How to Clean A Dishwasher

woman removing bottom rack of sharp dishwasher

The kitchen is known as the heart of the home. It gives us a place to prepare food for the family, display artwork from kids, and gather with friends. There is no doubt in my mind that it sets the mood for the rest of the house so I try my best to make it the cleanest and best-smelling room in my home.

I love having a clean house and to keep it looking its best, I try to give it a good deep clean once a month. I am quick to remember to clean the things I can easily see like the surfaces and floors, but what about those hidden spots that often get overlooked? I can’t even count the number of times I’ve forgotten about them and ended up with weird smells coming from different parts of my home. There is one place in the kitchen I have struggled with the most: the dishwasher. I occasionally have to deal with a smelly dishwasher and have searched the internet high and low to help me deodorize the appliance. After trying a couple of different methods, I have decided to share a few of my favorites with you.

I have put all of my favorite tried and true methods in one place so you don’t have to search! Are you looking for a way to clean and deodorize a dishwasher? I have attached some of my favorite ways I clean my Sharp Slide-in Stainless Steel Dishwasher. So, without further ado, let’s get this cycle started! 

Take It From the Expert

If you don’t take it from me, take it from Michelle Miller, founder of Sunkissed Kitchen. A while back, she was able to curate and cater a great way to clean a dishwasher and bring it back to its like-new form. Don’t believe us? Hear it from her and watch how she transforms her Sharp Slide-In Stainless Steel Dishwashers


….. And here are some additional ways found to help clean your dishwasher, found by the wonderful staff of Simply Better Living!


Clean the Filter 

It was not until recently when I was scrolling through TikTok that I realized dishwashers had filtered in them and most importantly, that the filters needed to be cleaned. I had never seen my parents clean the filter of our dishwasher growing up and my apartments in college didn’t have a dishwasher so you could imagine my surprise when I learned all of this information!  

To clean the filter, you must first remove it from the dishwasher. Located at the bottom of most dishwashers is a filter. To access the filter, you slide the bottom rack out. Then, you will see the filter at the bottom, and with a simple unscrew, you will have removed the filter. Dispose of any built-up grime and food collected by the filter into the garbage. Fill your sink or bowl with hot water and dish soap and place the filter inside. Allow the filter to soak for around 30 minutes, then place the filter back in the dishwasher. If you happen to remove anything, it is important to remember the order and placement of everything so it all goes back in the correct way. Take a quick picture before, that’s what I do.

Whenever I get a weird smell coming from my dishwasher, this is the first thing I do. This process should be done every few weeks to ensure that there isn’t a build-up. If the smell still isn’t gone when I clean the filter with soap and water or I want to ensure a deeper clean, I pair it with another cleaning method!


baking soda at the bottom of a SHARP dishwasher

Baking Soda

Baking soda is an affordable product but do you know its amazing uses? Aside from being a key ingredient in most baking recipes, it can also be used to clean! Because of its variety of uses, I always have some on hand. You can even use it to clean your dishwasher and the process is simple!

To clean your dishwasher with baking soda, move the bottom rack forward and sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom interior of the dishwasher. It takes me about 1/2 cup to cover the bottom of mine the way I like. Allow the baking soda to sit there for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Then, close the dishwasher and run it (it’s important to make sure there are no dishes in the appliance!). I found the best results when I used the Heavy Duty cycle and Sanitize setting on my Sharp Dishwasher. It’s quick, easy, and affordable!


Lemon wedges on a cutting board

A Lemon

Are you using lemon in your next recipe? If you are, don’t throw it away when you’re done squeezing the fresh juice out of it! You can place a lemon into the dishwasher the next time you run it. The lemon can be placed on the top rack, right alongside dishes, as the cycle runs. This method gets the most out of your lemons. Who knew you could use lemons for more than just food?

You can also use lemon juice by itself in an empty dishwasher. Place about a cup of lemon juice on the top rack of your dishwasher. Run the dishwasher on its normal setting and watch the magic happen. I personally find this method to be extremely helpful when I am in a rush and want to clean both my dishes and dishwasher at the same time. How do you like those lemons? I love them!


Citric acid on w wooden spoon with lemons

Citric Acid

Citric acid has also been known to be used in the kitchen for cooking purposes, but can it help when it’s time to clean up after the food? Absolutely! Citric acid comes from fruits, primarily lemons, so it is no surprise to me that since we can use a lemon to clean our stinky dishwasher, we can also use crystallized citric acid.

To clean your dishwasher with crystallized citric acid, place a few tablespoons of the citric acid in the detergent cup. Run the dishwasher on a normal setting with the citric acid enclosed in the detergent cup. There should not be any dishes in the machine. Run the dishwasher in a normal setting. After the cycle has finished, you should be left with an odorless dishwasher!


White Vinegar 

I saved my personal favorite for last: vinegar.  Personally, I use vinegar because I find it to be an affordable and versatile cleaner that works best for my cleaning needs. I am always sure to have some in my home and find myself using it to clean everything! 

To clean your dishwasher using this method, pour 1 cup of white vinegar into a dishwasher-safe cup or bowl. Place the cup on the top rack of an empty dishwasher. Run the dishwasher on the hottest cycle. Within no time, the smell from your dishwasher will be gone and it will be shining like new! 


Special Tip!

After running different cycles with different cleaning methods, I also find that sometimes food particles and grime can build on the seals and sides of the dishwasher. For those hard-to-reach places, I like to go in with a toothbrush and scrub with dish soap and water.


These cleaning methods are popular and used by many people across the internet. You should never use any detergent or soap in your dishwasher that was not specifically designed to be used in a dishwasher. Use caution when trying homemade methods. 

If you try any of these methods or have any of your own, use #SharpHome to share with us. We would love to see how you keep your home looking sharp!  

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About Sharp Home Electronics Company of America (SHCA)

SHCA is the US Consumer Products Group of Sharp Electronics Corporation, the US sales subsidiary of Sharp Corporation, a worldwide developer and manufacturer of one-of-a-kind premium technology products.  SHCA includes the manufacturing of premium home appliances in Memphis, TN, together with the sales & marketing, and servicing of home electronics based in Montvale, NJ.  Leading products include Sharp AQUOS™ TVs, Sharp Carousel®, Microwave Drawer™ ovens, SuperSteam+™ ovens, and Plasmacluster® Ion air purifiers.

Sharp Corporation appears on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies for 2023. Sharp Electronics Corporation received a 2023 award for Best Places to Work in NJ. Learn more at http://www.sharpusa.com/.

Sharp, AQUOS, Carousel, Microwave Drawer, SuperSteam+, Plasmacluster, and all related trademarks are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sharp Corporation and/or its affiliated companies. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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