How To Clean The Bottom Of A Dishwasher

How To Clean the Bottom of a Dishwasher

how to clean the bottom of a dishwasher

Cleaning the bottom of your dishwasher is a forgotten but necessary step in keeping your dishwasher in peak condition. Keep reading for the ultimate guide on how to give your dishwasher a deep clean.

Supplies You’ll Need

There are a few supplies you will need to complete a deep clean on your modern dishwasher. They include:

Warm Water

Use warm soapy water to be sure that you get rid of any food residue in the dishwasher.

Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar acts as a cleaning agent that is abrasive enough to get rid of stains and soap scum but still gentle enough to be used as a dishwasher cleaner.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is the perfect cleaning agent to rid your dishwasher of unwanted smells and residues.

Toothpick or Fine-Tipped Tool

Using a fine-tipped tool or a toothpick is essential when cleaning crevices and small pieces of your dishwasher, such as a dishwasher filter or utensil holder.


When you use a toothbrush as your scrubbing tool, you get into the small areas that are hard to reach with your average scrub brush. It is also great for scrubbing away any built-up detergent.

Soft Cloth

A soft cloth will be your best friend when cleaning your dishwasher. This tool is perfect for gently cleaning and drying small, delicate pieces of your appliance, like the utensil holder.

Alternately, you can use a paper towel.

Rubber Gloves

Rubber gloves are perfect for protecting your hands and nails when using any cleaning agent. It is also great for keeping unwanted mold, mildew, and food debris from getting on your hands.

Steps for Cleaning a Dishwasher

Now that you have your tools for a deep clean, here are the five steps to a clean dishwasher.

1. Remove Everything in the Dishwasher

The first step is to remove all of the parts of the dishwasher, which include all the racks, holders, and filters. Set them aside and put them in a vinegar and warm, soapy water bath in your sink to start the cleaning process.

2. Clean Out all Food Debris and Food Particles

Next, put on your gloves and grab your toothpick and toothbrush. Use these tools to remove any particles and debris of food from areas in the dishwasher that may be clogged.

3. Run a Wash Cycle with Hot water and White Vinegar

After removing the leftover food from the washer, do a wash cycle with hot water and white vinegar.

Put one cup of vinegar in a bowl you usually use in the dishwasher and leave it on the dishwasher floor. Then do one cycle on hot water.

4. Run a Cycle with Baking Soda

After completing the first cycle, run another wash cycle with baking soda. Remove the vinegar bowl and put baking soda on the floor of the washer. Run a second, short cycle. This should remove any unwanted stains or odors.

5. Clean the Dishwasher Door and Seal

Clean the dishwasher door and seal with a cleaner that suits your door type. If it’s stainless steel, use a cleaner specific to stainless steel.

Otherwise you can use a general all-purpose cleaner for this. Wipe down the control panels with a wet cloth.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?

It’s a good idea to clean your dishwasher every six months. Besides this twice-yearly cleaning, use good dishwasher hygiene practices.

One example of that is running the sanitizing cycle once per month and rinsing dirty dishes before loading them.

Can You Put Vinegar and Baking Soda in the Dishwasher at the Same Time?

can you put vinegar and baking soda in the dishwasher at the same time

Do not use vinegar and baking soda in the dishwasher at the same time. They can foam up badly and cause a mess!

Running two separate cycles is necessary. Baking soda should be run with a short cycle, and vinegar should run with a normal, hot cycle.

How Do You Clean a Dishwasher’s Drain Trap?

how do you clean a moldy dishwasher

The best way to clean a dishwasher’s drain trap, also called a drain hose or drain tube, is to let a solution of vinegar, baking soda, and water sit in the basket for about 15 minutes.

When time’s up rinse it thoroughly with warm water.

How Do You Clean a Moldy Dishwasher?

how do you clean a dishwashers drain trap

To clean a moldy dishwasher, follow the same steps as a normal deep cleaning of your dishwasher but be sure to remove the mold from the washer. Don’t reuse the items you used to clean with the same tools you used to remove the mold.

Baking soda and vinegar help with removing mold from appliances.

What Is the Brown Gunk in My Dishwasher?

what is the brown gunk in my dishwasher

Brown residue is likely food residue or mold. Scrub these areas and remove every component of the dishwasher to soak separately in the sink. Brown “gunk” often accumulates on the filters in the dishwasher.

James Marshall
About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »