Welcome back to the Chasing Clean Challenge!! Last year, I ran five  cleaning challenges for you.  Back by popular demand, I have some new challenges for you! If you missed the first few challenges (where we’ve been focusing on the kitchen), head on over to the Cleaning section of my blog, where you’ll find the first Chasing Clean Challenges, along with lots of other articles on cleaning!

The Project: The Dishwasher

I’ll bet ya that most of you out there don’t really consider the dishwasher something to be cleaned…I mean, we load it…We unload it…(multiple times a day at our house!) End of story. Think again! I posted on my facebook page (please join me on facebook!!) that I had my grossest ever cleaning experience. I asked my readers to guess what I was cleaning….I’ll bet no one out there suspected the culprit was the dishwasher….I am here to tell you, nay, to testify, that it NEEDS to be cleaned!

See for yourself….

Just look at the filth creeping up the side of my dishwasher…..It had never occured to me to clean or sanitize the inside of my dishwasher…We’ve lived in our home for almost 4 years, and inherited it from some fairly messy people. I’d never cleaned the inside of my dishwasher until this day….and you could tell!

The Steps:

1. Run and Unload – If you have dirty dishes in your dishwasher, go ahead and run the load. Unload all of your dishes.

2. Do a Basic Sanitize Run! Place a small bowl of white vinegar on the top rack of your dishwasher, and run a full cycle using hot water. Next, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher and run a short cycle. Neither of these things will fix the problem, but it “preps the surface” so to speak…

(Pinterest makes the above steps seem like the “be-all/end-all” of dishwasher cleaning, but they aren’t. You can’t stop there if you want a TRULY clean dishwasher…Trust me on this one…)

3. Get Your Hands Dirty! (And, I’m afraid this is quite literal….and squeamish stomachs should seek assistance…)

  • Wipe Down the Sides! As evidenced in the picture above, the sides of your dishwasher can accumulate a lot of grease grime, and stains from food and beverages. With your favorite disinfectant spray, get to work, scrubbing down the sides of your dishwasher.
  • Wipe Down the Door!  Make sure to pay attention to the door of your dishwasher, wiping and spraying on the sides, underneath the utensil basket…top to bottom! Just look at the “crud” that lurked on my door!

How many of us ever really stop to LOOK at the inside of our dishwasher? This stuff comes in contact with our plates! Let’s take care of it!

  • Check Behind the Door! This is where I found the bulk of “junk” in my dishwasher….It is a hidden area, so we can’t see what lurks there…Here is where you should check :

Inside your dishwasher, just behind the door, check the small interior wall. This is basically the backside of the door. Get your paper towel ready, and run it along the side of this hidden wall. You’ll need to do this several times, and be ready to handle the “stuff” that falls to the dishwasher floor as a result.

I found THIS in my dishwasher. GROSS. As you wipe, make sure to go back and cover your tracks, wiping and spraying the floor of the dishwasher, cleaning up the “sludge fall-out.” If you have a newer dishwasher, you may escape this hidden sludge, but you might find mildew, blackish residue, or some mild staining.

  • Wipe the Front! I like to use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to tackle the front of my dishwasher. I find that it leaves my washer looking brilliantly white and clean. Make sure to scrub down the top of the door, the handle, the buttons, and the front surface. (Some dust and grime can also be found underneath the dishwasher front, if it is not flush with your cabinets. )
  • Be Kool! End your cleaning with another fun cleaning sensation (all over the internet right now.) Pour a packet of Lemonade Kool-Aid (has to be lemonade) into the detergent cup, and run an empty load. The citric acid  tackles any remaining stains and takes care of lime deposits and iron stains.

I implore you to go take a look inside your dishwasher so you can avoid the nasty sludge that plagued me…Have fun cleaning!