How to Clean Your Dishwasher Naturally

Shawna Bailey
by Shawna Bailey
3 Materials
30 Minutes

My dishwasher is one of the hardest working things in my house (I basically run it every day!), but it’s easy to forget that it needs a good cleaning too.

When my dishwasher starts to smell, I know it's time to give it a good cleaning.

With just two green ingredients you can clean your dishwasher naturally without using expensive dishwasher detergent.

As with any green-friendly cleaner, baking soda and vinegar are my go-to cleaning ingredients.

1. Gather Your Materials

I used white vinegar (cleaning vinegar), baking soda, and a dishwasher-safe cup (not pictured).

Cup on top rack of dishwasher

2. Put Your Cup in the Top Rack

Place your cup upright on the top shelf.

I did this because it allows the dishwasher to flood the vinegar out of the cup. This gives it a slow release as opposed to being poured out all at once.

You don't have to do this, but I think it makes the cleaner work better.

Pour vinegar into the cup

3. Add the Vinegar to the Cup

Fill the cup almost all the way to the top with vinegar.

Sprinkle baking soda in the dishwasher

4. Sprinkle Baking Soda and Set Your Machine to Wash

Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher. Then set it to the hottest setting, and let it start.

Fresh and clean dishwasher

How to Clean a Dishwasher Naturally

How simple was that? The smell is gone and now my dishwasher is nice and clean.

What does everyone think? Do you have any other clever ways to clean a dishwasher without using harmful ingredients?

More Dishwasher Tips

Learn more about the basics of dishwasher upkeep in our How to Clean a Dishwasher Guide.

Suggested materials:
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda (soda bi-carb)
  • Dishwasher safe cup
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 70 questions
  • JoAnn JoAnn on Feb 28, 2021

    Do you know if it helps with hard water stains and build up?

  • Tailwagger88 Tailwagger88 on May 08, 2022

    I’m loving the purple color.

    what is the brand & color of the paint you used??

  • Ramona Hendon Ramona Hendon on Jul 30, 2023

    How do you get the hard water out of the soap dispenser. I’ve tried everything. Help!!

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3 of 235 comments
  • Christina Dewald Metzger Christina Dewald Metzger on Sep 24, 2022

    I would throw about a cup or so of vinegar in my dishwasher when i run it in addition to the dishwasher soap, and I found that it even removed that whitish ring that you get around plastic bowls and cups over time. I do the same thing with the washing machine as well and my cloths are cleaner and it locks in your color in fabric to help keep your darks,dark. And the bonus is I'm helping out all my appliances and home plumbing be free of soap scum & hard water stains. Vinegar is used in hospitals more cause it kills germs and is safer than bleach. It's a Winner for Me!

    • Jerri Jerri on Nov 26, 2022

      I use dishwasher soap and a capful of white vinegar in a small container on the top rack every wash cycle and I never use dryer agents. The dishes and glasses are all spotless. I’ve done this for years and I have a Bosch stainless steel dishwasher.

  • Mary Mary on Jan 11, 2023

    Wow this is very helpful. Thank you Jerri too for your information as I have a Bosch.