I was just looking at the inside of my dishwasher the other day, thinking it needed a good cleaning, so it was fortuitous to come across Renee Loux’s suggestions in Easy Green Living for deodorizing and cleaning this appliance.
If your dishwasher is looking or smelling funky, first clean the filer according to the manufacturer’s directions. Then, use white distilled vinegar to deodorize the inside and dissolve water spots. Pour 2 cups white vinegar into a bowl and sit it upright in the bottom rack. Run the machine through a short wash cycle and it will be clean, deodorized, and ready to run!
Here are some more tips for automatic dish washing:
Less is more in terms of detergent. Contrary to popular belief, using more detergent doesn’t wash the dishes better, it just makes them dingy with residue. One tablespoon of detergent is enough to clean a full load in an efficient dishwasher, and use 2 tablespoons maximum in older models. If you use powdered detergent, try mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda with your detergent to boost its action (but don’t wash aluminum pans when you’ve mixed in baking soda because it may discolor them.)
Use white distilled vinegar as a rinse aid. If your dishes suffer from a hard-water spotting, pour white vinegar into the rinse compartment for shiny, spotless glasses, flatware, and china.
Don’t wash plastic or wooden items in the dishwasher. Hot water and detergent will wear out plastic and may increase the leaching of plastic into food.
Turn off the “heat dry” option. A machine full of dishes will dry more quickly with heat, but it won’t sterilize the dishes and is a big energy hog.
Adapted from Easy Green Living by Renee Loux (Rodale, 2008).