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How to Sanitize a Dishwasher

Diagonal look of a dishwasher set into a cabinet system

Your dishwasher does it all. Not only can it clean your dishes, but it may be able to clean itself, so you do not have to. That is the type of dishwasher you need. It is low work, low maintenance, and very efficient. What more can you ask for in an appliance.

How about the ability to sanitize itself. That way you have to do even less work. Keep reading to see if that is even a possibility with modern dishwashing appliances. It will only take a few minutes of your time to get all the information you need to beef up the germ-free environment inside your dishwasher.

How to Sanitize Your Dishwasher- The Easy Way

Woman using fingers to press buttons on the front of a dishwasher

Some people are lucky. They can find the most modern dishwasher on the market at a very affordable price. With the upgraded technology inside, they can sanitize their dishwasher without doing anything but push a few buttons.

When you have that model of dishwasher you can sanitize the interior with only a few more minutes of time and few more pennies added to your electric bill. Once you press the self-sanitizing button, your dishwasher can heat the hot water to a minimum of 150 degrees F.

However, the cycle will take up to 1 1/2 hours longer to complete. That means you will be using a little more electricity. The good news is that you do not have to change the way you load your dishwasher, you can add soap and you only have to do use this cycle about once a month.

Then, you can use this cycle without any dishes inside and when you are ready to clean the dishwasher after a month or two of regular use. That makes this a very handy appliance to have around your home.

How to Sanitize Your Dishwasher- The Old-Fashioned Way

Hands in yellow gloves squeezing a sponge out into a pink tub of soapy water

Not everyone can afford such a top-rated machine that has all the bells and whistles on it. They are relegated to sanitizing their dishwashers the old-fashioned way- with a little bit of work involved. Here are those old-fashion steps you need to take to get your appliance germ-free.

Step 1 – Fill your sink with hot water and a good liquid soap. Next, remove all the racks and other components that can be taken out easily.

Step 2 – wash these items carefully letting them soak for a bit in the hot water. Then rinse with hot water again and lay them out to dry in a safe place.

Step 3 – Clean out any debris around the drain inside your dishwasher. Use the hot soapy water as your cleaning agent and start wiping down those easy-to-reach places.

Step 4 – Get an old but clean toothbrush and scrub those hard-to-reach spots. You can use a spray bottle filled with hot soapy water, vinegar, or even bleach mixed with water to kill those germs. make sure to be thorough and do not omit one hard-to-reach spot including the seals and gaskets.

Step 5 – Next, fill a bowl that is dishwasher safe with vinegar. Place the bowl in the top or bottom rack, whichever place gets you the best results, and close the door. Run your dishwasher through one cycle.

Or use chlorine bleach instead, make sure with either choice you use the hottest hot water setting your machine can reach.

Step 6 – When the last cycle is done, sprinkle some baking soda on the floor of your dishwasher and send it through another cycle. This will eliminate the vinegar or bleach odors that have remained behind.

Key Elements in Sanitizing Your Dishwasher

3D model of spherical, spiky germs floating

When your appliance does not have that sanitizing option, there are some key elements you need to do manually. These are important to get done as germs, mold and other bacteria are expert hiders. They could win a game of hide and seek without even trying very hard.

When you are sanitizing your dishwasher do not forget the door. There are parts there that need special attention as they are perfect hiding spots for bacteria, etc. Wipe the grime away even if you are only doing your regular dish washing chores. Getting the grime out as you go is one way to make your old-fashioned sanitizing job easier.

Then, to make the dishwasher’s job a little easier, pre-rinse your pots, pans, and plates, etc. Getting the food particles before they enter the appliance is one way to keep the dishwasher from being over worked. You will have less work to do at sanitizing time as well.

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