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What Are the Best Tips for Dishwasher Sanitizing?

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  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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As with most appliances, dishwashers tend to be overlooked when it comes to cleaning, and a buildup of food, grease, and dirt can make it unsanitary. Some of the best tips for dishwasher sanitizing include washing it by hand first and then preheating your water prior to running it on empty with a sanitizing agent. Try to use cleaning products that you would usually use on your dishes or utensils, and, no matter what sanitizer you choose, stop the washing cycle halfway through to let the sanitizer sit in the washer for about thirty minutes to ensure a thorough cleaning.

Even if your dishwasher looks relatively unsoiled at first glance, there is likely dirt and grime stuck in the crevices. One of the best tips for dishwasher sanitizing is to pre-clean it first before running the sanitizing agent through it. A mixture of hot water and dish soap in addition to an abrasive sponge or cleaning brush can be used to clean around the different parts inside the appliance. To make sure that you can reach everything, remove the rack before you clean the interior and then wash any holders or containers, such as those used for utensils, and the racks in hot soapy water before placing everything back inside.

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Just as you have to wait for the hot water to come in prior to showering, you should also preheat the water for the dishwasher. In most homes, the dishwasher is hooked up to the sink, and running the hot water from the sink until it is preheated will also heat up the water for the dishwasher. If this isn’t the case, you can run the appliance for a few minutes with the water set to hot before you restart the cycle. Hot water is ideal for cleaning, and making sure that you use it for the entire process is the most effective means of dishwasher sanitizing.

While it may be tempting to spray your appliance down with a sanitizing or disinfecting spray, you typically should not use any cleaners that you wouldn’t use on your dishes. The ingredients in these types of cleaners are often too harsh for the coating of your dishwasher and the rubber seals that hold the different parts together. In most cases, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide are the best for dishwasher sanitizing, as they are gentle enough to not damage your dishwasher and will not leave behind any harmful residue.

For the most effective cleaning, any agent that you use for dishwasher sanitizing should be allowed to sit for a short period of time so it can effectively remove dirt and grime. You can usually accomplish this by stopping your appliance halfway through the washing cycle after you’ve put your vinegar or hydrogen peroxide inside. Let it sit for about thirty minutes and then turn the machine back on, allowing it to finish the cycle.

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