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Not to sound too much like a commercial, do you ever load your dishwasher, run it with your favorite, reliable detergent, and then find that your glasses are cloudy? If that scenario sounds familiar, you may need to wash your dishwasher. While you may keep your windows shiny, your floors spic and span, and your heirloom family silver looking like it’s brand new, it may not occur to you wash the machine that washes your dishes. Dishwashers really do need the occasional cleaning, though, because over time grease, soap scum, and food debris can build up reducing their efficiency (hence the cloudy glasses) and providing a breeding ground for germs. If you live in an area of the South with hard water, that can lead to stains on your machine, too. Luckily, they are one appliance that is easy to clean.

How to Clean Your Dishwasher

The next time your dishwasher is empty, clean the drain to remove any bits of food captured there. Then place a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container on the upper rack. Then, run the dishwasher through a hot-water cycle. That’s it! The vinegar works to break down grease, build up, and remove any mysteriously musty odors emanating from the machine. If this cleaning cycle sounds familiar, it’s because it works on the same principle as running a cup of white vinegar through your washing machine.

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If vinegar isn’t enough to keep your machine sparkling and smelling fresh and get your dishes shining, home improvement expert Bob Vila recommends following a vinegar cycle with a  baking soda wash, especially if the interior of the appliance is stained. Simply sprinkle a cup of baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher and run a short wash cycle with hot water. The baking soda should leave the machine brighter and fresher.