Sustainability made simple

How to Clean the Inside of a Dishwasher the Eco-Friendly Way

How to Clean Inside of Dishwasher
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / PhotoMIX-Company

Leave out the chemicals when cleaning the inside of your dishwasher and opt for these environmentally friendly alternatives instead. Here we have some handy tips.

To many it’s a minor modern day miracle: the humble dishwasher not only saves us the tedious chore of doing the dishes by hand, most modern dishwashers are also designed to reduce energy and water usage, which is a big bonus for the environment and your wallet.

To maintain your dishwasher in good working order and to ensure you get the most from its expected lifespan, you need to clean the inside of it on a regular basis to eliminate any bad smells and allow it to clean your dishes and utensils properly.

Ideally to do this, you should clean your dishwasher filter once a week, a simple task that really only takes a minute or two. However, a more thorough clean will be needed every 3 to 4 months to keep the inside of your dishwasher odor-free.

Why You Should Clean Your Dishwasher With Natural Ingredients

First and foremost, when you use all-natural cleaners inside your dishwasher, you are preventing any toxic chemical cleaners from clinging to your kitchen utensils and dishes where they could then be ingested by you or your family. Not only that, you are also stopping these from entering the environment and waterways, where they can create all sorts of havoc for local wildlife.

Heavy corrosive cleaners and bleaches are really unnecessary and need to be avoided since these can also damage rubber seals and other delicate components inside your dishwasher, leading to leaks, the need for expensive repairs or total malfunction, which could mean buying a brand-new dishwasher and disposing of the old one, which is never good for the environment.

Eco-Friendly Cleaners for Your Dishwasher

Natural cleaners won't damage any of the surfaces inside your dishwasher.
Natural cleaners won't damage any of the surfaces inside your dishwasher.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / jhenning)

If your dishwasher is clogged and has difficulty draining, learn how to unclog your dishwasher first. That way, the dishwasher can dry off completely after use, which prevents the development of smells and residue. If you need clean dishes before you have a chance to clean your dishwasher, try making a DIY dish soap with eco-friendly ingredients to use in the meantime.

A good habit to get into is to just wipe down the insides of your dishwasher with some mild homemade lemon spray and a gentle, non-abrasive cloth. This works as a mild anti-bacterial and instantly eliminates any bad smells, leaving your dishes smelling fresh after a wash cycle. Be sure to wipe down all the surfaces inside your dishwasher, paying special attention to seals and the corners, where grime and food residue tends to build up over time.

It is a good idea to give the spray arms of the dishwasher a quick wipe and look them over to see if the spray holes on it aren’t blocked with anything. If you do notice any blockages on the spray arm, using a small scrubbing brush or old toothbrush, carefully and gently scrub any debris away to ensure the dishwasher is working efficiently on its next cleaning program.

For a deeper cleansing, we suggest you attend to your dishwasher more thoroughly every 3 or 4 months to keep it looking, working (and smelling) as good as new.

What You Need:

  • White Vinegar
  • Dishwasher-safe bowl


  1. First of all, pour a cup of white vinegar into a small, dishwasher-safe bowl and place it on the the top rack of the empty dishwasher.
  2. Choose the hottest and longest wash cycle your dishwasher offers, and let it run with your bowl of vinegar inside.
  3. During this wash cycle, the heated vinegar should wash around the interior surfaces of the dishwasher, as well as cleaning out the pump system and interior piping, removing soap scum, mold, accumulated fats and food scraps.
  4. Once the cycle is complete, your dishwasher should look crystal clean inside and unpleasant odors and food residue should be thoroughly removed.
  5. Given that this is a gentle cleaning method, feel free to repeat the process if any stubborn grime or smells remain inside the dishwasher. In most instances however, one full cycle with vinegar should be sufficient.

To get the best results long-term, learn our 8 tips for loading a dishwasher correctly.

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