Don’t Forget to Wash your Dish(washer)

cleaning your dishwasher
To combat dishwasher smells, run an empty cycle with a small amount of vinegar and another with a small amount of bleach to kill bacteria. Photo credit: Kathryn Millhorn

Getting the dishwasher loaded, turned on and then unloaded is quite an achievement, some days. But sometimes, the machine itself needs a little TLC to avoid becoming as stinky as leftover tuna casserole.

elite cleaning of washington
Scottiejo McNulty of Elite Cleaning of Washington knows a little preventive maintenance is always worthwhile. Photo credit: Elite Cleaning of Washington

It’s shown that “about 68 percent of American households have a dishwasher in the kitchen” but the frequency of use varies. Whether you run loads daily, weekly or just after hosting parties, eventually leftover food can become trapped causing inefficient cycles and lingering odors.

For some houses, the drain line for the dishwasher is tied into the garbage disposal. Through shared plumbing or dirty filters, cleaning is easier than you think. Scottiejo McNulty of Elite Cleaning of Washington and her team suggest a few household remedies. “I run two cycles, the first I pour some vinegar in the bottom and the smell is greatly reduced. The second cycle I pour some bleach straight into the bottom. The smell is now gone.”

Frequency of cleaning varies by use but this easy maintenance helps. “Garbage disposals breed bacteria and people wash veggies or rinse things and the bacteria is right there,” says McNulty. “Kitchens are the busiest family place in a home. Some people only use dishwashers to sanitize because they ‘pre-wash’ every single dish. Some people rinse and load up so all the remaining food particles go into your disposal.”

cleaning your dishwasher
Loading and unloading the dishwasher are exhausting enough, but years of use can leave smelly food, oils, and debris behind. Photo credit: Kathryn Millhorn

She continues, “I run vinegar in mine weekly, bleach every 2-3 months, and only take it apart 1-2 times a year. It depends on your dishwasher, but some have smaller particle traps than others. A proper working dishwasher doesn’t have standing water in the bottom; if you have that, take it apart right away for a deep cleaning or it will begin to breed bacteria and mold.”

Elite Cleaning of Washington can work these steps into your routine cleaning appointment or seasonal deep clean. Call 360-529-2277 to set up a free estimate.


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