How to clean your dishwasher with vinegar

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The do’s and do not’s of how to safely clean your dishwasher with vinegar.
Yes, vinegar can damage your dishwasher if you don’t use it correctly.
Vinegar is awesome because it can be used to clean practically everything, and it leaves the area smelling super fresh, but there are a few areas where vinegar should be avoided completely. To make it easier for you we have broken it down with the do’s and do not’s of how to clean your dishwasher with vinegar.
How + why NOT to use vinegar to clean your dishwasher
Vinegar’s acidic properties break down grease and grime which is what we want, but when you’re using it in your dishwasher you’ve got to be careful. Vinegar’s pH measures around 2.0, which isn’t too much higher than that of sulfuric acid. So, as you might imagine you need to be very diligent when using it in your dishwasher or you can wreak havoc on your dishwasher’s rubber seals and gaskets.
Vinegar could dry out the dishwasher’s rubber parts and cause them to crack and leak over time. This could lead to a frustrating and expensive repair, not to mention you could end up with a wading pool in your kitchen.
Also, if the vinegar mixes with salt inside your dishwasher, it might cause a chemical reaction and discolor your metal items, like flatware and pans.
How + why to use vinegar to clean your dishwasher
So, with this being said, you can use vinegar to clean your dishwasher, but you do not want to add it to the soap dispenser and have vinegar spraying all over your dishwasher.
Although vinegar is a great cleaning agent, you don’t want to use it in place of dishwasher detergent. It can damage your dishes. When choosing a dishwasher detergent, it is wise to choose one that will prevent hard water filming.
Before you clean your dishwasher, check your filter!
Your dishwasher filter is located on the bottom of the machine, so pull out the bottom rack to get to it. Pull out the filter, and hand wash it in the sink with hot, hot water and dish soap. Bad odors usually come from the food particles trapped in the dishwasher’s drain filter.
Unclog and wipe down interior parts
Look at your dishwasher’s spray arm and drain hose to check for clogs. Use your scrub brush to clear the passageways so the water can flow properly. Use a soft damp cloth to wipe parts clean.
Now you can run your dishwasher with a cup of vinegar in the top rack!
Vinegar is a natural odor neutralizer, so not only will it help to loosen all of the grime in your dishwasher it will help kill any lingering odors as well.

Here’s what to do:
• Fill a mug ⅔ full with white vinegar.
• Nestle the mug securely in the top rack of the dishwasher, facing upright.
• Run your dishwasher (empty!) on a hot cycle.
• Let the vinegar work its magic. The trick here is to keep that vinegar in the cup—again, not allowing the vinegar to spray all through the machine.
• If you dislike the smell of vinegar, you can add a couple drops of essential oil into the cup or bowl to diffuse the smell. (we like peppermint!) Just a couple drops should do the trick.