If you want to know the best way how to clean the inside of a dishwasher, this is it! You can clean the inside of a dishwasher easier than you think!
With just a simple cleaning product, any sticky residue and even rust stains will be gone. I like to think of this as my miracle cleaner, because it not only cleans my dishwasher, but it can also clean stainless steel pots, glass shower doors, hard water deposits, my porcelain sink, and even glass stovetops, too. Bar keeper’s friend is something that I’ve been using for a long time, and it’s one of the best uses out there!
This post is sponsored by Bar Keepers Friend but all opinions are my own.
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It’s hard for your dishes to come out sparkling clean if the mechanism used to clean them isn’t clean. If your dishwasher is dirty inside, it can be hard to pull clean dishes out after its run its cycle.
Living in an apartment with a dishwasher I did not pick out myself, it’s often frustrating how not great my dishwasher can work. Even the maintenance often refers to it as a “sanitizer” more than a cleaner and recommends still rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
Crud seems to pile up in my dishwasher, along with water eventually. Sometimes it even takes on a bit of nasty dishwasher odor. This is especially true if I use a lousy dishwasher detergent. I have found that generic brands do not work well at all (at least in our machine).
My favorite is Finish brand. Works better than any other we’ve tried at both cleaning our dishes and keeping the dishwasher clean inside.
My favorite method to clean the inside of a dishwasher is still by using a steam cleaner to clean a dishwasher. It’s amazing at blasting junk out of the corners, cracks, filters, holes in the sprayers, and so on. Plus, it sanitizes and kills odors as it goes. And then I do a vinegar rinse afterward. It works pretty well!
But, there was also still a little buildup left and discoloration inside my dishwasher, which left me wondering what really is the best way to clean the inside of your dishwasher. You can still see a bit of that blue in the after picture. That’s what I wanted to figure out how to remove!
Well, I figured it out. I still use the method I used before, but finish up with one of my favorite cleaning products – Bar Keepers Friend.
How to Clean Inside Dishwasher
Okay, let’s get to it! The following should work to clean inside stainless steel dishwashers and other types as well. But, if in any doubt, test a small area first.
Materials Needed to Clean Inside Dishwasher
- Dish soap (if needed)
- Steam Cleaner
- Bar Keepers Friend (here’s where you can buy it)
- Dry Cloths or Paper Towel
- Spray Bottle
- Toothbrush (if needed)
If you’re a visual person, check out my video on how to clean inside of a dishwasher and keep it clean:
How to Clean the Inside of a Dishwasher
1. Remove any and all standing water in the bottom of your dishwasher, as well as any loose bits of food or trash. Use can use a rag or paper towels. I prefer paper towels because it is gross often and I don’t want to rinse out my cloths over and over again.
2. Hook up your steam cleaner. Pour water in it as needed, and wait for it to be ready to use.
3. Once ready, use your steam cleaner to get in the corners and hinges on the inside of your dishwasher, clean tracks, clean inside sprayer holes, the rack, the door, all of it. Use a scrub brush attachment head as needed to remove buildup, but make sure it won’t scratch the inside of your machine. I prefer to use my steam cleaner without a brush attachment at the end because I’m afraid to scratch it though!
*If you do not have a steam cleaner, get out an old toothbrush to reach into those tight corners and tracks. You can use a mild soap as you scrub, or just water. The point is to get the gunk out at this point.
*You may also need to use a toothpick or other small tool to remove dirt in any sprayer holes. Some sprayers are also easy to remove. If you can remove yours, do so to remove buildup (we’ll get to how to do that later).
4. If you have rubber inserts in the corners of your dishwasher, remove those and let them soak in a bowl of soapy water in the sink for several minutes. Scrub these manually to get the gunk out its grooves as needed. Reinsert them.
5. If you can remove the filter easily, be sure to remove it so you can clean it really well with your steam cleaner and/or toothbrush.
6. Spray with water and sprinkle on Bar Keepers Friend.
This is the part of how to clean the inside of a dishwasher that is all about really scrubbing it and getting it shiny and great looking again. This is where Bar Keepers Friend comes into play!
