Homemade Dishwasher Cleaner: Know The Best Technique

Homemade Dishwasher Cleaner

Anyone would admit that a dishwasher is necessary and important at home. It is an essential thing without which handling household work would be way more difficult. It is always relaxing and better to put dishes in the dishwasher rather than washing them by hand. 

But what happens when the dishwasher is dirty? Though dishwashers don’t get dirty easily, you should clean them at least twice a year so that it functions well and keeps cleaning the dishes efficiently. Now, if cleaning the dishwasher seems like a hassle to you, don’t worry. I am here to help you out!

To help you out with cleaning a dishwasher, I am here to present you with a homemade dishwasher cleaner and an easy technique to use it. You just need some ingredients that are most likely there in your storeroom and need to follow some steps to accomplish the task! So, let’s get started:

5 Easy Steps To Use Homemade Dishwasher Cleaner:

In this part, I will not only tell you the process of making a dishwasher cleaner at home but also show how you should apply it to get the best result. Both processes are important. You should make the cleaner and apply it carefully and properly to get the best cleaning outcome. 

So, here are the 5 steps of making and using homemade dishwasher cleaner:

Step 1: Separate The Parts of The Dishwasher: 

Before you start cleaning, you need to separate the parts of the dishwasher. The cleaning is going to be deep and thorough. So, to clean each inch and corner of the dishwasher, you need to unscrew the sections and detach them. 

First, remove the filter. Some filters may get off the dishwasher with a twist but others would need to be unscrewed. Do whatever is required and remove the filter first. 

After that, take out the racks and utensil holders carefully. Separate the parts carefully and store the screws cautiously so that you don’t lose them. Now take all the separated parts in a large bucket or sink.

Now comes the first step of making homemade dishwasher cleaner. Dilute a cup of vinegar in a bucket or sink of warm water and dip the separated parts in this solution. Let them get under the water level. Now, wait for 30 minutes to let the solution work on the dirty dishwasher parts. 

Step 2: Clean the Dishwasher Parts That Are Not Separated: 

You now need to focus on the inner part of the dishwasher. While the diluted vinegar is working on the filter, racks, and utensil holders, you have to clean the debris from the inside of the dishwasher. 

Wipe the side arms, hinges, spray arm, tub, pump, motor, and drain hose with a soft microfiber cloth to clean the loose debris. The corners and sides of the dishwasher should be wiped off cautiously. Wipe with soft hands so that you don’t leave any scratch. Use a microfiber cloth as it is soft. 

The holes in the dishwasher filter, dispenser, and water spray may have a considerable amount of dirt that can even clog the pores. To clean the pores, use a toothpick and toothbrush to pick and brush off the dirt and food residues. Clean the tiny crevices with a toothpick so that no residue of food or dirt gets settled on them. If the pores remain clogged, it would hamper the activity of the dishwasher. 

Step 3: Give A Vinegar Water Bath To The Dishwasher: 

Now, you have to run vinegar and water through the dishwasher for thorough cleaning. As you can’t separate some of the parts of the dishwasher, you need to give a bath differently. You do that by turning on the dishwasher just as you do while cleaning the dishes. But here, there will be no dishes and the entire process will clean the interior of the dishwasher. 

To do this, put 1 cup of white vinegar in the dishwasher-safe bowl. Place it at the bottom of the dishwasher. Then run the dishwasher in the hot water cycle by setting it up. Now let the vinegar and warm water do the job. Vinegar is excellent to loosen up and break the stubborn dirt, grease, foam of the soap, food residue, etc. It is the easiest way to deep clean the interior. 

Step 4: Do Another Bath With Baking Soda: 

Now if the dishwasher is still not clean, you need to treat it with baking soda. Baking soda not only cleans the dirt but also disinfects the interior. And to maintain hygiene, disinfecting the interior is necessary. 

To do so, take out the dishwasher-safe bowl and spread some baking soda on it. Now place the bowl again at the bottom. Now run the dishwasher on the hot water cycle once again. Keep the cycle short. 

