The Ultimate Guide to a Clean Dishwasher

The dishwasher is one of our favorite kitchen tools, making after-dinner cleanup a breeze. Many newer dishwasher models even offer advanced cleaning features like dedicated silverware jets or a sanitize cycle, which uses high-temp water to reduce 99% of bacteria commonly found on dishes. With daily cleaning and sanitizing of dishes, you may think your dishwasher interior is always clean, but soap and water residue builds up over time and should be removed.

For your dishes to be cleaned optimally, it’s important to periodically run deep cleaning cycles to refresh the dishwasher interior. We’ve come up with three simple ways to do this:

  1. Finish® Dishwasher Cleaner breaks up mineral deposits and removes hard water film and stains. You can purchase at your local grocery store or order online
  2. Citric acid can also be used to clean your dishwasher's interior. Order citric acid online
  3. You can also make your own vinegar rinse. Pour 1 cup of vinegar into the dishwasher just after the detergent cup opens during the washing cycle, and let the dishwasher complete its run. This may be repeated several times a year if needed. 

In addition to deep cleaning, you should check the Ultra Fine Filter beneath the spray arm for food residue. Simply turn it counterclockwise, lift, and remove to clean. You can simply wash it in your sink with soap and water. Once it’s cleaned, slide it back into place and turn it clockwise to lock. 

Loading Your Dishwasher Properly

There’s no one correct way to load a dishwasher, but there are many incorrect ways to load one. Improper loading can cause dishes and glasses to get only halfway cleaned or not cleaned at all. It can also waste energy, water and time as you may have to rewash some items. To ensure sparkling dishes and crystal-clear juice and wine glasses, follow these steps. 
 

Top Rack

Make sure each dish can be evenly sprayed by the wash arm. When stacking bowls, make sure they don’t overlap.

Common top rack items:

  • Glasses, cups, and saucers
  • Dishwasher-safe plastics
  • Odd-shaped utensils
  • Saucepans, mixing bowls, and similar items (Place them face-down.)
  • Wineglasses (Load these only if they can fit without hitting the roof of the dishwasher.)
Silverware in utensil rack being washed in dishwasher

Lower Rack

When loading the lower rack, think about the location of the detergent dispenser, spray arms, and water jets. You want the water and detergent to circulate properly during the wash cycle, so it’s important that the spray arms can circulate fully, and the dispenser isn’t blocked. Today’s dishwashers no longer require that the dirty sides of your dishes and dinnerware face to center—the Café water jet systems work great when all the dishes face in the same direction. 

Common Lower Rack Items:

  • Plates

  • Saucers and cookware

  • Large items (Place these along the sides.)

  • Large platters, pots and bowls (Place them on the sides, in the corners, or in the back.)

Silverware Basket

Always use the silverware basket organizer as it properly spaces the utensils and allows the special utensil jets to completely clean each piece.