Bar Keepers Friend is amazing at cleaning stainless steel, removing rust, and hard water buildup. That’s why it’s the ultimate and best product for cleaning inside a dishwasher. Plus, it’s quick and easy to use!
Spray the inside of your dishwasher with some water and make sure it’s wet. Gently sprinkle some bar keepers friend onto the inside of your dishwasher.
If you are also cleaning filters or other parts of the inside of your dishwasher that need to be descaled or cleaned a little heavier, do the same to them – wet them, then sprinkle on some Bar Keepers Friend (or use the spray version if you prefer).
7. Let sit for one minute then take your sponge and begin to scrub it in, removing buildup, rust, and other dirt.
8. Rinse out your sponge to remove the Bar Keepers Friend from the sponge and then wring it out inside the dishwasher. Wipe up the Bar Keepers Friend and water with paper towel until it is all rinsed and wiped up.
9. If any stains or buildup remain, repeat the process.
10. The last step to clean the inside of a dishwasher is to do a vinegar rinse cycle. Some people say to pour 2 cups of vinegar into a measuring cup and set that on the top rack of your dishwasher. I’ve just poured 2 cups into the bottom of my dishwasher. I think either is probably fine.
Run the dishwasher on a water-saving HOT rinse cycle with nothing else in the dishwasher. Halfway through, stop it and let it sit for 10 minutes, then turn it back on to finish.
And that should do it! I love how my dishwasher looks!
I used to not use the Bar Keepers Friend (don’t ask me why I didn’t try it sooner!) and just do the steam cleaner and the vinegar rinse, but it still had some buildup at the bottom and discoloration here and there. But, now it doesn’t! Now it’s super white again!
How to Keep the Inside of a Dishwasher Clean
To maintain your dishwasher’s cleanliness, it’s best to do the following:
- Run a vinegar rinse cycle once a month.
- Run hot water through your sink before you start your dishwasher so it’ll purge the cold water from the lines.
- Run and clean your garbage disposal before starting your dishwasher.
- Make sure bits of plastic, shells, peels, or other trash doesn’t end up in your dishwasher by cleaning dishes beforehand a little.
- Pull any debris piling up by the filter away as soon as you see it.
- Use Finish Powerball dishwasher detergent.
- If you have problems with mold and/or mildew, you can do a bleach cleanse once a month, using up to a cup of bleach in the bottom of your dishwasher, and running it for a full cycle. But, do NOT do this with a stainless steel dishwasher as it starts to corrode the metal.
Lastly, you can use a clean/dirty dishwasher magnet to help you and your family members or roommates make sure dirty things don’t go in with the clean. You can make your own sign with my dishwasher clean/dirty printable too.
And if you have kids, be sure that you teach kids how to load the dishwasher as well as teach kids how to unload the dishwasher without breaking anything (hopefully!).
What do I need to use with Bar Keeper’s Friend cleaner?
You can use a soft cloth, a microfiber cloth, a damp cloth, a soft sponge, or even steel wool. You just need to be able to make a circular motion to get rid of the stains using the cleaner.
I like to use a wet cloth with a little water because it creates a sort of paste that I can put a little elbow grease behind and use to clean. This tends to work well with a small spot and then I just make sure that I give the area a thorough rinsing once I’m done.
Does Bar Keeper’s Friend really work on tough stains?
I think it does! No matter if you use the powder form or the liquid cleaner, I think you’ll still have amazing results! The good news is that you can try it on all types of stains and see where you get the best results.
You may also enjoy these posts:
- FREE Dishwasher Clean Dirty Sign Printable
- 13 Fun Clean/Dirty Dishwasher Magnets
- How to Clean Dishwasher with a Steam Cleaner
- Best Way to Clean Inside Dishwasher and Keep It Clean
- How to Teach Kids to Load the Dishwasher
- How Young Kids Can Safely Unload the Dishwasher
- 17 Best Baking Soda Uses for Cleaning Your Kitchen
- 10 Ways to Use Baking Soda for Bathroom Cleaning
Is the inside of your dishwasher plastic? It looks exactly like mine. I’ve been hesitant to use bar keepers friend on it because I don’t want to ruin it.