Baking soda would remove the stains and stubborn grease and debris from the interior. Besides, it would kill the germs and make it more hygienic. Also, the dishwasher would smell fresh after treating it with baking soda.

Don’t skip this part if you see your dishwasher clean after the 3rd step. For deep cleaning and disinfecting, this step is mandatory and the results are amazing!

Step 5: Clean The Outer Door Of The Dishwasher: 

Now that you have completed cleaning the chambers, racks, and the entire interior, you have to focus on cleaning the outer door. The outer door of the dishwasher is generally made of stainless steel. So, grab a cleaner that is perfect for stainless steel. However, since we are talking about homemade cleaners, why not make a cleaner at home? 

Mix dishwashing soap, white vinegar, and water to make an excellent cleaner. This cleaner is not only suitable for stainless steel but any type of dishwasher surface. 

After making this solution, wet a microfiber cloth in this, strain the water, and wipe off the door with the cloth towards the direction of the grain. Besides wiping the door, consider wiping the handles, control panel, and other outer surfaces with the wet microfiber cloth. Now, use a soft and dry microfiber cloth to wipe off the extra water and give a shiny and clean surface. 

The last step is to take out the racks and utensil holders from the solution (recall step 1) and wipe them off with a dry cloth. After all the parts have been cleaned, put the separated parts together in place and reset the dishwasher.

How Do You Make Homemade Dishwasher Cleaners?

To make homemade dishwasher cleaner, you would need ingredients that are probably there in your storeroom. 

You need white vinegar and baking soda to make the homemade dishwasher cleaner. Remember that you should not mix these two ingredients. They work separately on the dishwasher. First, you treat the dishwasher with vinegar, and then the baking soda is used. 

If you don’t have white vinegar, you can use lemon juice or unsweetened lemonade to clean the dishwasher. 

Best DIY Homemade Dishwasher Cleaner Recipe (With Cost Chart):

The most common dishwasher cleaner recipe is to use vinegar to clean the interior and then using baking soda to give the finishing touch. You need warm water to aid the process. 

However, an alternative way is to use lemon juice or unsweetened lemonade. These ingredients have acid that cleanses the dishwasher deeply and thoroughly. 

Here is a list of ingredients with the cost of each item. You need to follow this chart to make a perfect DIY homemade dishwasher cleaner: 

Require Ingredients AmountCost
Vinegar1 cup$0.50
Baking Soda1 cup $0.20
Lemon Juice3 lemons $0.35
Lemonade Packet 3 small packets$0.50

Related Questions

List Of Ingredients Required for Using Homemade Dishwasher Cleaner: 

Here is a list of materials and ingredients needed to make the dishwasher cleaner and clean it: 

  • Warm water,
  • White Vinegar,
  • Baking Soda,
  • Toothbrush,
  • Microfiber cloth,
  • Rubber gloves,
  • Toothpick,
  • Hand Gloves.

If you finish gathering the materials, then let me begin with the procedure. What do you say? 

Do You Really Need to Clean Your Dishwasher? 

Cleaning the dishwasher is important. You may think that since the dishwasher is functioning fine and giving clean dishes, you don’t need to clean it. But this is a wrong idea. There must be clogs, grease, and dirt that you can’t see from outside. This dirt can contaminate the dishes and it is very unhygienic to keep the dishwasher dirty. Also, the longevity of the appliance would be compromised if you don’t clean it. 

It is necessary to clean dishwashers to keep the interior and exterior hygienic and germ-free. Cleaning is important because, with time, dirt, grease, and debris can get stuck on the pores and filters. Also, the racks and dish holders can get stains and watermarks. If you don’t clean them then the marks would settle on them. Also, clogged and dirty dishwashers can’t function well. This is why cleaning the dishwasher is necessary. 

Moreover, when you can make homemade dishwasher cleaner easily with vinegar and baking soda, what is stopping you from cleaning it only twice a year? When it is this easy, what are you waiting for? Maintain hygiene and increase the life of the dishwasher by cleaning it. 

