Last updated on July 8th, 2019 at 02:48 pm

By Sabra Esparza

Several days ago my dishwasher decided it did not want to work. This was, of course, with a full load of dirty dishes inside. It is only a couple of years old, so you can imagine my frustration. To top it all off, we were about to head to bed. This is the last thing anyone wants to happen before heading to bed.

My husband said not to worry about it and went to sleep, but I could not sleep until I at least knew it was repairable, so to Google I went. Sound familiar to anyone else? Thankfully the first page that came up was one that mentioned the exact problem and stated a solution. The filters and float probably needed cleaning.

Well! The thing had filters! Who knew? I consider myself a neat, organized, cleaning freak. Otherwise, why start this blog. But even I did not realize that part of cleaning my dishwasher involved taking it apart and deep cleaning it. Deep cleaning the refrigerator and stove, that was a given. However, I had never given the dishwasher much thought.  

Every video and tutorial I found online showed dishwashers that were entirely different from mine, so I had to do a bit of trial and error. I decided to put together a tutorial on how to clean a dishwasher. Hopefully, someone else will benefit from my experience. 

Cleaning Steps

SAFETY NOTE: BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH CLEANING STEPS EITHER UNPLUG THE DISHWASHER OR FLIP THE BREAKER FOR THE DISHWASHER TO OFF. DO NOT PROCEED WITHOUT FOLLOWING THIS SAFETY STEP!

The first step is to remove the sprayer arms. My dishwasher has three: one on the bottom (pictured here), one on the bottom of the top rack, and one at the top. All of them pop off with a tiny twist and pull. Do not use a lot of force! You may have to wiggle them a bit if there is a lot of hard water build up. Once these are removed, run water through them. If all the holes are clear, wipe and lay aside to dry. If any of the holes are clogged with hard water build up, spray with vinegar and allow to sit for about 30 minutes before washing.

The second step is to remove the filter. To remove this filter, turn in a counter-clockwise motion and lift. It is simple to remove. Mine was coated in mineral build-up from the hard water. I wish I would have thought to take a picture then, but it was rather nasty, so maybe you would rather not see it anyway. Wash the filter with soap and warm water. Do not scrub! This filter is rather fragile as the mesh can pull away from the plastic fairly easily. If there is quite a bit of hard water build up (as with mine), spray with vinegar and allow to sit for about 30 minutes. The vinegar will cause hard water deposits to fall off easily.

Screws

Next, loosen the plastic screws that hold the fine filter in place. These are also twist-offs. Turn in a counter-clockwise direction to remove. Then simply lift the fine filter out of place.

Lift out the plastic ring (shown above) and wash with soap and water. There will be water in this area and possibly food particles. Use a shop vacuum to remove the water and debris.

SAFETY NOTE: Do not use a regular vacuum unless it allows for water removal!

Take a cloth and wipe around the float (the tall piece standing in the middle of the hole). If you need to clean the float, unscrew the white piece and remove it. Then unscrew the float and carefully unplug it. The plug is very fragile, so I suggest only removing the float if absolutely necessary. Once everything is clean, place everything back in the reverse order as described above. The manual recommends cleaning your dishwasher in this manner every month or two.