What You Should Know Before Adding Vinegar To Your Dishwasher

The dishwasher is one of our favorite appliances. Not only is it a convenient way to clean many dishes all at once, but it also means no pruny-looking hands and fingers from the repeated steps of washing and rinsing. But much like anything in your kitchen, even the dishwasher needs a good cleaning from time to time. As Today points out, if you want your dishes, glasses, and silverware to be clean and sparkling, you have to start with a clean dishwasher. But to achieve this end goal you need to be cleaning your dishwasher on a monthly basis, which may have you turning to the cleaner of all cleaners: vinegar. 

As The Kitchn explains, the acidic quality of vinegar is its magic power that gives this multi-purpose cleaner the ability to clean mirrors, dissolve hard water build-up on everything from your refrigerator's water dispenser (via Hometalk) to your water faucets (via Bob Hoegler Plumbing), and to get rid of the greasy, grimy build-up in your dishwasher (via Eating Well). But before you break out a bottle of vinegar to cleanse your dishwasher and make it pristine for your dirty dishes, there are a couple of things you may want to know.

Vinegar could cause erosion in your dishwasher

According to Today, you want to use white vinegar to clean your dishwasher and you want to make certain your drain is clean and dishwasher is empty before you begin the process. You are going to want to place a bowl of vinegar on the top shelf of your appliance and run it through the hot water cycle. This is very important because Eating Well explains that if you pour the vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher or where the detergent goes, parts of your dishwasher are at risk of erosion. The erosion doesn't happen immediately, but after a couple of years of cleaning, you will notice it. This matters if you hope to have your dishwasher for the 7 to 12 years Prudent Reviews estimates you can expect to rely on your appliance.

Eating Well goes on to share that if vinegar doesn't do the trick in cleaning your dishwasher to your satisfaction, you can then turn to baking soda and run a cycle with it sprinkled into the bottom of the appliance. However, they strongly caution that you do not want to try to combine the vinegar and the baking soda cleanings, because you are just asking for a mess. Each should be separate and they recommend starting with vinegar before turning to baking soda.