What Are The Ingredients For Making Homemade Dishwasher Cleaner?

If you want to deep clean your dishwasher using homemade recipes, the best ingredients that are easily available and useful are vinegar and baking soda. Only these two ingredients can give you amazing results. 

Vinegar is an excellent mild acidic agent that breaks grease, loosens up dirt and debris from surfaces, and melts food residues. It loosens up all the dirt from the dishwasher. And when you run the dishwasher on a hot water cycle with vinegar, all the dirt and debris are cleared out. Thus the dishwasher becomes free of debris, food residues, and grease. 

But to disinfect the dishwasher, make it smell fresh, and remove stains, and give a shiny effect, you need to apply baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda in the safe bowl and run a water cycle again. Baking soda is what brings shine, kills germs, and puts a polished touch on the dishwasher. 

Therefore, the best ingredients for making homemade dishwasher cleaner are vinegar and baking soda. These two ingredients work like magic and would suffice!

Is Bleach A Good Homemade Dishwasher Cleaner?

Generally, vinegar and baking soda are used to clean dishwashers. These two ingredients are enough to clean the dirt and residue and give a fresh-smelling and shiny dishwasher. But some people may consider cleaning the dishwasher with bleach. 

I can’t disagree with the fact that bleach is an excellent agent to disinfect the interior and exterior of the dishwasher. But is it the best thing to use? No. It surely does kill molds and mildew and gives a shine to the dishwasher, but it can be harmful too. 

If you have a dishwasher made of stainless steel, you have to strictly avoid using bleach to clean it. If you use bleach to clean a stainless steel dishwasher, it would corrode the surfaces. It would severely affect the longevity of the dishwasher and the shine would go away. It would become fragile due to corrosion. 

What I mean is bleach is too harsh for a dishwasher especially when it is made of stainless steel. You don’t really need bleach to clean a dishwasher. But if you still rely on it, you should not apply it to stainless steel. 

However, my recommendation is not to use a harsh agent like bleach on your dishwasher. Vinegar and baking soda would suffice.

Can You Put Vinegar In A Stainless Steel Dishwasher? 

Vinegar is the best ingredient to clean and dishwasher. It is a mild acidic agent that deeply cleans the dishwasher without burning or corroding the surface. And when it comes to cleaning a stainless steel dishwasher, vinegar is one of the best ingredients to use. 

Vinegar is excellent for cleaning stainless steel dishwashers. However, you must not put extra vinegar for cleaning the stainless steel dishwasher. Put only a cup of vinegar and run a hot water cycle. Dilution of the vinegar is always necessary as pure vinegar can be harsh on the surface. This is why running water is necessary. 

What’s The Best Way To Clean A Stainless Steel Dishwasher? 

The best way to clean a stainless steel dishwasher is to put vinegar in the safe bowl and run a hot water cycle. The hot water cycle makes the vinegar reach all the corners of the dishwasher and clean the dishwasher thoroughly. 

Using vinegar is always the best way as vinegar loosens up dirt, grease, debris, and food residues cleaning the pores and filters thoroughly. It makes the task easier and faster and the hot water cycle aids the process. 

To get the best result, use baking soda and run the hot water cycle once again. This would help the odor to go away and kill the germs and bacteria. 

Can you wash dishes in the dishwasher without soap?

Most dishwashers can conveniently clean dishes without soap. No detergent is required to deeply clean dishes as the dishwasher already has a system for that. 

Food items are mostly water-soluble and as hot water is used to clean the dishes in the dishwasher, no detergent is required to deeply clean the dishes. Also, the dishwashers have a wash cycle and a rinse cycle. These two systems are enough to clean the dishes and remove all food residues from them. Hence, you can wash dishes in the dishwasher without soap. 

Why Won’t Your Dishwasher Clean Properly?

If you see that the dishwasher is not cleaning the dishes properly, it is giving a sign that the dishwasher needs to be cleaned. 

