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How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?

Dishwashers are one of those household appliances we love to take for granted. They save us plenty of time and effort, and while they may also be an endless source of family disputes, revolving around the how to load a dishwasher properly conundrum, they often truly are a lifesaver. 

In order to maintain them properly though, we do still need to remember to clean them, a task we sadly often neglect. It’s quite easy to forget we need to clean the cleaners, so if you are now entering panic mode, trying to recall when you last took the time to clear your table top dishwasher (especially if you are pretty sure you’ve never actually done it), let me reassure you: it’s not too late yet.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher? 

You should clean your dishwasher once a month to ensure it keeps operating at peak performance. 

This cleaning schedule applies to practically everyone who owns a dishwasher, as chances are you use yours daily, or every other day at least. 

If you only run it infrequently, once a week or even less often, you will likely be able to get away with cleaning it once every 2-3 months. However, do bear in mind that any appliance that hasn’t been used in a while should be cleaned before renewed use. This will ensure no stale water is used to clean your dishes, and that no nasty smells rear their unseemly head. 

Also, if you prefer washing your dishes by hand, and aren’t really making the most of your dishwasher, you can consider gifting it to someone who would use it more often, or donating it to a family in need. Don’t just throw it out – there is always a way to rehome and reuse a kitchen appliance. 

Do You Really Need to Clean Your Dishwasher?

Yes, you do really need to clean your dishwasher, both on the inside, and on the outside. 

You may believe that it’s doing all the self-cleaning itself while doing the washing up, but you would be wrong. Yes, your dishes are getting cleaned, but that doesn’t automatically imply the dishwasher itself is being cleaned in the process as well. If you also aren’t loading your dishwasher correctly, chances are it’s getting dirtier than you think.

You will need to give it a hand. 

What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your Dishwasher?

Grime and gunk will accumulate in your dishwasher drain and on the spray arms if you don’t clean it regularly, and over time, this will lead to damage. 

All that food residue that hasn’t been removed will turn into something quite unsightly, and the pile-up will reduce the amount of water circulating in your dishwasher. This can lead to soap film clinging to your dishes, or they may simply come out less than completely clean, even when you run your most powerful cycle. 

If the water that powers your dishwasher is unfiltered and hard, it can also lead to mineral deposits, also known as limescale, building up in the piping, which can further impact water flow, and result in malfunctions that can be quite costly to remedy. 

While the chances of an unclean dishwasher making you sick are very low, you still want your dishes to come out of every wash looking (and smelling) pristine. 

Instead of letting your dishwasher’s filter and pump get clogged by the remains of so many delicious meals, clean it every month. 

How Often Should You Deep Clean Your Dishwasher?

You are also advised to deep clean your dishwasher every 2-3 months, to keep it fully operational and maximise its longevity. 

If you are already cleaning your dishwasher every month (kudos to you!), this additional deep clean should ensure that no limescale or soap build up anywhere, and that you never have to call the repairman in. While it may take a bit more effort, it can be worth it in the long run, especially if you have just recently invested in a brand new model. 

You can use a branded cleaning product for this especially thorough clean, or you can create your own mixture using white vinegar. You can also check your manufacturer’s guidelines and website, to see what they recommend for the upkeep of their products. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher Filter? 

You should aim to clean your dishwasher filter once every 3-4 months. Chances are there will be nothing to clean more often than not, but simply checking that the filter is clean will take up only a couple of minutes of your time. 

The filter in your dishwasher is meant to catch any stray debris and prevent it from damaging the drain. If an unusually large bite of food manages to stay intact during the washing cycle, you’ll be able to remove it during this regular checkup. 

If you notice a questionable smell emanating from the dishwasher though, you will want to check the filter too. There may be something stuck in the machine itself, but the culprit will most often be found in the filter. 

Rinse and replace, and go on about your day as usual. 

Wrapping It Up 

Cleaning the dishwasher is a bit of a hassle at times, we’ll give you that. However, just like with any other household chore, you’ll often feel much better about yourself and the state of your home after accomplishing it, so waste no more time, take a peek inside your own dishwasher, and give it a bit of TLC. 

I’m sure it deserves it. 


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