Gritty dishes? How to clean the dishwasher

Cleaning a dishwasher is still easier than cleaning old ketchup off of a load of plates – here's how easy it is!

How To Clean Dishwasher

Your dishwasher really does get put through its paces, but if you keep it clean, it’ll work just as hard as you need it to. With this easy-to-follow guide to cleaning cleaning and descaling your dishwasher, you can take decisive action and avoid being faced with gritty dishes.

How to deep clean your dishwasher

Before you start, remember to switch off your dishwasher and unplug it (safety first). Then check out the manual for the best way to remove the various parts. All done? Here’s how to clean the dishwasher:

1. Remove the rack and spinning arms

The first of our dishwasher cleaning tips is a simple one. Make sure the dishwasher is completely empty – and we’re not just talking about the crockery. This means unstacking it, lifting out the racks and detaching the spinning arms. Set them aside for a moment and check the bottom grate to make sure that it’s completely clear of any stray teaspoons.

2. How to clean the dishwasher filter

Now it’s time to think about how to clean the dishwasher filter. First, you’ll need to remove it. There’s a good chance this job will be reasonably grim (this is where all those scraps of food are lingering) so wear gloves.

Once you’ve lifted it out, simply disassemble it and wash the filter parts in the sink, using an old toothbrush or nailbrush and some warm soapy water. Scrub gently and they should clear satisfyingly easily. Finally, put the parts back together and put the filter back.

3. Clean the inside of the dishwasher door

A really effective and natural way to clean the dishwasher door is to use vinegar: apply some to a few sheets of absorbent kitchen paper and give the door a good wipe down. Pay close attention to the seals and detergent compartments, and use a small brush to get into the tight corners.


A kitchen towel that’s strong when wet is the perfect companion when cleaning the dishwasher. Plenty is ideal, because it will hold together, even through soaking and wiping.

4. Clean the racks and spinning arms

The spray holes in the spinning arms are key to the effectiveness of your dishwasher, so make sure they are unclogged. Cleaning your dishwasher spinning arms is easy – just use a pick or tweezers to remove any particles from the holes.

Run them under the tap to make sure water is passing through the holes easily. It might spray out at unexpected angles, so keep some of that kitchen paper handy to mop up afterwards.

Moving onto the racks, check for any stuck-on food and then give them a good scrub with your brush. Rinse them off and fit them back into your dishwasher, along with the spinning arms.

5. Get a really clean dishwasher with vinegar

The next step is to clean the inside of your dishwasher to get rid of any residue caused by hard water. For more information on how to descale your dishwasher, read our full guide below.

6. The natural way to clean dishwasher doors and buttons

Now you know how to clean dishwasher parts, get rid of grime and remove any hard water build-ups, you can move onto the final steps.

You don’t have to use chemicals to get things shiny; a much more natural way to clean dishwasher doors and buttons is to use a combination of vinegar and baking soda. Give the door a gentle scrub with the mixture then wipe thoroughly with kitchen paper.


When wiping up home remedies and water splashes, you’ll get the job done quickly with a really absorbent paper towel. Plenty The Extra Big One offers excellent absorbency and its extra-large sheets are perfect for tackling household jobs efficiently.

There you have it: a shiny, efficient dishwasher, and no more mysterious gritty patches on your dishes and glasses. Now you can get back to letting your appliance do all the hard work.

How to descale a dishwasher

It’s normal to get build-up of calcium deposits inside your dishwasher, especially if you live in an area with hard water. The minerals in your water can cause a white or greyish residue on the walls of your dishwasher, as well as calcification on both the inside of your dishwasher, and on your dishes. Thankfully, this is easy to get rid of so after some cleaning, your dishes will sparkle once again!

Descaling your dishwasher with vinegar

Once all the parts have been taken out, cleaned and reassembled, it’s time to get deep into the dishwasher’s inner workings. Wondering how to clean a dishwasher with vinegar? Simply pour a cup or two into the bottom of the machine and run a full hot cycle. That should break down hard water deposits and clean off any leftover residue that you might have missed.

There you have it: a shiny, efficient dishwasher, and no more mysterious gritty patches on your dishes and glasses. Now you can get back to letting your appliance do all the hard work. While you’re on the descaling hype, why not learn how to clean your kettle that’s covered in limescale or discover how to descale and deep clean your coffee machine

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