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Okay, seriously people, if you have a weak stomach you may not want to read any further.

I have a weak stomach and I don’t really want to write any further. ;)

But just in case there’s anyone else out there that is as completely clueless as I was about dishwasher cleaning, I’ll keep going.


When we bought our house six years ago, the dishwasher was listed as non-working.
Bummer, right?

Except that we decided to try it anyway, and guess what? It worked!
Not exceptionally well, but it did seem to get the dishes clean.

Occasionally there would be a plate or fork that still had food stuck to it, but I’m pretty good about doing a pre-rinse, so that didn’t happen often.

Then a little while ago we started smelling something gross whenever we’d turn our dishwasher on.
Kinda like rotten egg smell.

Sickening, huh?

And I noticed that the dishes weren’t as clean as before.

So I did something I’ve never really done before.
I looked inside of my dishwasher.

Okay, I promise that I’m not a super bad housekeeper.
I mean, if you walked in you wouldn’t think my house was dirty.
Lived in, yes, but dirty? I dont think so.
Or I hope not, anyway.

But for whatever reason, I just never considered cleaning out the inside of my dishwasher.

Am I alone here?

Because I seriously never even thought to look inside of my dishwasher, let alone clean it.

So now that I’ve confessed, it’s time for the gag-a-trocious part.

I pulled out the following parts (and no, I don’t know the technical names for any of this):

the sprayer rotating thing from the bottom
the thing that it sits in
the filter(?) that’s underneath all of that.
the filter-like thing that’s on the top of the door

And let me tell ya, nothing prepared me for all the decayed food, broken glass (yeah), dirt, and SLIME that I found up under there.

If you’ve never cleaned your dishwasher out, I’d recommend putting on some protective gear and gas masks before you attempt it.
I’m serious.

So anyway, here’s a photo so you can see exactly what I did.

Because if you’ve never cleaned this stuff out before and you’ve used your dishwasher for a while, you might want to check it out and make sure it doesn’t become what mine did.

#1 – Follow the instructions on the photo and clean up the toxic waste you discover underneath. My entire filter was completely clogged up. In fact, I didn’t even realize that there were holes in it when I first pulled it out. But that may have been due to the eye-watering and gagging going on.

#2 – Clean out the filter on the door (or whatever that thing is). It wasn’t nearly as bad but there was some buildup.

#3 – Put all the cleaned parts back and use a toothpick to make sure all of the little water spouts in the sprayer-thingy are clear. Oddly enough, mine didn’t seem to be clogged.

#4 – Run through a couple of cycles with vinegar before re-loading dishes into the washer. I considered using bleach, also, but settled for 2 vinegar cycles and then a soap cycle.

The result – smell is gone and my dishes are much cleaner when they come out.

I’ve got to say, though, that seeing all that gunk made me seriously consider whether I should hand-wash everything.

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