Stains And Dirt: Cleaning The Dishwasher

To keep your kitchen dishwasher working effectively, remember to clean it every month or so by following these simple directions.

Almost everyone these days has an automatic dishwasher built into their kitchen as a mainstay appliance. With so many people on the go, it helps to stash the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher for washing while you speed off to work. Then you can put them away when you get home. When unexpected guests arrive, you can hide dishes inside the dishwasher temporarily. It can be used for sanitizing fruit jars for canning. And you can never clean or sanitize eating utensils by hand as well as you can by using the dishwasher.

At some point be sure to read the little procedures manual that came with your dishwasher, especially the section titled something like "How To Save Energy While Cleaning." If you don't quite understand it, call the appliance dealership where you purchased the dishwasher and ask a sales associate whatever you need to know.

Place plastic items or smaller dishes or utensils, along with anything you think might melt, in the dishwasher's top rank. Heavy-duty pans or platters can be placed in the bottom rack. You also should consider cleaning the exterior buttons, control panel, and knobs. If your portable dishwasher has a wooden top, learn how to clean the wood. Inside parts to be cleaned will include the drain, the racks, and all the accumulated scale. Eliminating odors is also an important part of keeping your dishwasher clean and efficient.

Starting with the outside, take a sponge and apply all-purpose cleaner to start wiping the door and exposed sides. You can use a clean cloth or rag if you don't have a sponge. Now take a dry cloth and buff the surface dry. Be careful you don't scratch the surface. Next take your sponge or cloth with the all-purpose cleaner and wipe off the panels, buttons, and knobs. If you have a wooden top, clean it with dish soap and water. Then dry it with a clean cloth.

Next, open the door to work on the inside. Remove all the food crumbs and debris from the drain. Then look for stains and spots. Apply a mild cleanser to the spots. Do not put a harsh cleanser on it that might scratch the finish. Use a scrub sponge on the spots, then close the door and turn on the rinse cycle.

To remove lime deposits, start the dishwasher on rinse, open the door, and put a half-cup of white vinegar in the water. Then let the cycle finish. If your deposits are bad, start the dishwasher on the wash cycle. Open the door and add one cup of Lime-A-Way to the dishwasher. Then let the cycle finish.

If you have brown, black, or red stains in the dishwasher, take additional action. Start the dishwasher on rinse and then open the door and add a half-cup of rust remover to the water. Then let the cycle finish. You can buy any of these cleaners at the hardware store.

The more often you clean your dishwasher, the easier the stains will be to remove. You will enjoy the fresh scent and feel of your dishes when they come out of a clean dishwasher.

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