Regularly cleaning the inside of your dishwasher is an easy way to help prevent a smelly dishwasher and the build-up of detergent, minerals and dirt. Whether you use a dishwasher cleaning tablet or clean your dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda, repeat the following steps every 30 days to keep your dishwasher and your family’s dishes sparkling clean.

The bottom interior of a dishwasher

How do you clean a dirty dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda?

Remove any dishes before you clean a dishwasher with vinegar and then follow these steps.

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Step 1: Clear the filter

Clear the filter at the bottom of the dishwasher of any food bits or debris like glass, popcorn kernels or small pieces of paper. If applicable, remove and clean the filter to clear any clogs or other obstructions. Keep in mind that some filters cannot be removed—check your Use & Care guide for specific instructions.

A person removing a filter from a dishwasher
Vinegar icon

Step 2: Add white vinegar

Pour 2 cups (500 mL) of white vinegar into a glass measuring cup or other dishwasher-safe container and place upright in the lower rack. Run a normal cycle with the heat dry option turned off to clean the inside of your dishwasher. Do not use detergent.

A person adding a measuring cup of vinegar to a dishwasher rack
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Step 3: Add baking soda

After the cycle with vinegar is complete, sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and run a hot water cycle. That’s all it takes for a clean, fresh-smelling dishwasher!

Cleaning tip: You can use either white or diluted apple cider vinegar. However, distilled white vinegar is preferable since it doesn’t have a coloring agent that could stain surfaces.

A person adding a dishwasher cleaner tablet to a dishwasher

How do you clean a dirty dishwasher with dishwasher cleaner? 

If baking soda and vinegar don’t quite do the job, a cleaner that’s made especially for dishwashers might do the trick.

affresh® dishwasher cleaner is specially formulated to help remove limescale and mineral build-up. Plus, you can use it while running a normal load, helping to descale glassware and dishes. Descaling removes limescale buildup that can contribute to cloudiness on glassware.

Clean filter icon

Step 1: Clear the filter

Clear the filter at the bottom of the dishwasher of any food bits or debris like glass, popcorn kernels or small pieces of paper. If applicable, remove and clean the filter to clear any clogs or other obstructions. Keep in mind that some filters cannot be removed—check your Use & Care guide for specific instructions.

Dishwasher tablet icon

Step 2: Place dishwasher cleaner tablet

If you’re cleaning without dishes, place 1 tablet in the detergent tray. You can add a second tablet to the bottom of the dishwasher if there’s a lot of build-up. 


If you’re cleaning with dishes, put 1 tablet in the bottom of the dishwasher (under the bottom rack) and use your normal detergent in the main detergent tray. Shop affresh® tablets and other cleaners.

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Step 3: Run cycle

No matter whether you’re washing with or without dishes, run a normal wash cycle.

Cleaning tip: Outside of the dishwasher looking dingy? Just wipe down the surface with a damp cloth. To polish stainless steel exteriors, use a cleaner like this affresh® stainless steel cleaning spray.

How often should you clean your dishwasher?

To keep your dishwasher running effectively, follow this simple cleaning schedule. If you have hard water, you may want to do deep cleans more often to remove mineral build-up.

  • After each load: Remove any leftover bits of food or debris at the bottom of the dishwasher.
  • Monthly: Deep clean using the baking soda and vinegar method or use a dishwasher cleaner.
  • As needed: Clean and polish the outside of the dishwasher.

Shop affresh® dishwasher cleaner

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