts supplier. There are also dishwasher shelf repair kits available for this job.
- Use a dishwasher thermometer to check the cycle water is heating properly - cold water won't clean dishes.
Any of the following could be a sign:
- Cutlery/crockery leaves cycle covered with food residue
- Rusty plates
- Smelly interior
- The cleanliness of the filter will be a good indication of how often you need to clean your dishwasher.
- Check it again one month after cleaning, to see how much waste has built up since the last time.
- As a general rule, once a month should be absolutely fine - it depends on how often you use your dishwasher.