How to Get Your Dishwasher Squeaky-Clean With Just Vinegar

Having a sparkling clean dishwasher is important for sanitary reasons and to keep your dishes looking their best. While most people use dishwasher detergent, you can actually get your dishwasher just as clean using nothing but vinegar! Vinegar is a natural, non-toxic cleaning agent that dissolves soap scum, hard water deposits, and limescale buildup. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get your dishwasher squeaky-clean with just vinegar.

Why Use Vinegar?

Vinegar is acidic, which helps break down residue and buildup in your dishwasher. The acetic acid in vinegar cuts through grease, soap scum, minerals from hard water, and other grime that collects in your dishwasher over time.

Vinegar is also a natural antibacterial agent. Using vinegar helps sanitize and deodorize your dishwasher, leaving behind a clean, fresh scent. Unlike harsh chemical cleaners, vinegar is completely non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

Supplies Needed

  • White distilled vinegar
  • Measuring cup
  • Dishwasher-safe cup or bowl

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Empty the Dishwasher

Remove all dishes, utensils, racks, and the detergent dispenser from the dishwasher before cleaning. Make sure the dishwasher is completely empty so the vinegar can work on buildup in all areas.

2. Check and Clean the Filter

Your dishwasher filter traps food particles and debris. Remove the filter and rinse it thoroughly under hot water to remove any pieces of food or residue.

Scrub with a cleaning brush if needed. Clogged filters can impede the cleaning process.

3. Pour Vinegar into the Dishwasher

Pour 2 cups of white distilled vinegar into a dishwasher-safe bowl or cup. Place the bowl on the bottom rack of the empty dishwasher.

Distilled white vinegar has the highest acidity and works best for cleaning and disinfecting.

4. Run a Hot Cycle

Run your dishwasher through the hottest wash cycle with the dishwasher empty except for the vinegar. The hot water will allow the vinegar to fully penetrate and dissolve buildup.

5. Repeat as Needed

If your dishwasher has heavy hard water stains or limescale deposits, repeat steps 3 and 4 until they have dissolved and been eliminated. Severe buildup may take multiple vinegar cycles to fully remove.

6. Run Dishwasher with Detergent

Once your dishwasher looks clean and residue-free, run it one final time with regular dishwasher detergent and no vinegar to rinse away any remaining vinegar smell.

Use the hottest setting on this final cycle.

7. Dry with Towels

After the final cycle, immediately open the dishwasher and remove any standing water with towels. This prevents water spots or mineral deposits from forming as the dishwasher dries.

Tips for the Best Results

  • Use undiluted, white distilled vinegar for maximum cleaning power. Do not use apple cider vinegar.
  • Cleaning monthly helps prevent major buildup. Use vinegar regularly for maintenance.
  • Check the filter before and after cleaning to remove any debris.
  • Always run the hottest cycle with vinegar to allow penetration.
  • Ventilate your kitchen during cleaning to dispel the vinegar odor.
  • Use a rinse agent in your dishwasher to help prevent residue buildup.

Benefits of a Vinegar-Cleaned Dishwasher

Using vinegar to clean your dishwasher has many advantages:

  • Removes grease, food, soap scum, and hard water deposits
  • Natural and non-toxic
  • Much cheaper than dishwasher cleaners
  • Sanitizes and deodorizes
  • Environmentally friendly and safe for septic systems
  • Freshens dishwasher, hoses and gaskets
  • Improves cleaning performance

Get your dishwasher sparkling clean with the power of vinegar! Following these simple steps can help keep your dishwasher in top working condition without harsh chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my dishwasher with vinegar?

Aim to clean your dishwasher with vinegar every 1-2 months for maintenance. Clean more frequently if you notice grime or hard water buildup.

What kind of vinegar works best?

Use plain, white distilled vinegar with at least 5% acidity for the best cleaning results. Apple cider vinegar and other types do not have as much acidic power.

Is it safe to use vinegar with a septic system?

Yes, vinegar will not harm or corrode septic tanks or drain fields. It’s much safer for septic systems than chemical drain cleaners.

Should I scrub the inside while cleaning with vinegar?

No scrubbing is needed! The vinegar dissolves buildup – the hot water cycle does all the work.

How do I get rid of the vinegar smell?

Run a normal hot wash cycle with detergent after cleaning to rinse away any vinegar odor. Also, ventilate your kitchen well.

What else can I clean with vinegar?

Vinegar is a great natural cleaner for stainless steel, windows, coffee makers, tile grout, microwaves, hardwood floors, and more!

The Bottom Line

Vinegar is a cost-effective, non-toxic way to dissolve grime and keep your dishwasher sparkling clean. Monthly vinegar cleaning helps remove grease, limescale, and soap scum that can lead to foul odors and poor washing performance. Following these tips will leave you with dishes that come out of your dishwasher looking squeaky-clean!