Dirty Dishwashers

In a previous post I mentioned that one of the best ways to save on house cleaning is to find alternative cleaning products. For example, instead of purchasing Whink Rust Stain Remover or Super Iron Out to remove rust stains from your dishwasher, you could substitute with Tang or Orange Kool Aid powder. Obviously, the popular kids’ drink cost a lot less than specialty commercial cleaners.

The downside to using frugal homemade cleaners is that they don’t always do the trick. For example, I wouldn’t use Tang to clean a dishwasher that contains a bunch of stubborn rust stains. In fact, depending on how bad the stains are, you might even consider getting it professionally cleaned and then purchase a water purification/filtration system for your home to prevent future stains from forming.

However, don’t jump the gun on that decision until you have exhausted all of your affordable options first. For example, if you are looking to eliminate mineral build-up from the inside of your dishwasher, consider using vinegar. Simply remove all the dishes from the dishwasher and turn it on. Once the dishwasher fills up with the water from the hottest setting, open it up and pour two cups of regular household vinegar into the machine. Once the dishwasher completes its cycle examine the interior to see if all of the deposits have been removed.

If you don’t feel comfortable opening your dishwasher while it is filling, you could opt to place the vinegar in a bowl and set it on the bottom rack of the empty dishwasher. Then, run the dishwasher on heavy cycle and let the vinegar mix with the water to remove any unwanted stains and deposits.

To eliminate nasty smells from the inside of your dishwasher, consider sprinkling some baking soda or Borax on the bottom of the machine. Just be sure to empty out the dishwasher before you add the Borax. The machine should be empty and dry because you need to let the Borax or baking soda sit overnight. In the morning simply rub the powder on the interior of the machine with a damp sponge, and then run the machine on heavy cycle using the hottest water possible.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.