Now, with some above-zero temperatures, the dishwasher is working again. However, before I used it I wanted to clean it thoroughly. I found a pin on Pinterest that led to One Good Thing By Jillee that showed step-by-step how to clean a dishwasher thoroughly. I was curious to see if her enthusiasm about her method would translate into a sparkly-clean dishwasher for me.
She first recommends pulling the bottom rack out of the dishwasher to look carefully that there are no hard chunks of food that can plug the drain or damage dishes. I didn't find anything, so I moved onto the next step.
This is the part that bothered me the most.
No matter what I did to clean the dishwasher using pre-made cleaners
that are available in big-box stores, this would not get clean.
I filled a dishwasher-safe mug with one cup of plain white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher.
As she said, "Using the hottest water available, run the dishwasher through a cycle – except for the cup of vinegar, the dishwasher needs to be empty."
A cup of vinegar ready to go through a washing cycle.
The purpose of this step is to sanitize the dishwasher, remove any grease, and dispel the musty odor.
If vinegar isn't available, a packet of unsweetened lemonade mix in the soap cup can be used. Note: do not use other flavors as they may stain the inside of your dishwasher. (This step can be eliminated if an all-natural cleaning of a dishwasher is preferred)
The packaged of unsweetened lemonade mix
soaking up some water that was in the cup.
Since I hadn't used the dishwasher for quite a while, I did both the vinegar and lemonade mix in the same cycle. Figure it couldn't hurt to double-dose the dishwasher and thoroughly clean it.
When I opened up the dishwasher, there was still some discoloration on the floor of it that I had hoped would be gone. There was still one more step, so I was hoping that would do the trick.
So, I sprinkled one cup of baking soda around the bottom of the dishwasher and ran it through a short cycle using the hottest water. The purpose of the baking soda is to freshen the smell of the dishwasher as well as brighten up the look of the inside of your appliance by removing stains.
When the dishwasher completed the second cycle, I opened it and was greeted by a burst of steam.
Once that cleared, I looked at the floor of the dishwasher and that stain was gone! I could not believe it!
The dishwasher looks and smells clean. This method works so much better than those chemical-cubes that come with the dishwasher to sanitize it. And, because these items - vinegar, baking soda, and unsweetened lemonade mix - are readily available, cleaning the dishwasher is something that can be easily and routinely done.