You might think you don’t need to clean your dishwasher. Isn’t it self-cleaning? After all, it’s a cleaning appliance and therefore should always be clean. But the truth is, even your dishwasher needs a little love and attention once in a while.
The bottom filter can get gunked up with food and can cause some funky smells, and the sides and top can build up residue. Plus, once you clean it, it will look sparkling new on the inside.
Jill Nystul, the blogger behind One Good Thing by Jillee provided a super-easy three-step process to clean your dishwasher. Check out the video below:
“I know it seems kind of counterintuitive, like, why would you clean your dishwasher?” Jillee says in the video. “It seems like it’s running 24 hours a day as it is. But it does get dirty and needs cleaning.”
It turns out that soap scum, food and grease that build up in the corners of your dishwasher can decrease its efficiency and also cause it to stink.
OK, now that you’ve covered the “why” behind cleaning your dishwasher, let’s get to work. Here are the steps you should do every six months to keep your appliance in tip-top shape.
1. Check Your Dishwasher Filter For Debris
Nystul says your first priority should be taking out the bottom rack to clean out the filter area. This is where gunk and debris like to hang out, both of which can cause your dishwasher’s performance to take a nosedive. This video can help you figure out how to clean the dishwasher’s filter.
2. Use Vinegar To Nix Germs And Grime
Distilled white vinegar is an everyday household item that packs a powerful cleaning punch — minus the nasty chemicals. Nystul recommends using it to clean your beloved appliance by adding a cup of white vinegar to a dishwasher-safe container before placing it on the top rack. Then, run your otherwise empty dishwasher on the hottest setting.
3. Finish Up With A Touch Of Baking Soda
Another item to keep on hand for everyday household cleaning? Baking soda. After the vinegar cycle is complete, sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom area and run a short hot cycle again for an extra cleaning boost.
The bottom line? Don’t slack on nurturing your dishwasher every now and then, and it will reward you by continuing to do what it does best.
How To Get Cleaner Dishes
Once you’ve got your dishwasher sparkling clean, you’ll want to make sure your dishes come out just as shiny. Follow a few dishwasher dos and don’ts so you’ll achieve squeaky-clean dishes every time.
Do you put all of the spoons, forks and knives in a messy jumble in the dishwasher baskets? If so, try grouping them by utensil type for better results. Put knives in with the sharp side down, and be sure to put some spoons in upside down, so they don’t all stick together.
Another no-no? Skipping the rinse aid. It might seem optional, but rinse aid actually helps get dishes clean — especially if you have hard water.
That’s it! With these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to a clean dishwasher — and even cleaner dishes.
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for additional stories.