Quick Tips: 3 Ways to Care for Your Dishwasher

February 28, 2015 by Amy Clark

3 Tips for Caring for Your Dishwasher

On a recent flight, I was seated next to a woman who tests appliances for a living. I’m sure her job might not seem exciting to some, but I could hardly contain my excitement as we exchanged tips and ideas for maintaining the efficiency of our appliances. I’m not sure if she was used to someone with such enthusiasm about her work! I learned so much on that short flight to Chicago and was in great company too. Writing for Kenmore and sharing ways to care for appliances is my favorite part of my job! I love learning how to keep the appliances in our home running efficiently.

As a busy mom, I can tell you that the most loved and utilized appliance in our home is our dishwasher. As someone who loves saving money and staying within a budget, it’s nice to know that you use less water with a dishwasher than if you wash those dishes by hand. Caring for your dishwasher should definitely be a priority. I’ll share a few quick tips to keep your dishwasher running smoothly.

1. Switch Your Cycles

We often get in the habit of running the same cycles on our appliances and that isn’t always the best choice for our appliances. Hard-water deposits can build up on the spray arms and jets if only one cycle is being used all the time. Try switching up your normal routines… give the Pots & Pans cycle a spin or the Normal wash cycle rather than choosing the same cycle every time. By switching cycles, you can keep hard water deposits from building up in your dishwasher.

I admit that the cycle I’m most fond of on our Kenmore dishwasher is the SmartWash HE cycle. It can determine the right amount of time, water and energy needed to get excellent cleaning results using the least amount of resources. You can try the shorter cycle on your own dishwasher first or opt for the most energy-efficient cycle and see if your dishes come out clean. If you need to run a longer cycle, skip the heated-dry cycle and allow dishes to air-dry. Doing this is not only more cost-effective, but there is less chance of spotting on your glassware.

2. Keep the Interior Shiny

For the most part, your dishwasher interior is self-cleaning, but if it’s starting to look dingy, you can try one of these easy tips. Fill your detergent cup with a drinking mix with citrus in it and then run an empty cycle. You can use any citrus drink mix and fill it just as you would with your regular detergent. Any drink mix will do: lemonade, Tang, Crystal Lite, or any other with a citrus ingredient.

If you don’t happen to have a drink mix handy, place a clean cereal bowl containing a half-cup of white vinegar in the upper rack of your empty dishwasher and run a normal cycle. The acid in the vinegar should take care of any mineral deposits that have built up inside your dishwasher. Make it a habit to do this once a month to keep your dishwasher looking like new.

Stubborn spots on the dishwasher door are also bothersome. If the steps above don’t do the trick, you can try using other products to get rid of the stains. Tomato-based stains will just have to fade with time, but you can sprinkle a little baking soda on the door and let it set while you tidy the rest of the kitchen. After it’s set, add a small amount of water to make a paste. Use your soft cloth to rub the paste into the door; this should remove stains.

3. Keep the Exterior Shiny

For general cleaning of appliance exteriors, a clean damp sponge is your best bet. Add just a dab of dishwashing detergent to the sponge and give it a swipe. Then rinse the detergent from the sponge and go over the dishwasher again. If you have a stainless steel dishwasher, remember to wipe with the grain of the steel. Stainless steel cleaners can also be used, but use them sparingly with a soft cloth and wipe with the grain to achieve the best results.

Image: Kenmore 24” Built-In Dishwasher w/ PowerWave™ Spray Arm & TurboZone™ Option

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark has been the driving force behind MomAdvice since 2004. In addition to running a successful community for women and running after her two kids, she has appeared on The Early Show, and in Parents magazine, Redbook, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, MSN Money and The New York Times.