When the filters and water spray pores get clogged with dirt and food residues, they can’t function properly. The whole system gets disrupted and that is when they fail to clean the dishes properly. 

So, if you see that your dishwasher is not cleaning dishes properly, you need to clean the dishwasher thoroughly to let it function well. 

What Other Than Vinegar Can Be Used As A Homemade Dishwasher Cleaner? 

You may not always have vinegar at home. So, what are you going to do then? Remember that vinegar contains citric acid which is the main thing that cleans and breaks the dirt, grease, and food residues. Now, what do you have at home that has natural citric acid? Lemon maybe? Yes. Lemon it is!

Lemon is an excellent agent not only to clean dirt but also to bring back the shine. White vinegar doesn’t really remove water stains, lemon can do that as well. It also gives a fresh smell to the dishwasher. However, remember using baking soda for a better result. 

You can use unsweetened lemonade mix in the dishwasher-safe bowl. Pour a packet of lemonade mix into the bowl and run the dishwasher in a hot water cycle. You can use fresh lemon juice to do this too. Make a cup of lemon juice and pour it into the safe bowl. Let it for a hot water cycle then. 

After this, you won’t see any dirt, residues, or grease in the dishwasher. Also, you would get a fresh smell. Still, if you want a better result, use baking soda and run the hot water cycle once again. This would bring back the shine in the dishwasher and kill all the germs. 

How Frequently Should You Use A Homemade Dishwasher Cleaner?

Most people use dishwashers daily. When an appliance is working daily, you can assume that it gets dirty. Thankfully, you don’t need to clean it every day or once a month because the system keeps doing the basic cleaning. But to make it work efficiently and get clean dishes for years, you need to deep clean the dishwasher. 

Ideally, you should clean the dishwasher twice a year. It is super convenient, isn’t it? If you deep clean the dishwasher only twice a year, you can keep it function smoothly for years without any disturbance or difficulties. Cleaning the clogs, dirt, and food residue to open up the pores, filters, and clean the surfaces would keep the dishwasher in a good condition. 

However, if your dishwasher contains a self-sanitizing system, run it once a month. This is given in the dishwasher to clean only. It uses hot water for a long time in the dishwasher killing 99% of germs. But if your dishwasher doesn’t have this system, use a foaming tablet once in two months for basic cleaning and killing the germs. Though you can skip this, it would keep the dishwasher hygienic. 

What Is The Sign To Notice That The Dishwasher Needs To Be Cleaned? 

Ideally, you should clean a dishwasher twice a year. But is that enough? Is it fair to say that the dishwasher can’t get dirty before 6 months after you clean it? No, we can’t set a time like that. Cleaning twice a year is just a routine but the dishwasher may not follow that. It may get dirty earlier than that. But how would you understand that it needs cleaning? 

The easiest way to understand that the dishwasher needs cleaning is to see if the interior is smelling bad. If you smell an unpleasant, damp, and rotten food odor from the interior, this is the time to clean it at least with baking soda. 

Another way: If you see the slightest amount of gunk or food residues on the dishes, you should immediately clean the dishwasher. Otherwise, you won’t get clean dishes until you clean them. 

Check the filter of the dishwasher. If you see too much residue in the filter, you have to clean it. Otherwise, the filter would clog and it won’t function properly. Besides, look for rusting inside the machine. If you see watermarks, stains, and rust, you need to clean it immediately. 

These are the common signs that show that your dishwasher requires a thorough cleaning. 


Now you have all the tips and tricks to make and use homemade dishwasher cleaner. The processes are super easy if you follow the instructions properly. As you have all the information now, you should clean the dishwasher properly at least twice a year and when you see some issues in it. 

So, what are you waiting for? Clean the dishwasher today and get dazzling dishes again!

You may also want to read.

How to Install Countertop Dishwasher Permanently [A Complete Guide]

Shifat Hossen

Hey guys, This is Shifat Hossen. I'm a professional chef. I have been cooking for the last 10 years. I have a restaurant business as well. If you love cooking, be with me.

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