Funky Dishwasher

Another Pinterest housekeeping "pin" that has been on my list is tackling my funky smelling dishwasher. I talked to my mom, read some blogs, and found this pin about using Kool Aid for cleaning the inside and I came up with this plan of attack.

Gather up some supplies, sister!

1 package of unsweetened lemonade drink mix
An old toothbrush
Turkey baster
Bucket of hot, soapy water and a rag

1. Pull out the racks and clean the wheels and tracks with hot soapy water with vinegar added.

2. Pull out the bottom contraptions, the screen, the trap, the water squirter thing...they all come out. Taking a photo like this ahead of time can come in handy in case you are unsure of how to get it all back together!

Here is how it looks with all the pieces removed:

3. Scrub all the pieces with hot, soapy vinegar water. You may need to use the toothbrush to get some of the scale off around openings and to clean the gunky screen. Use a toothpick to clear the holes of the screen are too gunked up.

The part that squirts the water actually opens up with side clips. I removed the top and bottom one, they just popped right off the fitting. I actually found food inside there, too, after I opened them!

4. Using the turkey baster, suck all the water from the trap/drain at the bottom and look for pieces of food, labels, toothpicks(?) blocking the drain in there. Scrub the whole thing with your toothbrush and hot, soapy water.

5. Pay close attention to the rubber gasket around the door, the soap compartment, and the bottom hinged area. Scrub both with hot, soapy water. Lots of stink came from there.

6. Replace all the parts then fill the soap dispenser with a package of unsweetened lemonade drink mix and run for a full cycle.

All clean and lemony fresh!

Do you have any other tips for cleaning a dishwasher?



  1. The only thing I did differently was put all the pieces and parts in the sink with hot water and 2 cups of white vinegar (just enough water to cover everything). I let that sit for about 2 hours and didn't have much scrubbing to do at all. Not only does the dishwasher not smell grotty but no longer is there any residual gick on my glasses.

  2. Question. I just got a new dishwasher and the installer told me to make sure I use a rinsing agent (Jet dry, cascade or whatever) so it doesn't begin to smell. Just wondering if that advice is true. So, I must ask, just because I'm curious. Do you (or any commenters) use a rinsing agent?

  3. GRRRLLL! You are a lifesaver. We have a funky dishwasher and I've searched high and low with no real results. I am so bookmarking this. Thank you.

  4. I use the rinse agent. Eh... so so. I also look behind the plastic pipe along the back of the dishwasher that the water goes through to the top water shooter. You would not believe the junk behind there! My water is really hard, so I often pour white vinegar into the dishwasher by the cupful at the beginning of a wash cycle and the glasses are shiny again.

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  6. What a neat idea this is!!
    Thank you for sharing!


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