The dishwasher is undoubtedly our most important ally in the kitchen: it helps us to save a lot of time (and effort) by thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing cutlery, crockery and pots in our place, as well as being useful for the environment, using less water than it would be needed to wash everything by hand. In short, we just can’t do without it. And that’s why we should pay attention to its maintenance, to ensure that it continues to have high performance, avoiding malfunctions and bad smells. So let’s see how to clean the dishwasher.
Limescale and food residues: the risks for the dishwasher
The dishwasher represents for many the most comfortable solution to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen, to prepare lucullian meals when friends and relatives come to visit, or simply to hurry up one of the most boring daily tasks: washing dishes. Since it is so useful (if not absolutely essential, especially for those who are always in a hurry), it must make sure that the dishwasher lasts a long time and always work at its maximum efficiency. Only in this way will we be able to have clean and shiny dishes, without having to wash them by hand.
One of the main risks of the dishwasher is the limestone: like any other household appliance that works with water, it is inevitably also subject to limescale build-up which can reduce its performance or even ruin it irreparably. It is therefore very important to pay attention to both avoid the formation of limescale deposits than to eliminate those already present. Another problem, for those who use the dishwasher, is the presence of food residues inside, which are the first cause of bad smell. A proper routine maintenance (and periodically an extraordinary cleaning) can avoid these risks.
How to clean the inside of the dishwasher
You might think that the dishwasher cleans itself automatically with each wash, since we use it precisely for cleaning dishes and pots. In reality, limescale is likely to form with each use and small food residues to accumulate, making it less efficient and giving rise to unpleasant odors. This is why it is important to clean the dishwasher and take good care of it daily basiswith a few simple tricks.
First of all it is good to insert only dishes that do not have food residues: there is no need to manually rinse them under water (it would be a great waste of water, as well as a risk for the appliance), just use a napkin to throw in the wet. Therefore, it is necessary to choose the right detergents for washing in the dishwasher, which guarantee not only thehygiene of dishesbut also a particular attention to the appliance.
To combat limescale, especially in the presence of particularly hard water, it is important use salt and an eventual special anti-limescale product at each wash. It is possible to add a teaspoon of baking soda to common dishwasher detergent: thanks to its properties, it is able to thoroughly degrease and reduce the formation of unpleasant odors. Instead of rinse aid, you can use white wine vinegar – which is also excellent against limescale. After each wash, we should leave the door slightly open so that it dries well, thus avoiding the formation of mold on the seals.
In addition to daily cleaning, it is good to do one ordinary maintenance which allows the dishwasher to perform its duty better and to work longer. Once every two weeks, we should clean its interior more thoroughly. First we remove the baskets and the filter: this should be rinsed under running water and, if needed, cleaned with a little mild detergent and a toothbrush. In this way we will eliminate all the food residues responsible for the bad smell. So with a soft cloth we can clean the internal walls and the baskets dishwasher. As a cleanser, white wine vinegar diluted in warm water is excellent.
How to clean the outside of the dishwasher
Of course, it is also important to take care of the the outside of the dishwasher. If we have a built-in appliance, all we have to do is clean it as we already do for the rest of the kitchen: we can use special delicate detergents, or a simple mix of water and dish soap (a teaspoon is enough). Also in this case white wine vinegar is useful, always well diluted in water.
If, on the other hand, the dishwasher is not built-in, we will have to pay a little more attention to the sides, where more dirt inevitably accumulates. After cleaning the door thoroughly as we saw above, we can use one toothbrush to remove any food residues that have fallen next to the appliance. To remove the dust, however, we can coat the toothbrush with a slightly damp cloth and pass it on the parts that we cannot reach in any other way.
Dishwasher, extraordinary maintenance
Whether we have been paying attention on a daily basis or been a little lazy, one should be done periodically extraordinary cleaning of the dishwasher. How to proceed? To eliminate the food residues and the fat that has accumulated during the washing, we can simply carry out a vacuum cycle at high temperature. Alternatively, you can do a vacuum wash by adding some sodium bicarbonate to the dishwasher, to take advantage of its degreasing action.
If the problem is limescale, a empty cycle with two tablespoons of citric acid (also excellent for cleaning the refrigerator) or, alternatively, with a liter of white wine vinegar. By adding a little lemon juice to the vinegar, we will not only have a clean and sanitized appliance, but also a pleasant and very fresh citrus smell. Once the vacuum wash is finished, whichever solution is chosen for thoroughly clean the dishwasher, you need to focus on the most delicate parts. We remove the filter and wash it thoroughly as we have seen above, then let it dry well before putting it back in its place.
With a toothbrush, we pass on spray arms and eliminate any food residues stuck, We can use a mixture of water and bicarbonate to be sure to clean them well: the same solution is useful for scrubbing the gaskets, so as to eliminate stains and reduce the risk of mold forming. If there are still some small incrustations left on the internal walls, we can proceed with a cloth soaked in white wine vinegarrubbing carefully and possibly leaving it to act for a few minutes, before wiping with a dry cloth.