Can You Pour Vinegar in Bottom of Dishwasher?

The short answer is yes, but only in moderation and with caution. Vinegar is a natural and effective cleaner that can help remove grease, soap scum, and food particles from your dishwasher. However, vinegar is also acidic and corrosive, which means it can damage some parts of your dishwasher if used incorrectly. In this article, we will explain how to use vinegar safely and properly to clean your dishwasher, as well as some alternatives and tips to keep your dishwasher in top shape.

Why Use Vinegar to Clean Your Dishwasher?

Vinegar is a common household item that has many uses and benefits. It is cheap, eco-friendly, and versatile. Vinegar can be used to clean, deodorize, disinfect, and remove stains from various surfaces and materials. Vinegar is especially useful for cleaning your dishwasher because it can:

  • Break down grease and grime that accumulate on the interior walls and racks of your dishwasher
  • Loosen and dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits that clog the spray arms and filter of your dishwasher
  • Kill bacteria and germs that cause odors and health risks in your dishwasher
  • Brighten and shine your dishes and glassware by removing spots and streaks

How to Use Vinegar to Clean Your Dishwasher Safely and Properly?

The best way to use vinegar to clean your dishwasher is to run a hot cycle with vinegar once every few weeks or months, depending on how often you use your dishwasher and how dirty it gets. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Empty your dishwasher and remove any large food particles or debris from the bottom and filter. You may need to use a soapy cloth or sponge to wipe the filter and the rubber seals and gaskets.
  2. Fill a dishwasher-safe cup, bowl, or mug with white vinegar. You will need about 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar, depending on the size of your dishwasher. Place the cup, bowl, or mug upright on the top rack of your dishwasher, facing up.
  3. Run your dishwasher on a normal or heavy cycle with hot water. Do not add any detergent or other cleaning products. The vinegar will mix with the water and circulate throughout the dishwasher, cleaning and sanitizing it.
  4. Once the cycle is complete, open the door and remove the cup, bowl, or mug with vinegar. Wipe down the inside of your dishwasher with a clean cloth or paper towel. You may also want to run a rinse cycle with plain water to remove any vinegar residue.
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What Are the Risks and Precautions of Using Vinegar to Clean Your Dishwasher?

While vinegar is a great cleaner for your dishwasher, it is not without risks and precautions. Vinegar is acidic and corrosive, which means it can harm some parts of your dishwasher if used incorrectly. Here are some things to keep in mind when using vinegar to clean your dishwasher:

  • Do not pour vinegar directly into the bottom of your dishwasher. This can cause the vinegar to splash and contact the rubber seals and gaskets, which can dry out and crack over time. This can lead to leaks and damage to your dishwasher and your kitchen floor. Always use a cup, bowl, or mug to contain the vinegar and place it on the top rack of your dishwasher.
  • Do not use vinegar instead of dishwasher detergent to wash your dishes. Vinegar can damage your dishes, especially metal ones, by causing discoloration, corrosion, and pitting. Vinegar can also leave a sour taste and smell on your dishes. Always use a proper dishwasher detergent, such as Cascade Platinum ActionPacs, to wash your dishes. These detergents are formulated to prevent hard water filming and keep your dishes and dishwasher clean and fresh.
  • Do not use vinegar too often or too much to clean your dishwasher. Vinegar can be harsh on your dishwasher and its components, especially if used excessively or in high concentrations. Too much vinegar can also affect the pH balance of your dishwasher and make it less effective at cleaning your dishes. Use vinegar sparingly and only when needed to deep clean your dishwasher. A good rule of thumb is to use vinegar once every few weeks or months, depending on how dirty your dishwasher gets.
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What Are Some Alternatives and Tips to Clean Your Dishwasher?

If you are not a fan of vinegar or want to try something different, there are some alternatives and tips to clean your dishwasher. Here are some of them:

  • Baking soda: Baking soda is another natural and effective cleaner that can help deodorize and scrub your dishwasher. You can sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher and run a hot cycle with vinegar or water. You can also make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the interior walls and racks of your dishwasher. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then wipe it off with a damp cloth.
  • Lemon juice: Lemon juice is another acidic and antibacterial cleaner that can help remove stains and odors from your dishwasher. You can squeeze some lemon juice into a cup, bowl, or mug and place it on the top rack of your dishwasher. Run a hot cycle with water or vinegar. You can also cut a lemon in half and rub it on the interior surfaces of your dishwasher. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then rinse it off with water.
  • Dishwasher cleaner: Dishwasher cleaner is a product that is specially designed to clean and maintain your dishwasher. It can help remove grease, limescale, and food residues from your dishwasher and improve its performance and lifespan. You can use a dishwasher cleaner once a month or as needed, following the instructions on the package. Some dishwasher detergents, such as Cascade Platinum ActionPacs + Dishwasher Cleaner Action, have a built-in dishwasher cleaner that can clean your dishwasher while it cleans your dishes.
  • Regular maintenance: Regular maintenance is the best way to keep your dishwasher clean and in good condition. You should always scrape off any large food particles from your dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. You should also check and clean the filter, spray arms, and drain of your dishwasher regularly to prevent clogs and blockages. You should also inspect and replace the rubber seals and gaskets of your dishwasher if they are worn or damaged. You should also run your dishwasher at least once a week to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
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Conclusion

Vinegar is a handy and effective cleaner that can help you keep your dishwasher clean and fresh. However, you should use it with moderation and caution, as it can also damage some parts of your dishwasher if used incorrectly. The best way to use vinegar to clean your dishwasher is to run a hot cycle with vinegar in a cup, bowl, or mug on the top rack of your dishwasher once every few weeks or months. You can also try some alternatives and tips to clean your dishwasher, such as baking soda, lemon juice, dishwasher cleaner, and regular maintenance. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your dishwasher is always ready to wash your dishes and make them sparkle.