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Everyone believes that running the dishes through the dishwasher is more sanitary than washing dishes by hand. However, if you look closely, you may find that the appliance that you are trusting to sanitize your dishes is a filthy breeding ground for bacteria. You should clean your dishwasher regularly to ensure that your family's dishes are as clean as possible. Not cleaning the dishwasher can lead to food particle, hard water and soap buildup in your dishwasher.
To clean your dishwasher, you will want some rubber gloves, vinegar, a scrubbing brush, a flat-head screwdriver and a toothbrush. You will also want to wear messy, comfortable clothes, since you will be spending a lot of time kneeling on the floor.
First, open the dishwasher and remove the bottom rack. Kneeling on the floor, stick your head in the dishwasher and examine it closely. You should especially notice the crack right below the dishwasher door. This is a common place for gunk to build up. Using the rubber gloves and the scrubbing brush, remove as much gunk as you can. You will want to scoop out the filth and throw it away. Many dishwashers that have never been cleaned before have gobs of filth in this area.
Next, examine the sprayer in the bottom of the dishwasher. If you can figure out how to remove it, take it apart to expose the filter in the bottom of the dishwasher. Clean this with the toothbrush and vinegar. Wipe down the entire interior of the dishwasher with the vinegar. Examine the sprayers to make sure they are not clogged. If they are, clean them with a toothpick.
In the doors of many dishwashers is a small vent or filter type thing. Using the screwdriver, try to gently pry up this filter. You will probably be amazed at the amount of gunk inside it. Scrub it with a toothbrush and rinse it well.
Pour about half a gallon of vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher, and start it on its hottest setting. Then, stop the dishwasher to allow the vinegar and water to soak for about an hour. Finally, allow the dishwasher to complete the cycle to rinse away all of the nastiness that you dislodged.
Repeat this process every few weeks to keep your dishwasher in the best working order, and to have the cleanest dishes possible.