Featured image of a person washing dishes in an article about countertop dishwashers

How To Clean And Maintain Your Countertop Dishwasher

One of the questions I get asked a lot on my list of countertop dishwasher reviews is about cleaning and maintaining a countertop dishwasher.

Hopefully this article will give you the information you need to keep your portable dishwasher, or for that matter, any dishwasher in tip top shape and help make it last for years to come.​

5 Tips For Keeping Your Dishwasher In Tip Top Condition

All of us at one time or another need to do a little maintenance and cleaning of our dishwashers. Whether it is hard water deposits, grease and grime buildups, or just making sure everything is sanitized, cleaning a dishwasher is one of those life necessities.

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Here are 5 tips to help you keep your dishwasher in perfect condition.

How To Get Rid Of Hard Water Deposits In A Dishwasher

Many areas are prone to having a hard water problem. Hard water is water that has high mineral content (in contrast with " soft water "). Hard water is formed when water percolates through deposits of calcium and magnesium-containing minerals such as limestone, chalk and dolomite.

When hard water is used in a dishwasher, those minerals are left on the parts of the dishwasher and can lead to a shortened life span for your dishwasher if you do not remove them every so often.

Image of the inside of a dishwasherThe easiest way to remove hard water deposits from your dishwasher is to use an acid to dissolve the deposits. Now we are not talking about battery acid, but just a general acidic liquid or powder like these common household items.

  • White Vinigar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Lemonade mix
  • Tang
  • Lemon flavored Kool-Aid

How To Sanitize A Dishwasher

Unless you have a stainless steel dishwasher, the best way to sanitize a dishwasher and eliminate mold and mildew is to use common household bleach. It will clean and sanitize your dishwasher and give it that glistening polished look.

How To Clean The Drain Of A Dishwasher

One of the most important areas of your dishwasher to keep clean is the drain at the bottom of the dishwasher. If not maintained properly the drain can clog and your dishwasher will not be able to clean your dishes properly.

In order to clean your drain first start by removing all the large pieces of food from around the drain. If there are smaller pieces clogging the drain, you may need to remove the drain to clean it properly.

Here are the steps to clean remove your drain to clean it.

  • ​Unplug your dishwasher from the electrical receptacle.
  • Unscrew the screws and remove the drain cover.
  • Make sure you protect the drain opening so food does not fall into the opening.
  • Clean out any large pieces of food from the drain and the opening by hand.
  • Use a small brush to clean out any small pieces from the drain cover or drain opening.
  • Replace the drain cover in the reverse order that you removed it.

How To Inspect And Clean The Washer Arms

Dishwashers spray water over the dishes using what are called washer arms. These arms have holes in them that spray the water as the arm spins. Many times these arms get plugged with buildup.

Inspect the arms and use a wire, toothpick, or even a small pair of needle nose pliers to remove any buildup that is plugging the holes and preventing the water from spraying out of the arm.​

How To Clean The Edges And Exterior Of A Dishwasher

Sometimes we forget that there are parts of the dishwasher that never see the light of day and are not noticed as dirty and smelly at times. Every so often take the time to clean the edges around the door with a damp cloth and a basic household cleaner.

Other areas you should clean on a regular basis are....

  • ​The detergent tray and dispenser.
  • The silverware basket.
  • The bottom edge of the door attached to the hinges.

Final Tips For Cleaning Your Dishwasher

Images of dishes of a dishwasher
As much as all of these things will help you keep your dishwasher in tip top shape, the fact remains that the best way to keep your dishwasher clean is to use it on a regular basis. Daily use will keep much of the grease and grime from building up.

​If you are going to start an extensive cleaning, run the dishwasher before you do and then empty the dishes. It will give you the easiest cleaning experience rather than trying to clean it when everything is dried out.

I hope this answers your questions about cleaning and maintaining a countertop dishwasher.​

Duke Taber is the owner of 3 successful Christian websites and is now taking his skill as a webmaster and using it to help bi-vocational pastors and missionaries do their jobs across the world.